The launch of the network, which is also known as the Imperial Life Cycle Network, took place on Wednesday 8 May at Imperial College London.
Researchers across various Imperial departments apply life cycle thinking and life cycle approaches to their research activities. Until now there has been limited visibility of the life cycle expertise at Imperial College London, as well as a lack of networking and awareness between Imperial colleagues using the same approach and methodologies. The Life Cycle Network was therefore established to bring together and connect life cycle-related research and researchers across the College, as well as to provide links to experts from other universities and in other private and government sectors.
Life Cycle Thinking is about considering the full life cycle of a product, from raw material extraction to disposal at the end of its life. Life Cycle approaches facilitate the understanding of the potential sustainability impacts of a product or service, the identification of hotspots and the avoidance of shifting burdens, for example to another type of impact or life cycle stage. Life Cycle Thinking and its associated quantitative methods are experiencing an increase in uptake and importance, especially in the emerging fields of the Circular and Bio-Economy and the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as in addressing the global issue of climate change.
Official Launch Event
The official launch of the Network saw interest from over 100 people and provided an afternoon of sharing life cycle knowledge and networking between those active in the life cycle field in the UK and beyond. Professor Nick Jennings, Imperial’s Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise), opened the launch event by stressing the importance of holistic, systems-wide thinking in sustainability.
The multi-disciplinary nature of the life cycle field is evident by its application in a range of Imperial departments. The Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP), Chemical Engineering, including its Sustainable Gas Institute, as well as the Energy Futures Lab and the department of Earth Science and Engineering all presented on their use of life cycle approaches.
Whilst external Network members from the University of Surrey and UCL further confirmed the importance of life cycle-related research within academia, external speakers from government (Department for Transport), industry (Tata Steel Europe) and consulting (ERM) also demonstrated the importance of the life cycle approach in their respective sectors. Leading LCA software providers PRé Sustainability/SimaPro UK and thinkstep were also represented at the event.
CEP’s Deputy Head of Department, Dr Jeremy Woods, closed the event by confirming the Network’s mandate to not just exist, but to expand and lead the way in creating a UK-wide life cycle community.
"The Imperial Networks of Excellence establish and grow connections around important multidisciplinary areas by bringing together experts from different Imperial faculties. At this event, it was delightful to see how the external stakeholders in attendance, from industry to other UK and European colleagues, value the Imperial Sustainability of Life Cycle Approaches Network initiative and how much interest it has attracted thus far.” - Dr Sara Lamas Marques, Imperial College’s Network Development Manager
Find out more
- Click here for a more detailed overview of the launch event.
- For further information please visit the Network’s website and follow us on Twitter @ICL_LifeCycle.
- To be part of the UK Life Cycle Community join the LinkedIn Group: Life Cycle Community UK.
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