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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Feb 1;89(3):862-3.

Educating and training industrial ecologists for the 1990s.

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  • 1Quality and Health Services, International Technology Corporation, Monroeville, PA 15146, USA.


For industrial ecology to become a reality and flourish, many talents must be integrated into a single system. Basically, there are four types of technologists who must be brought together to create a system: (i) technical specialists-those that can take the state of knowledge to the state of the art and eventually to the state of practice; (ii) technical "generalists"-those that can integrate diverse technologies into a comprehensive solution; (iii) technical managers-those that can lead technical efforts to an optimal solution (these people must have management skills in their area); and (iv) program managers-those that can understand and merge the overall efforts of technology, business, schedule, and finance. The initial questions for industrial ecology in the 1990s are: Do these people presently exist in industry? What will be needed to bring new people (recent graduates) into the field of industrial ecology? For this decade, the people who will develop and lead the concept of industrial ecology are presently in industry. However, certainly few, if any, today understand the concept of industrial ecology as a system issue. Training will be needed for these practitioners of the 1990s so that the overall goal and the mechanism for achieving industrial ecology are understood. A three-tiered approach is presented to define the education/training needed, to conduct training on an industry basis, and then to initiate the training to be done within a corporation. The three tiers propose the use of universities, professional societies, and industry groups. Having universities participate in the training of the 1990s industrial ecologists will give universities insight to the development of industrial ecology, and access to industry needs so that curriculum can be initiated to educate the industrial ecologists of the future.

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