Mission of the World Forum of Universities of Resources on Sustainability
The World Forum of Universities of Resources on Sustainability (WFURS) is dedicated to furthering education and research in the field of raw materials. The foundation of this initiative in June 2012 falls into the German Science Year entitled ‘Project Earth: Our Future.’ and 20 years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro we call for considerable attention to be paid to the topic of raw materials.
Due to the rapidly rising demand for raw materials worldwide, the impacts on the environment, society and the global economy are attaining new dimensions, which are increasingly becoming apparent. Therefore, the universities of resources across the world assume responsibility for implementing the principles of sustainable development in research and education along the complete raw materials life cycle.
The educational mission pursued by the universities of resources is to work together towards the goal of establishing a new perspective on raw materials in science, the economy, politics and society. To this end, we would like to further develop academic education and advanced training for highly skilled natural scientists at a global scale.
In parallel, the research mission focuses on pushing for a transition in raw material use, comparable in importance and necessity to the energy transition from fossil and nuclear energies towards renewable energies. The intent behind this raw material transition is to create a status for prevention, efficiency, substitution and recycling that is on an equal footing with economic interests; a balance which does not exist thus far. This requires transdisciplinary and internationally interlinked approaches to training in order to arrive at raw material efficiency along the complete value-added chain: from natural deposits, through extraction to recycling, the substitution of scarce materials with more readily available or renewable resources, the allocation of virtual instead of real products, as well as the integration of regenerative energy into the materials flow cycle. An ultimate goal is to close material flow cycles with neutral emissions.
Science and research face new and great challenges in the field of raw materials use. The WFURS aims at tackling these challenges and the impending raw material transition by jointly taking measures in the fields of
- Responsibility of universities
…working towards a paradigm shift and promoting sustainable raw material processes
…coordinating study programmes internationally to integrate the principle of sustainability in curricula on resource processes
- International networking
…implementing the necessary measures taking into account each member’s specific situation