UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Resource Futures

The resource futures research group is an interdisciplinary group bringing together researchers working on resource futures from across ISR.


What we do

The main focus of the resource futures theme is to apply theories, concepts and methods used in foresight and futures studies in research on sustainability transitions and sustainable use of natural resources. An overarching objective is to engage in a critical reflection on opportunities, risks and uncertainties of variety of transition pathways by combining qualitative and quantitative research methods, and by seeking collaboration with policy and business stakeholders.

Our work

Research and policy engagement streams:

  • Imagining resource futures - What are dominant and emerging frames and imaginaries of resource futures? How are visions and perceptions of resource futures and transition pathways constructed by actors? What is the role of innovation in enabling transition?
  • Modelling resource futures – What resource futures emerge from current models used in research on sustainable resources (e.g. integrated energy models, input-output models)? What are assumptions underpinning model-based future scenarios and trends? How can insights and findings from social sciences be used in modelling?
  • Future resource policy and governance – What are governance modes and policy instruments needed to enable a transition to sustainable future? How can they provide incentives and enabble sharing risk and embracing uncertainty in policy-making?
  • Performativity of resource futures - How do expectations and perceptions about resource futures affect policy and business strategies, decisions and innovation practices relevant for sustainable use of resources?
  • Co-designing resource futures – How can research support and engage with policy and business actors in building evidence-based visions and scenarios?

Michal Miedzinski
Senior Research Associate
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Photo credit: Markus Spiske, Unsplash