UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Adam Roer

Adam holds an MEng in Civil Engineering with Sustainability from Warwick University. During this time Adam spent a year working in the construction industry where he carried out technical calculations pertaining to the safe and systematic ordering of bridge repairs.

A background in system modelling and an interest in sustainability lead Adam towards the research area of exploring paths towards a sustainable economy. He has a particular interest in applying the scientific method to the study of society.

In Ecological Economics Adam has explored the themes of Green and Brown Economic Growth and the related subject of De-materialisation/ Decoupling. Special interest is paid to the goal of eliminating Economic Growth’s traditional dependency on the ever increasing use of natural resources.

Adam Roer graph

Source: Jackson - Prosperity Without Growth (2009)

Adam has been influenced by works such as:

  • The Limits to Growth (Meadows et al.)
  • Turning Point: The End of the Growth Paradigm (Ayres)
  • Factor Four: Doubling Wealth and Halving Resource Use ( von Weizsacker, Lovins and Lovins)
Research subject

Adam’s work is primarily concerned with the symbiotic relationship between ecosystems and the human economy, thus falling into the discipline of Ecological Economics. One contemporary method of modelling this relationship is by attempting to measure the value of so called ‘Natural Capital’ to the economy.

This linkage is represented to varying degrees in economic models, some examples along the spectrum are listed below:

  • Many models fail to explicitly take into account the role of natural resources in the economy, hence externalising alarming rates of ecosystem destruction.
  • Some models assign values to the tangible benefits of natural resources in the style of double entry book keeping. This constitutes assigning a gain in wealth through the use of resources whilst recording a corresponding reduction in stock of natural resource. This concept is typified by the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) system.
  • Much uncertainty remains over the measurement and valuation of the less tangible benefits of Natural Capital such as the service role of Natural Capital in process such as pollination and photosynthesis.
  • Adam will carry out reviews of existing models to appraising the way that Natural Capital attempts to link ecosystems with the human economy. These studies take various forms differing in spatial and temporal dimensions allowing for global, regional, static and dynamic investigation.
  • This research will be partly conducted through reviewing case studies. By exploring the success with which theoretical models have been used in historic policy implementation, academic appraisal will be tested against actual observations.
  • Simultaneously Adam will build his own models under the framework of existing modelling techniques such as:
  • Econometrics
  • Input/ Output Modelling and General Equilibrium Modelling
  • System Dynamics 
Publications and other work

Adam’s previous technical work in sustainability has included:

  • Computational system modelling and performance prediction of both wind and solar energy systems.
  • Statistical prediction and validation of the spread of pollutants in watercourses.
  • Theoretical performance of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy systems.

Whilst studying for an MEng in Civil Engineering Adam worked on the Group Dissertation:

Modelling the Effect of Cracking on the Dynamic Performance of Reinforced Concrete Beams