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Resource Dynamics

In the contemporary era of climate change, resource depletion and population growth, ‘resources’ have taken on a powerful social and political significance. New resources are emerging, whilst anxieties over the ethics and practicalities of resource use are prompting publics around the world to engage with resources in increasingly self-conscious ways. Research in engineering and natural sciences within the Resource Dynamics theme at the University of Cambridge focuses on analysing material flows and their associated emissions, developing tools for forecasting and visualising future flows and anticipating resource stresses, and developing technologies and economic models to facilitate change to a more resource efficient future. Researchers in social sciences are looking at global resources – be they oil, gas, genetics, water, or personnel – and exploring how local understandings intersect with national trajectories and issues of planetary concern, as well as teasing out how this larger level links to local understandings of bodies, environments and livelihoods under threat.

Focus Areas:

  • Low Carbon and Materials Processing: identifying and pursuing opportunities where engineering can contribute to a low carbon future, particularly through reduced energy demand in industry
  • Climate Change Mitigation Research: developing and using integrated models of economic, environmental and energy systems to design and assess policies and instruments for climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • The multidisciplinary, cross-institutional FORESEER project examines the dynamics of global energy, land and water use and aims to create an online tool to visualise the influence of future demand and policy choices on the physical requirements for energy, water and land resources.
  • Resources and human nature: examining questions of environmental change and resource depletion from an anthropological standpoint.  

Please visit individual faculty profiles to learn more about their research in the Resource Dynamics theme.  The Energy Lead for Resource Dynamics is .

People specializing in this area

Principal Investigators

Professor Julian M Allwood

Global and regional scenario analysis of energy, water, land and resource futures

Dr Douglas Crawford-Brown

Research focuses on sustainability of resource use, including closing of material and energy resource cycles, and the natural services of ecosystems.

Professor John Dennis

Resource constraints arising from future scenarios for biofuel use

Professor Derek Fray, FRS, FREng

Interested in the availability and processing of critical elements in the creation and storage of energy.

Professor Jaideep Prabhu

I'm interested in the relationship between scarce energy, water and land resources in densely populated economies such as India.

Professor Danny Ralph

Relationship between consumption of energy, land and water

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Energy@Cambridge at a glance

Energy@CambridgeleafletfrontClick on the picture to download a quick summary of the research themes and aims of the Energy Initiative.