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Reflections on the 11th Biennial ISIE Conference: Transitions in a World in Turmoil

Reflections on the 11th Biennial ISIE Conference: Transitions in a World in Turmoil

In June 2023, 10 members of Refficiency joined the 800 other attendees at the International Society of Industrial Ecology’s 11th International Conference in Leiden, The Netherlands. The atmosphere remained energetic and engaging for the duration, with attendees keen to share their research and expand their understanding of the far-reaching scope of industrial ecology.

The field of industrial ecology studies the material and energy flows through industrial systems. The conference consisted of several keynote presentations and hundreds of shorted presentations in themed parallel sessions. Research centered around carbon emission limitation and resource efficiency for the mitigation of climate change. Refficiency’s Jonathan Cullen and Fanran Meng chaired two special sessions on “Plastics, Chemicals, and Sustainability”, which were rooted in research conducted as part of the C-THRU project. Gabriel Carmona featured in the special session on the Circular Economy, presenting the impacts of circular economy strategies on the transport sector. Karla Cevantes Barron presented her Mat-dp model and its applications to energy and transport. These and the rest of Refficiency’s presentations were thoroughly interesting, superbly presented, and stimulated many follow-up questions from the crowd.

ISIE conferences have a warm atmosphere which makes for rewarding networking and a great place to share your ideas for constructive feedback. The Refficiency group presented posters ranging from machine learning for emissions accounting (Luke Cullen) to risk identification of labour exploitation in medical supply chains (Lihani du Plessis). All posters were well received with some drawing large crowds, leaving the presenter with no time for lunch!

The Refficiency team made the most of visiting somewhere new, exploring Leiden and the surrounding area. Between us, we also explored the beach, The Hague, and Amsterdam. The conference culminated in the conference dinner, which was held at Naturalis, the Natural History museum in Leiden. This was an evening full of networking and reflecting on the conference, as well as meeting some of the previous inhabitants of planet Earth. This included one of the most complete T-rex skeletons in the world.

This conference was a great success. A wonderful first conference for 1st years Ella and Lihani and a lovely setting to spend time with our outgoing colleagues Fanran, Gabriel, and Samantha. We all look forward to the ISIE 12th International Conference in Singapore in 2025.