New EU project seeks lessons on how to manage the transformation to a Circular Economy

A new EU €3.8 million research project, led by Dr Pauline Deutz at the University of Hull, is to focus on critically assessing current circular economy activity and drawing out lessons that can be applied to managing the transformation to a full circular economy.

Establishing a circular economy – to maximise the use made of resources and minimise waste generation – is a major policy area within the UK, European Union and elsewhere. It is explicitly seen as increasing economic competitiveness and laying a foundation for environmental employment. As such, circular economy policies are designed to increase resource efficiency and decrease carbon dependency. Previous and ongoing research into the circular economy, however, has been largely concerned with strategies for implementation. The many different fields of activity involved (e.g., re-use, recovery, recycling, design for the environment amongst others) operate with varying degrees of effectiveness in different places and for different materials. So far, these fields of activity have not been critically analysed as an interrelated social, technical, environmental and geographical phenomenon.

The project ‘Circular Economy: Sustainability implications and guiding progress’, or CRESTING, will train 15 early stage researchers (PhD level) in cutting edge systematic analysis of the process of transformation to a circular economy. This programme will advance the critical analysis of the concept and sustainability implications of the circular economy through in-depth analyses of circular economy-related activity/initiatives in a range of geographic and economic settings, bringing them together within a carefully integrated framework. The project will then translate this critical assessment into lessons for managing the transformation to a circular economy.

CRESTING has academic partners from across the EU, and industry, government and NGO partners including the City of Hull, WRAP and Environmental & Management Solutions (EMS) Ltd in the UK. It also includes Nanjing University, China and Ibadan University, Nigeria.

Dr Pauline Deutz, who leads the CRESTING project, is a team member of the RRfW project R3AW where she has applied her interest in the political economy of waste to R3AW’s multidisciplinary setting. The CRESTING project now extends the University of Hull’s ongoing work on industrial ecology and circular economy into a further interdisciplinary social science setting.

The CRESTING project is currently recruiting 15 early stage researchers between the eight universities, with a deadline for applications on 28th March this year. To comply with the funding requirements, researchers must not have spent more than 12 months in the last three years in the country where they are to be hired.

For further information on the project, including how to apply as an early stage researcher, please visit the CRESTING website, and follow them on twitter at @crestingITN.