Imperial College London

New MSc course in Civil Engineering incorporates life cycle thinking

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Charikleia Spathi, Research Postgraduate at Imperial College London

The life cycle concept and related methodologies such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) are woven into a number of Imperial's courses.

Both the Global Environmental Change and Policy option of the Centre for Environmental Policy’s MSc in Environmental Technology, and the MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures course offered by the Energy Futures Lab, introduce students to the relevance and applicability of life cycle approaches in relation to climate change, circular economy and sustainability as a whole. The courses also offer practical sessions where students have ‘hands on’ experience with Life Cycle Assessment software, providing them with an opportunity to model the potential environmental impacts of various products and processes.

Advanced Materials for Sustainable Infrastructure

This academic year sees the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering join the Imperial Life Cycle Network and incorporate LCA teaching into its new MSc course: Advanced Materials for Sustainable Infrastructure (AMSI). The course, directed by Professor Chris Cheeseman, will train future leaders in the role of materials in resilient and sustainable built infrastructure, by providing the students with a deep understanding of the behaviour and characteristics of civil engineering materials, and the ability to develop sustainable designs for construction.

Sustainable Development

Dr Rupert J. Myers, Lecturer in Sustainable Materials Engineering, leads the Sustainable Development module of the MSc AMSI Programme. Sustainable Development will teach students systems thinking, as well as introducing sustainability, industrial ecology, and their relevance to engineering. Through workshops, individual homework, and a group project, it will teach the fundamentals of two key quantitative tools that are used in sustainable engineering in practice – life cycle assessment and material flow analysis.

Systems thinking is needed for good decision-making in today’s ‘wickedly complex’ world Dr Rupert J. Myers Lecturer in Sustainable Materials Engineering

Dr Myers explains, “systems perspective is important and powerful, particularly in modern engineering. Systems thinking is needed for good decision-making in today’s ‘wickedly complex’ world, where trade-offs are routine, circumstances change rapidly, and optimal solutions are unclear. Quantitative sustainability science methods are essential in applying a systems perspective in practice and to make progress towards sustainable development. LCA is one such important sustainability science method, which is useful in applications ranging from developing a new chemical separation process to understanding the significance of materials efficiency policy on industrial decarbonisation.”

Find out more

Find out more about the MSc Advanced Materials for Sustainable Infrastructure (AMSI)

Reporters

Onesmus Mwabonje

Onesmus Mwabonje
Centre for Environmental Policy

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 9289
Email: o.mwabonje@imperial.ac.uk

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Dr Mireille Rack

Dr Mireille Rack
Centre for Environmental Policy

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 7315
Email: m.rack@imperial.ac.uk

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Claudia Cannon

Claudia Cannon
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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Materials, Sustainability
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