Nobel Prize Nomination

Robert Ayres - Nominated for Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize Nomination
February 2022
Phyla proudly supports Robert Ayres nomination for Nobel Prize in Economics
Phyla Earth Senior Advisor Robert Ayres has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his multidisciplinary work integrating physics, ecology and economics by a distinguished Scientific Committee (signatories referenced below).  We couldn’t be more proud to celebrate this nomination and recognize his extraordinary achievements that have been expounded in an open letter signed by 15 esteemed academics across disciplines and geographies.
Ayres’ illustrious career began with the study of physics at the University of Chicago in the early 1950s and he continued his education at the University of Maryland and Kings College, London where he received his PhD in Mathematical Physics. But it was his integrative approach and application of the physical sciences to the economic and environmental sciences that set Dr. Ayres apart.  
Considered a founding father of the field of industrial ecology, his research underscores the fundamental connection between energy, materials and their transformation into goods and services.  His research dating back to the 1960s warned that conventional economic models misrepresent the role energy plays within our economy and disregards the physical consequences of economic activity resulting in defective policymaking. These oversights have fueled our current climate and environmental crises.  Ayres’ has advocated for an economic system that accounts for the first law of thermodynamics, that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Together with colleague and Phyla's co-Founder Dr Benjamin Warr at INSEAD, Ayres further developed this line of thinking to reveal the importance of historical technological progress in delivering ‘useful work’ from natural resources (energy and materials) as a major driver of economic growth.
A prolific author and innovative thinker, Ayres’ thought-leadership has been instrumental to Phyla’s vision and development. Incorporating his insights into policymaking would help put the world on a more sustainable path and be greatly beneficial to future generations. We join the Scientific Committee below in recognising his contributions and wholeheartedly support Bob Ayres for this distinguished award.
The Scientific Committee for the Nomination of Emeritus Professor Robert U. Ayres for the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences:
  • Nicholas Ashford, Professor of Technology & Policy and Director of the Technology & Law Program, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA.
  • Atalay Atasu, The Bianca and James Pitt Professor in Environmental Sustainability, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France; Past President of the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society and Editor of the Sustainable Operations Department of the Production and Operations Management journal.
  • Robert Axtell, Professor of Computational Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, USA.
  • Robert Costanza, VC's Chair in Public Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia; former editor-in-chief of Ecological Economics.
  • Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Professor Emerita for Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
  • Thomas Graedel, Professor Emeritus of Industrial Ecology, Yale School of the Environment.
  • Reiner Kümmel, Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics, Universität Würzburg, Germany.
  • Reid Lifset, Research Scholar & Resident Fellow in Industrial Ecology, Yale School of the Environment; editor-in-chief of the Journal of Industrial Ecology.
  • Joan Martinez-Alier, Professor Emeritus of Economic History and Ecological Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business, Autonomous University of Barcelona.
  • Inge Røpke, Professor of Ecological Economics, Aalborg University, Denmark.
  • ·Jeroen van den Bergh, ICREA Research Professor, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain; Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and former editor-in-chief of Environmental Innovation & Societal Transitions.
  • ·Ludo Van der Heyden, Chaired Professor Emeritus in Corporate Governance, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.
  • Gara Villalba, Professor of Industrial Ecology and Cities, Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.
  • Luk Van Wassenhove, The Henry Ford Chaired Professor Emeritus of Manufacturing, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.
  • Ernst Worrell, Professor of Energy, Resources and Technological Change, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; and former editor-in-chief of Resources, Conservation & Recycling.
To read the nomination in full, please visit: