Understanding the transition to a circular economy: concept note ready

Prompted by @marina and @ilaria, I have done some work on creating a concept note for this topic. Some considerations:

  • Very exciting, even radical, specific challenge. This seems to be something like “OK, if we leave this to the engineers alone we are going to fail very badly, as all material resources-based economic and social models have done since Limits to Growth. We need to call the social scientists and humanities scholars in”. Great!
  • Something of a disconnect between this specific challenge and the scope section. Which is all about analyzing sectors, seeing where they are, and sketching possible transition scenarios.
  • Strongly bolted on top on the (concluded) EU Circular Economy Action Plan and the EU Strategy for Plastics. Orgs that have run projects “in the same topic” are “strongly encouraged” to apply.

My conclusion: it does not make sense to just present a proposal. We should, instead, find consortia in the making that have the prerequisites, and offer our services to them. Based on this conclusion, I wrote this document. Marina, Ilaria, the ball is in your court.


A short update on this: the concept note and the link to this post was sent to Rafael, the contact at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, end of November. He contacted another researcher working with plastic in the CE from the perspective of circular manufacturing systems, who is in turn now in touch with the colleagues from his research group. Hoping that in the upcoming days we will be able to know if there is potential in this. In the meantime, if you wish to do some outreach as you suggested (posting on twitter etc.), feel free to do so.

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