REMASS: Understanding our society's metabolism


The visionary REMASS project investigates the effects of crises on society's metabolism - and has been awarded funding of 7.1 million Euros by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) for the next five years.

Wars, pandemics and climate extremes destabilize global supply chains. But how do they affect resource use, sustainability, inequality and social well-being? The interdisciplinary project REMASS addresses these questions with the help of new approaches to research the social metabolism: this refers to all resource flows and material assets (e.g. in buildings and infrastructures) as well as their benefits for society.

REMASS (“Resilience and Malleability of Social Metabolism”) is working on the the development of a global database of societal metabolism with unprecedented accuracy. “Thanks to this data, we can track the path of resources along global value chains: from raw material extraction and accumulation in buildings and infrastructure to waste and emissions, or even recovery through recycling,” explains Stefan Giljum, who is involved in this pioneering project on behalf of WU. 

This data allows investigating for the first time the resilience of global supply chains and researching how provisioning systems such as food, housing and mobility can be designed to protect the climate and conserve resources.

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has awarded the REMASS project funding of 7.1 million euros for the next five years. This is an important milestone for this new field of research, which is being spearheaded by scientists from WU, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the University of Vienna, the Central European University and the Complexity Science Hub, coordinated by BOKU University.

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