Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years (1.8.2018-31.7.2020), which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


• Understand the scientific principles and the ecological consequences of material flows
• Understand policy and technology drivers of material circulation
• Understand the consequences of material selection and design for the circulation and recovery of materials
• Are able to prioritize activities and develop solutions for circular economy and the bioeconomy

Credits: 5

Schedule: 11.01.2021 - 18.02.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Mark Hughes

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Mark Hughes

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The use of materials by humans is having a profound and transformative effect upon the biosphere and yet is an integral part of the global economy and society. The course aims to consider how we might rethink our use of materials in the context of sustainable development.

    We will explore the nexus between materials and sustainability, adopting a systems thinking approach to materials cycles. We will look at how the use of material and the choices we make in their selection, and the design of materials and products, affect sustainability. We will look at how we can improve resource efficiency and will explore the limits to this. We will look at material flows and the stakeholders involved in often highly complex value chains.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    • Attendance and participation (20%)
    • Learning diary (40%)
    • Project and presentation (40%)

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    • Lectures/seminars/workshops: 10-25 h
    • Group work: 60-70 h
    • Independent work: 50-55 h


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    • Ashby, M.F. Materials and Sustainable Development (available at:
    • Hill, Callum. An Introduction to Sustainable Resource Use (
    • Other to be announced in class

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    • None.
    • The course is compulsory for students of the Creative Sustainability program. 

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    13 Climate Action



Registration and further information