Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment massive open online course (MOOC) launches to the public, a collaborative effort between Polytechnique Montreal and EPFL


The CIRAIG is officially launching its first online course (MOOC) for the general public on its core expertise: life cycle assessment (LCA). This is a comprehensive online course, the first in the world in French, aimed at teaching LCA methodology.

The Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment online course is designed for students and professionals who want to learn about life cycle thinking, embrace a systems view, and calculate and interpret the environmental footprint of a product, service or technology. 

The course will guide participants through the principles and concepts necessary to describe a value chain from cradle to grave, calculate an inventory of emissions and resource consumption, translate it into impact indicators and scale it to a functional unit according to the principles of ISO 14044 and international best practices. These practices are used and have been developed in part by the experts of the CIRAIG, the International Life Cycle Assessment Reference Centre, founded in 2001. 

The objectives are the course are to:

  • Consider the principles of a life cycle perspective
  • Define the objectives of an LCA and lay the foundation for analyzing a product system
  • Conduct an emissions and resource consumption inventory
  • Describe the analytical framework for environmental impact assessment
  • Interpret and compare the results of an environmental footprint profile

This MOOC represents a collaborative effort between École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Polytechnique Montreal. It offers more than 20 hours of video lectures and practical exercises to develop skills in LCA, while using modern methods of educational technology. The MOOC is based on an Introduction to LCA course that has been given at Polytechnique Montreal (DDI8003) since 2013. It is intended as an introductory course for everyone as well as a pedagogical support for teachers who would like to move their teaching towards a reversed classroom approach. 

The contributors to the MOOC are: 

  • Professor Manuele Margni, one of the pioneers and international experts in life cycle assessment methodology. He is a full professor at CIRAIG, Polytechnique Montreal and HES-SO Valais Wallis in Sion, Switzerland. 
  • Pascal Lesage, known worldwide for his contributions to life cycle inventory and tool development. Pascal is currently an engineer for Environment Canada. 
  • Professor Cécile Bulle, internationally recognized for her contributions to life cycle impact assessment methodologies, especially the development of the Impact WORLD+ methodology. Cécile is a full professor at the CIRAIG and at the School of Management Sciences at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), in the Department of Strategy and CSR.  
  • Professor François Maréchal is an expert in industrial energy systems at the Ecole Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. He leads R&D activities in the field of computer-aided analysis and design of industrial energy systems, with a particular interest in the development of sustainable energy conversion systems using thermo-economic optimization methodologies. 

On behalf of the CIRAIG, we would like to thank the students who participated in the creation of the MOOC: Flavien Binet, Mohamad Kaddoura, Julien Pedneault, Laura Debarre, Jérôme Lavoie, Camille Chabas, Titouan Greffe and Julien Walzberg. We would like to thank Laure Patouillard for her contribution to the development of the MOOC content, Andrea Gideon for managing the project, the filming and editing team composed of Gwénael Bocquet, Magali Croci, Matthew Goodman, Éloge Seri, and the education technology advisors Christian Vonarburg from EPFL and Catherine Carré from Polytechnique. 

View the course page

Register for the course on edX

About the CIRAIG

Established in 2001, the International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) is a centre of expertise in life cycle issues internationally recognized for its solid scientific research work and its ten years of applied experience. The CIRAIG supports industry, governments, organizations and consumers in their path towards a true sustainable development supported by life cycle thinking.The CIRAIG is a research group and center of expertise on sustainability and life cycle thinking, based at Polytechnique Montreal and UQÀM.

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