New project: Industrial Ecology Virtual Laboratory

A team of ten collaborating Australian institutions have begun work on a new project establishing ground-breaking electronic infrastructure for environmental and economic modeling. The 'Industrial Ecology Virtual Laboratory' will enable the rapid and cost-effective deployment of harmonized, large-scale, detailed Multi-Region Input-Output (MRIO) analysis systems. Such systems are sought after in economics, environmental science, and industrial ecology for their ability to comprehensively trace environmental impacts across complex interregional supply chains. MRIO analysis has emerged as the major tool underpinning consumption-based accounting of environmental impacts.

The Industrial Ecology Lab will significantly enhance Australia’s analytical capabilities in Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA), carbon footprinting, water footprinting, and other approaches to environmental impact assessment. It will also improve capacity for modeling future effects of changes in economic and environmental policy. Using novel methods for advanced computation and automation the Industrial Ecology Lab will integrate a diverse set of data streams with a calculation engine that can rapidly react as new information becomes available.

This helps to integrate and harmonize data and methods for sustainability accounting, analysis and assessments, marking a new era in sustainability research. It will improve the quality and reliability of information provided for applications such as eco-labelling of products, corporate reporting, supply-chain analysis, policy formation, and infrastructure selection.

Funding for the virtual laboratory was awarded by the Australian Government’s NeCTAR scheme and the project is supported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Hosting the Industrial Ecology Lab on a NeCTAR Research Cloud will make it accessible to Australia’s research and policy development community.

For further information on the project please contact Tommy Wiedmann, UNSW, on email

Tommy Wiedmann

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