Seminar – Dr. Wouter Bam: Leveraging data to guide the sustainability transition

Leveraging data to guide the sustainability transition; the role of economic complexity-related methods

Speaker: Dr. Wouter Bam

Assistant Professor, UBC Manufacturing Engineering at the UBCO School of Engineering

When: June 14, 2024  |  11 AM – 12 PM
Location: CEME room 2022 (6250 Applied Science Lane, Vancouver)


The world faces a significant challenge in attaining net-zero emissions by 2050, as called for in the Paris Agreement. Attaining the target will require bold, evidence-informed decision-making by a range of stakeholders. This will require the leveraging of data in novel ways to ensure attention is directed at the most impactful areas while balancing economic, social and environmental objectives. Without credible, easily interpretable decision support, decision-makers will be forced to rely on assumptions, invariably leading to sub-optimal outcomes.
One branch of data analysis techniques that has been attracting increasing attention for decision support in the context of sustainable development decision-making is the economic complexity-related methods. This seminar introduces the economic complexity approach, the potential these methods hold for guiding decision-making in the context of the global sustainability transition, and the range of gaps that still exist.


Dr. Wouter Bam is an Assistant Professor attached to the Manufacturing Engineering program in the School of Engineering at UBC’s Okanagan Campus. His research focuses broadly on industrial competitiveness and supporting decision-making towards sustainable development. More recently, he has developed methods to better leverage economic complexity-related metrics to inform policy, evaluate the key factors driving competitiveness in industries such as EV battery production, and assess the skills development requirements for different developmental trajectories. He also regularly consults to a broad range of policy stakeholders, including UNIDO and the International Labour Organization.