About us


The Institute for Applied Material Flow Management (IfaS) is a higher research institute of Trier University of Applied Sciences located at Environmental Campus Birkenfeld (ECB). IfaS was founded in 2001 thanks to the initiative of a few committed professors from the disciplines of Material Flow Management, Ecology, Business Management, Physics/Process Engineering and Communication/Ethics. The aim of IfaS is to promote the sustainable optimization of regional and operational material flows in specific and practice-oriented projects worldwide.

Nowadays, our interdisciplinary team includes seven professors, 30 members of staff and various interns and student assistants from the following specialisations amongst others:

  • Business management
  • Industrial engineering and management
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Process engineering
  • Energy management
  • Industrial ecology
  • Spatial and environmental planning
  • Forestry
  • Agriculture
  • Environmental law.

Management as a central function

The intelligent, resource-efficient utilization of material and energy flows is the backbone of a sustainable society. For IfaS the optimization of material and energy flows is rather a question of management than a technical challenge. The analysis of the present situation, the creation of networks, the innovative combination of new and proven technologies as well as the development of innovative financial mechanisms are the focus of IfaS work.

Based on this IfaS projects connect the claim of increasing regional value added with aspects of conservation of resources and climate change. Interdisciplinary solutions in accordance with ecology and economy, flexibility and inter-cultural competence belong to the philosophy of IfaS.

Practical application

IfaS supervises national and international projects in close cooperation with municipalities, local authorities, ministries, business and other scientific institutions.

Besides the projects in Germany and neighbouring European countries, IfaS is in charge of international research projects in Asia, South America, Northern Africa and the former Eastern bloc countries like zero-emission projects in municipalities, the research project “Zero-emission Park” (development of material flow optimized industrial parks), projects for the sustainable cultivation of biomass in Northern Africa, master plans for the use of renewable energies in China or the optimization of waste management in cities in Turkey and South America.

Further education

Besides the direct planning and implementation of projects IfaS emphasizes on education. Therefore it offers a portfolio of three English language Master degree programs in material flow management. In 2004, the Master of Science program in “International Material Flow Management” (IMAT) started at Environmental Campus Birkenfeld. With the support of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) this education project could be exported to Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan. Since 2006 about 50 people from more than 20 nations study the German-Japanese dual master degree program IMAT. The rising demand for international material flow managers justifies the implementation of a thrid, German-Turkish dual master degree program IMAT with Akdeniz University in Antalya, Turkey starting in WS 2009/2010.

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