The main innovation proposed by the project will be the development of a holistic approach for evaluating and realising the transition towards the Circular Economy, involving knowledge and methodologies from multiple domains (including Supply Chain Management, Environmental Science, Environmental and Ecological Economics, Science and Technology Studies, Innovation Studies) and addressing economic, environmental and social issues.
The trans-national, multi-disciplinary, multi-sector, multi-stakeholder approach proposed in this project aims to bridge the main gap in research dealing with the CE paradigm, that, to date has been characterised by a “silo” approach that has undermined theoretical development and knowledge transfer to practitioners.
To this aim, the project will be articulated in the following research work packages (WP):
WP1 - Circular Supply Chains and Production Systems
Led by UniKassel, it will be mainly concerned with the definition of decision support tools for identifying CE opportunities within supply chains and for measuring their performances according to environmental, social and economic perspectives.
Also, within this WP, risk and barriers (mainly at a micro level) for the implementation of circular supply chains will be discussed, also investigating the potential for mitigation measures and interventions at both technological and planning levels.
WP2 - Towards the Circular Economy: assessing Environmental Efficiency
Led by UPN, it will deal with technical and methodological work aimed at:
- Defining suitable methodologies for measuring the performance of production systems and their progress towards a Circular Economy (mainly at meso and macro levels)
- Identifying promising material streams that represent a potential pathway towards the implementation of CE strategies in the short, medium and long run
- Developing modelling approaches for estimating environmental externalities associated with linear and circular systems
- Developing guidelines for calculation and interpretation of multi-criteria and multi-scale performance indicators, capable to address at the same time costs, benefits and achieved sustainability improvements, in order to “test” strategic planning and actual implementation.
WP3 - Towards the Circular Economy: assessing Economic Efficiency
Starting from a review of current applications of Circular Economy in the international context (mainly at a meso and macro level) and Led by UniKent, it will be dealing with the economic, social and political implications of CE, investigating its applicability in a European context (characterised by free-market economic principles) and in different economical and geographical contexts (characterised by different growth rates and socioeconomic conditions).
Also, the WP will develop adequate theoretical tools for characterising value in a CE and for understanding the role of financial and fiscal incentives.
WP4 - Development Policy for the Circular Economy
Led by SEERC, it will deal with development policies (mainly at meso- and macro- levels), including the role of international, national and regional legislation to promote the transition towards the Circular Economy, both from a bottom-up (looking at ways to foster entrepreneurial opportunities and innovative business models) and top-down (looking at required governmental supports and incentives).
WP5 – Training
WP6 – Management
Led by USFD, it will be mainly concerned with project management and coordination activities, including both economic and technical aspects. Management activities will be aimed at the delivery of all the objectives listed above; this will be overseen by the Coordinator in close cooperation with the SB.
WP7 - Dissemination, Communication and Outreach
Led by USFD, it will be aimed at maximising impact and outreach of the results of the project.All the consortium members will be involved in the activities of the work-package.
Activities of the network will be disseminated through the website and the participation to regular open-days events happening at beneficiary institutions. ESRs will be actively engaged in presenting results of their individual projects at international conferences, ensuring significant publicity in reputed research forums; also, ESRs will be actively pursuing publications in leading international journals in their respective fields.