This year’s Life Cycle Summer School (LCSS 2020) concluded last week after three work intensive weeks for both, participants and faculty. LCSS 2020 was organized under the theme “Bio-economy and the food life cycle – A life cycle management toolbox for sustainable regional food and biomass” and brought together about 30 participants from all over the world. 

The thematic focus was on identifying the major sustainability impacts in the food chain, and decide how to address them with the aid of life cycle methodologies. Issues such as carbon and water footprints, the impact of food packaging and added chemicals, degradation of biodiversity, and tackling the exorbitant level of food waste in a systematic fashion were all evaluated through use of the methodologies contained in a “life cycle management tool box”. Students were given the task to integrate all these considerations into a personal project to design a sustainable lunch menu for regional schools, ensuring good nutrition with reduced impacts.

Given the ongoing global pandemic, the Summer School was organized for the first time in its history in a virtual form, which required a totally new approach. Instead of the traditional 4-5 day focused setting, the FSLCI’s Summer School Coordination Team, led by its chair Fritz Balkau, developed a completely new approach: Over a span of three weeks students were invited to participate in 2-2.5h long live session each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. During these live sessions lectures were provided as well as a number of interactive workshops conducted.

In addition to these live sessions, students were provided with a number of off-line study assignments on key topics and had access to a range of pre-recorded presentations along with a comprehensive reading list. The main offline activity however focused on developing the sustainable school menu, which was to be handed in at the end of the Summer School. Throughout this process students were also encouraged to report in daily diaries on their progress and challenged to respond to short quizzes. 

The sustainable school menus were then judged by members of the core faculty which included Alberto Bezama, Fritz Balkau, Guido Sonnemann, Naeem Adibi, Prasad Modak, Tomas Rydberg and chef Robert Wood. We would like to congratulate the following students who were recognized for the three best menus:

  • Michiel Meulenaere
  • Miriam Thirmann
  • Sara Salerno. 

Overall the quality of submissions was really high and thus FSLCI will work with the students to publish them in the future. In this context we would like to thank all our participants who embraced the new format and engaged quite actively throughout the Summer School. It was a true pleasure to work with them and we wish all participants all the best for their future careers.

We would also like to thank all speakers who made our Summer School such an insightful event. Besides our core faculty we would like to thank Allan Poynton, Daniela Thrän, Eva Sevigné-Itoiz, Mark Radka, Niclas Svenningsen, Peter Saling, Pia Wiche, Ulrika Palme and Yanne Goossens for taking the time to engage with our students and sharing their insights!

More information on our summer school is available here: The full program can be accessed here.


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