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Research at the Institute of Natural Resource Sciences

How do we balance environmental, social and economic interests?

The algae reactor – one of the main topics of research for the Research Group for Ecotechnology | Source: ZHAW, Photo: Frank Bruederli
Inside view of the large greenhouses on the IUNR’s Campus Grüental | Source: ZHAW, Photo: Frank Bruederli
The Phytomedicine Research Group’s laboratory | Source: ZHAW, Photo: Frank Bruederli
Hydrological measurements by the Research Group for Ecohydrology | Source: IUNR

The focal point for research at our institute is the landscape as a resource. Future-oriented development of urban and rural areas requires careful consideration and the weighing up of environmental, social and economic interests. The diversity of disciplines at our institute makes it possible for the landscape to be considered as a system into which different perspectives can be integrated. Product lifecycle and closed material cycles are key principles of our research as well as the basis on which we develop solutions for current and future socially-relevant issues.

Our institute has three centres providing applied research, development and services for the sustainable use of natural resources as well as for an optimized interplay between humans and the environment.

Area of focus

  • Environmental technologies and energy systems
    Use of renewable energy sources, impact assessment, energy and resource efficiency, methods of production and processing with minimal use of water and fertiliser, detection of environmental impacts on soil and water.
  • Integrative ecology
    Basic knowledge of the operation, changes in and successions of ecosystems, elaboration and development of solutions and methods for human-environment relationships and environmental decisions.
  • Organic agriculture
    Integrating the key topics of plant health, agricultural biodiversity and geography of food into a national centre of excellence in applied Research.
  • Sustainability transformation
    Detection, exploration and communication of environmental issues; investigation of the relationships between andragogy, environmental education and communication theory; linking of expertise from the fields of science, the environment, clean technology and sustainable development.
  • Tourism and sustainable development
    Influence and impact of leisure and tourism on landscape development with respect to consumption of resources as well as spatial and regional development.
  • Urban ecosystems
    Analysis and development of greened open-spaces in cities and urban areas from the perspectives of plant usage, urban ecology, health and open-space management.