Call for radical industrial ecology groups to join the Untraceable University Research Institute

The Untraceable University is a collaborative research institute. We believe that our society needs radical change, both from a social as well as an environmental perspective. However, this change is not happening at sufficient scale or speed. A key factor, we believe, is that the most radical ideas and the most innovative people are often forced to operate inside a culture that does not value the philosophy behind these contributions, making it very hard for them to be widely adopted.

The goal of the Untraceable University is to find out how we can build a culture that is socially and ecologically restorative, and which embraces radical change to our existing ways of living, learning, and working.

We are preparing to start building an alternative university town in 2029, where radically different systems can be tested out in real life and scaled to an urban size if successful. We are currently looking at rolling out this experiment in both South Africa and Colombia, and in preparation for this we are engaging in the research and planning that will be required for a project of this magnitude.

For this work, we are seeking radical, critical thinkers and doers from a wide variety of disciplines, who want to explore how their disciplines can be best applied and combined when used at scale and from the ground up. We are involving a large number of people to help design, critique, improve, and ultimately build this project. We are setting up a network of thematic groups that collaborate by rolling out different research as well as education & outreach activities. With our collaborators, we are making podcasts, writing primers, hosting workshops and webinars, publishing articles and developing course materials.

We believe that industrial ecology can offer unique insights and can help unpack how to evaluate and make informed decisions on materials and energy use, taking into account environmental impacts alongside human well-being. We are therefore inviting industrial ecologists to join the Thematic Action Committee on Industrial Ecology to help study and shape this project through an industrial ecology lens.

Collaboration can take place at various levels, ranging from individual researchers or students, to collaboration with research units or ISIE sections. For more information, please see:

Contact Paul Hoekman ( for more information on the Industrial Ecology Thematic Action Committee within the Untraceable University.