4th July 2022: ReSToRE summer school brings together interdisciplinary researchers from developed and developing countries.

The mining of metals and minerals is crucial for the transition to a low-carbon energy system, but drastic and widespread changes are needed in how we extract, utilise and recycle these resources. That’s according to iCRAG, the SFI Research Centre in Applied Geosciences, which is coordinating the second Researching Social Theories, Resources, and Environment (ReSToRE) International Summer School at UCD this week (4th to 8th July).

The summer school brings together a group of 49 early-career geologists and social scientists from 19 developing and 10 developed countries to explore how society should meet the challenge of providing the metals and minerals needed for the energy transition in a just and sustainable way.

Jointly organised by iCRAG and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the summer school is held under the patronage of UNESCO and its participants come from countries including Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Zambia, the Philippines, Canada, Germany, Ireland and many more.

Speaking on the first day of the summer school, Director of the ReSToRE International Summer School, Dr Geertje Schuitema, said: “Earth’s resources are hugely important for our society. But we need to think carefully about how we decarbonise the global economy and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals in ways that balance the needs of present generations while ensuring that future generations also have access to and a sufficient supply of earth resources."

“For example, metals and minerals such as aluminium, copper, lithium, cobalt and nickel are needed for our renewable energy infrastructure, for transmission systems, solar cells, electric car batteries, charging stations and much more. Given the fast-growing requirement for these resources to meet climate goals, we need to determine how we will resource present and future generations in a sustainable way. These are complex and global issues that require social scientists and earth scientists across the globe to collaborate."

“We are delighted to bring together international experts with early-career researchers and professionals from different countries at the ReSToRE summer school this week to explore these critical challenges. We hope to provide a space for mutual learning and sharing, and an opportunity to debate how best to provide the earth resources needed to support society into the future.”

Topics that will be addressed during ReSToRE include identifying the key trends that drive the demand and supply for metals and minerals in the modern world; how circular economy principles can inform metal extraction; and how behaviour change can make an important contribution to resource conservation and climate mitigation.

Commenting on the programme, Director of iCRAG, Professor Murray Hitzman, said: “The topics that will be discussed this week are of global significance and the diversity of our ReSToRE participants is one of the key strengths of the summer school. It allows us all to hear many different perspectives, and to build on the experience and skills of individuals from around the world."

“The debate around the sustainable supply and use of resources is a cross-sectoral issue and requires a collaborative approach. We are therefore delighted to have an interdisciplinary group of social scientists and geoscientists at the summer school this week and look forward to working together as we explore sustainable consumption and production patterns.”

The week-long summer school (from Monday 4th to Friday 8th July 2022) will be led by international scholars and practitioners. Public talks will be available to be watched online. 

Further information, including the summer school programme, is available at: https://www.icrag-centre.org/restore/.