The University of Bath has launched the new Institute for Sustainability (IfS) to bring together multidisciplinary expertise in tackling the most pressing climate and sustainability issues facing society. Led by leading sustainability academics Professors Matthew Davidson and Marcelle McManus, research at the Institute for Sustainability will be focused around two themes: Sustainable Chemical Technologies and Sustainable Systems.
The sustainable chemical technologies strand uses chemistry and chemical engineering to develop molecules, materials and manufacturing processes to enable a circular economy, where products and materials are repurposed or recycled after use instead of being discarded as waste. This includes research into developing renewable alternatives to petrochemicals used in materials, fuels and chemicals, and also developing high-performance materials that can be recycled or degraded at their end of life.
The ‘Sustainable Systems’ theme takes a whole-systems approach to measuring and embedding sustainability in decision-making. This approach involves assessing the full environmental footprint of different products and activities, allowing researchers to predict what choices will lead to more sustainable outcomes in practice, and avoiding “burden shifting” or “green washing”, where one type of environmental impact is reduced but another increased.
The Institute is an evolution of the Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT), which was founded in 2008 to train the next generation of chemists and chemical engineers in sustainable chemical technologies, and nurture research collaborations with industry that promote the circular economy and help the UK achieve net zero.
Courtesy of the University of Bath.