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Sustainability assessment for decision making

About this course

The course is buildup of two parts. In the first part you will study concepts and literature on three topics: sustainability assessments, specifically Life Cycle Assessment and indicator-based tools; understanding the role of sustainability assessments as boundary objects in decision and policy making and the societal debate; and the scientific basis we built upon (research paradigms and methodology). Our special interest is in fact based, value driven and change oriented assessments where ‘objective’ engineering-type of assessments come together with subjective, value-laden approaches that try to capture pluralistic stakeholder perspectives. This part is supported by a flipped classroom: self-study, extensive lecturing (mainly by the students!), and critical class discussion. This part is assessed by an individual oral examination (~week 5). If you fail, we will schedule another oral examination.

In the second part – which already starts from week 1 – you will be collaborating in a small group to present a brief research proposal; conduct a literature / desktop study; and deliver a well-written scientific report. If you fail, you get a chance to improve the old report. A variety of topics will be offered. Examples of relevant topics might be: future scarcity of rare earth metals on world markets and how this influences the energy transitions; the feasibility of recycling systems (e.g. of PV systems; or for a specific market); confronting public discourses with sustainability assessments for hydrogen as sustainable energy carrier; a quick scan LCA for the metal fuels cycle; circularity indicators for product design and business models, etcetera.
Presence in class is compulsory. At the first meeting the lecturer will make groups in class.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course you:

  • Recognize sustainability assessments as fact based, value driven and change oriented tools;
  • Know and understand sustainability assessment tools and their application, specifically Life Cycle Assessment and indicator-based assessments;
  • Understand the role of sustainability assessment as boundary objects: in decision and policy making; in societal debate; and in support of the development of emerging technologies
  • Can critically reflect on assessments and assessment results: in discussions in class; during the oral exam; and in group assignment. Do so by paying attention to subjectivity and uncertainty; and both methodological and theoretical contributions and limitations;
  • Will have strengthened your skills on doing research (formulate research set up & approach; conduct literature/desktop study; present your research and findings in scientific format).

Required prior knowledge

You must meet one of the following collections of requirements

  • Collection 1
  • Completed Final examination Bsc program
  • Collection 2
  • Completed Pre-Master

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TU Eindhoven.

Offering(s)

  • Start date

    22 april 2024

    • Ends
      23 juni 2024
    • Term *
      Block GS4
    • Location
      Eindhoven
    • Instruction language
      English
    • Register between
      15 Nov, 00:00 - 24 Mar 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University