We will not be able to deplete and squander resources indefinitely. Ways to maintain the value of products and materials in the economy much longer can be found, for example, through business models that capitalise on the longevity of goods. An EU-funded training network is fostering new research on a more circular economy.
© TSUNG-LIN WU #128615548, source: fotolia.com, 2018
The EU-funded CircEuit project focuses on circular business models and on a group of PhD students determined to generate new knowledge about ways to create them. In total, 15 early-stage researchers are involved in this training network.
Each of these researchers is addressing a specific topic in one of five areas relevant to the circular economy. These overarching themes include businesses and business models, and more specifically ways of stimulating circular provisioning. Two further categories are dedicated, respectively, to users and supply chains. The projects being tackled by a fourth group of young researchers relate to the design of circular value propositions. A fifth and final set of research projects is exploring aspects of the bigger picture, in terms of the macroeconomic implications of the circular economy and of system changes needed to support it.
Seven academic institutions are involved in the consortium, which is led by Leiden University in the Netherlands. In line with the partners emphasis on fostering industry-academia partnership in support of the training of early-stage researchers, the network includes two participants from the private sector. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, set up in 2009 to champion the concept of a circular economy, is also a member.
CircEuit was launched in September 2016. Funding for this four-year endeavour is provided by the EUs Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme.