Robert Ayres’s career has focused on the application of physical ideas, especially the laws of thermodynamics, to economics; a long-standing pioneering interest in material flows and transformations (Industrial Ecology or Industrial Metabolism); and most recently to challenging held ideas on the economic theory of growth. Trained as a physicist at the University of Chicago, University of Maryland, and Kings College at the University of London (PhD in Mathematical Physics), Ayres has dedicated his entire professional life to advancing the environment, technology and resource end of the sustainability agenda.
His major research interests include technological change, environmental economics, “industrial metabolism” and “eco-restructuring”. At various times he has acted as a consultant to the White House, National Goals Commission, Office of Management and Budget, Transport Canada, OECD, Statistics Canada, and numerous UN agencies. He set up and ran for several years the innovative program on Technology, Economy and Society at IIASA, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg Austria, and retains his long term affiliation with that institution.
Presently: Visiting Professor Chalmers University Gothenburg (Sweden) and Emeritus Professor of Economics and Political Science and Technology Management at the European Business School, INSEAD in Fontainebleau France,
Professor Ayres joined INSEAD in 1992, becoming the first Novartis (formerly Sandoz) Chair of Management and the En vironment, as well as the founder of CMER – the Center for the Management of Environmental Resources. He directed CMER from 1992-2000, when he retired. He remains an active member of INSEAD, producing numerous publications on topics ranging from Industrial Metabolisms and Industrial Ecology, through Environmental Policy and Technology Evaluation, Economic Growth and Environmental Regulation, Environmental Economics, to Ecorestructuring. Source
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