Headed by the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability, an international network of universities, businesses and other organisations has secured a European subsidy to fund research into the circular economy.
The subsidy has been granted for the so-called Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN). Fifteen PhD candidates will analyse the conversion to a circular economy from a business, design, governance, consumer, logistical and economic/environmental system perspective.
The Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) at Leiden University and the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft play a major role in the new network. Five of the 15 PhD candidates will set to work in Leiden and Delft, and Arnold Tukker, Professor of Industrial Ecology at Leiden University and Director of Research of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability, will lead the network.
The members of the consortium are all national and international frontrunners with regard to circular economy research. Linköping University, which holds a key position in the largest Swedish circularity programme, is joined by organisations including Aston Business School and Cranfield University – institutions that both head major English programmes in the field. Tukker: ‘The collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and a large number of industrial companies is particularly unique’.
Arnold Tukker is proud of the achievement: ‘With just a 7% success rate, this is probably the most competitive programme in Europe; the selection procedure is almost twice as strict as that for the prestigious grants awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) or the Veni-Vidi-Vici programme from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research’.
The programme is expected to launch in autumn 2016, and will span a period of more than 3 years. The total subsidy amounts to €4 million.
The Centre for Sustainability also participates in another major European consortium: the Raw Materials Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Tukker: ‘The Marie Curie programme that has now been secured offers excellent synergy with the Raw Materials KIC, where activities addressing circularity are also just starting’.