Blog open now

Contributions in either French or English are welcome.

Objectives and issues

To take stock of the current understanding of the problematic of the material and immaterial resources of our societies: definition, state, mode of production, access, distribution and use.

The blog and the conference are a first open academic inter- and trans-disciplinary exercise on the resource problematic.

(Note : Transdisciplinary is used by researchers in Germany or Switzerland to mean the inclusion of community members, so expanding the group of stakeholders.)

The term – resources – is a common denominator for the whole range of academic disciplines. The IUF Anniversary Conference represents the first initiative to involve every subject area in the debate on the issue of resources. The main aim of this debate is to provoke a collective desire within the academic community to seize this problematic at a moment when the worlds of politics and economics dispose of a body of poorly exploited or used resources. It should also lead the academic community to ask whether, at the intersection of subject areas and there alone, this problematic does not provide the key to several important issues, namely poverty, climate disturbance, biodiversity, access to water, etc. All of these are issues included in the concept of resources, and, in turn, the concept of resources provides an essential foundation for all of these issues.

In other words, most if not all of our activities seem to be resource-based. We are all resource-minded and resource-framed.

Call for contributions

A good staring point for the resource debate could be Lakoff’s thoughts on “framing the environment” and Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust’s views on the essence of a university (with thanks to our colleagues Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz and Gilles Escarguel for the texts).

In doing so, several questions emerge:
Does this conference arrive on a fertile academic and societal ground?

Two surveys (one for academics, the other for non-academics) and a glossary have been designed to investigate these aspects. We need to clearly understand the meaning of the resource concept in diverse research fields and in society. This has not been done before.

The surveys attempt to define resources according to the views and interests of various stakeholders.

Please play the game and take the survey.

In addition, understanding the role resources play in the society requires linking the resource concept with other concepts.

For that purpose, we need to clarify the corresponding terminology in order to understand our current (economic) developmental models.

The Glossary, associated with an interactive graphic,(coming soon),  is a working draft to that end.

Bring your toolbox and help finish the job. But make sure we can have it SHORT and SIMPLE.

Once this has been done, the scientific community can join forces to evaluate how central resources could be in the long term. In that perspective, the Institute for Resources and Public Good becomes a full-scale test in rethinking our problems and solutions through the rational and integrated management of vast bodies of optimized resources.

Looking for examples to fuel the debate? Nuclear power, shale oil reserves and investments (Fr. gaz de schiste) are in the news. Financial resources too. Not to forget the long-lasting problems of agriculture, and in particular the unacceptable social condition of a billion of farmers. Isn’t that a cruel paradox that those supposed to feed us are unable to feed themselves? The conference program highlights many others.