Realising the Transition to the Circular Economy

Transitioning towards a Circular Economy

How can we realize the transition towards a Circular Economy – both within existing organizations and industries as well as through innovative and sustainable business models?

Professor Murat Arsel and PhD candidate Emilija Bozhinovska are collaborating with Rotterdam School of Management in a consortium of ten beneficiaries and a network of twenty partner organizations led by the University of Sheffield, to answer this question.

This multi-disciplinary network, where knowledge and methodologies from multiple domains are combined, provides a unique opportunity to develop a holistic approach for the evaluation and realization of the transition towards a circular economy.

Why is this research relevant?

The circular economy aims at eliminating waste and focuses on re-using and re-cycling products.

As stated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the circular economy can play a crucial role in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Finding ways to implement supply chains and production systems inspired by circular economy principles has therefore become important if the boundaries of environmental sustainability have to be extended.

This is particularly relevant in Europe, which lags behind other regions in implementing the circular economy but where economic growth is leading to exhaustion of natural resources and degradation of ecosystems and the subsequent negative impacts on humans. Innovative approaches to introducing circular economy concepts in other disciplines such as regional development, political economy and ecology, supply chain management, and life cycle assessment while also looking at the economic, societal, environmental and policy implications of the circular economy are therefore highly relevant.


In total 14 countries are involved in this project, funded by the EU’S Horizon 2020 programme through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action, Innovative Training Networks.

Partners from within and outside Europe include academic institutions, local and governmental authorities and private organizations, which are leading the way in terms of circular economy implementation. Through enabling exchange of best practice and research into how adaptable the principles of the circular economy are to different contexts and economic systems, this multi-disciplinary network aims to realize a more sustainable mode of production and consumption in Europe in the coming decades.

In order to drive this transition, 15 PhDs (or Early Stage Researchers) are being trained to become new thought leaders who will contribute towards the implementation of the ambitious circular economy strategy of the European Commission.


University of Sheffield
Università degli Studi Parthenope di Napoli
Universität Kassel
South East European Research Centre
Academy of Business in Society
Högskolan Dalarna
University of Kent
Tata Steel UK
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Olympia Electronics

  • This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018) scheme, grant agreement number 814247 (ReTraCE).

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