This is the list 2015-2016 of possible internships at the department of Conservation Biology of
the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML). We have deliberately chosen for a simple presentation,
most projects have, a title a short description and the supervisor name and contact information,
as we try to define the definite content of the projects with the students themselves.
The projects are divided according to the different scale levels at which our department operates:
Individual species and populations in interaction with anthropogenic threats are the focus here
Ecosystems and communities:
Species communities in relation to the functioning of ecosystem and their interactions are the focus here.
In most topics, we evaluate its functioning in relation to human impacts
Biodiversity and ecosystem services:
Drivers of regional and global biodiversity patterns; conservation and predictions;
The services provided by ecosystems, interactions with human needs and the role biodiversity plays in providing services for human kind are the focus here
You can get more information from the CML-instructors or students present at the stand or contact the appropriate supervisor through e-mail or by phone. If you are interested in another or related environmental
internship, you can also discuss that with your potential supervisor. For MSc-students it is also possible to do an internship externally outside the Leiden University, with additional supervision by CML.
Research in the Department of Industrial Ecology aims to support the ecological transformation
of society and environment towards sustainability. The research subject is that of Industrial Ecology taken in
its broadest definition, covering environmental systems analysis, and incorporating the social and economic aspects
required for sustainability analysis. The system analysis involves the development and application of concepts,
methods and models. Research concerns global and regional ecological en socio-economic relations at a macro level,
for environmental strategy development, and, at a meso and micro level, for support of sustainable decision making
on policies and technologies regarding production and consumption. The focus in the analysis is on conceptually
relatively simple models. They mostly are based on one or a few central mechanisms, as related to substance flows
(MFA, material flow accounting), product flows (LCA, life cycle assessment), and monetary flows (IOA, input-output
analysis). The systems analysis of energy flows and market relations comes into our research domain, as do ecological
relations and evolutionary mechanisms (no acronyms). Links with the two other sustainability areas, the social and
economic aspects, are actively being established, as in LCC (life cycle costing) and eco-efficiency analysis.
Normative aspects of decision making are taken into account explicitly. Application of the models to real decision
situations is essential for model development and for proving their applicability.
According to Wikipedia, “Industrial Ecology (IE) is an interdisciplinary field
that focuses on the sustainable combination of environment, economy and technology. The central idea is
the analogy between natural and socio-technical systems. The word 'industrial' does not only refer to industrial
complexes but more generally to how humans use natural resources in the production of goods and services.
Ecology refers to the concept that our industrial systems should incorporate principles exhibited within natural
ecosystems”. This still leaves open many questions of central importance. In what way is the idea of IE true,
or useful? Which scientific (or strategic?) paradigms are suitable? Which disciplines should contribute, and with
Here we focus on the idea of IE. What exactly is IE? How does it relate to sustainable development? Is it
a way of thinking, a powerful metaphor, or does it really teach us something fundamental about the coexistence
of man and nature? Questions are also related the functioning of System Earth; what are the main materials cycles
on planet Earth, how do they influence each other, how are they influenced by human activities. Furthermore, Earth
system engineering (or geo-engineering) solutions for climate change (e.g. putting up large mirrors in space,
fertilising the oceans etc.) get a lot of attention in the media. It is interesting and indeed essential that
these ‘solutions’ are evaluated from an Industrial Ecology perspective.
Here we focus on the methods of IE. Doing IE means getting to know the state of affairs (How dirty is the world
right now? How abundant are the oil reserves?) and predicting what will happen, with or without policy (Will a
CO2 tax help saving the world? What trends in car use do we expect?). To answer these questions, we need data,
assumptions, models, techniques.
We live in a material world. Moreover, many substances and materials exhibit a cycle.
Think of water, nutrients, oxygen. These materials are created somewhere, are moved, are used, are disposed,
and go back. Part of these cycles is natural, but man increasingly affects these cycles, and sometimes even
dominates them (like for metals). Getting insights into the cycles of susbtances and materials is an essential way
to analyze problems and possible solutions.
Modern men no longer feeds on what is available in nature, but manufactures products, such
as bread, clothes, and computers. Products are produced, used, maintained, and disposed. In all these life cycle
stages, we need natural resources, and we release pollutants. Thus, the life cycle of products (and services) is
a central issue in IE.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is widely acknowledged as the best tool for analyzing the effects of products throughout their life cycle on the environment. But it is not yet finished.
There are open question on methodology. And there are interesting new fields of application.
Eco-efficiency (EE) is an approach (or indicator) in which environmental performance and economic performance
are combined. Some products may be better for the environment, yet more expensive. Can we say anything in those
Emerging technologies, from solar cells to hydrogen, and from biotechnology to ICT, are sometimes
regarded as a threat to the environment, but also sometimes as an opportunity. Moreover, they clearly affect
our quality of life, directly or indirectly. Is bio-energy good for the environment? Is it affecting food
security? Such questions require a comprehensive analysis, and IE provides one important way to address them.
Fossil energy drives the present world. But it is clearly a technology with problems: resources are getting scarce, and residuals contaminate the world.
What solutions are there, and how do they perform? Do they have any side-effects?
Technologies for the future are more complicated to analyse than technologies that are already available. Yet, a preliminary assessment of future technologies
is extremely relevant in the context of IE.