Implementation of Circular Economy in Regions and Cities

The concept of Circular Economy (CE) presents an opportunity for a transition from the current ‘take-make-dispose’ economic approach (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2012) towards an economic system that ensures “(…) environmental quality, economic prosperity and social equity (…)” (Kirchherr et al., 2017, p. 229) simultaneously. For this transition, organizations need to innovate systemically and collaboratively while incorporating principles of circularity and sustainability (Brown et al., 2019). The decision of cities and regions to support or lead this transition is vital. Holistic strategies on the regional level (urban / regional development etc.) are necessary tools in this process. Potential topics for a thesis can cover these strategies, territorial innovation models in regions in the transition towards CE, collaboration of the relevant institutions in a region, systemic approaches of implementing CE in a region and more.

Possible research topics for your thesis
• Territorial Innovation Models in Regions and/or Cities
• Collaborations of Organizations and Institutions in the Transition towards CE

The topic will be specified in a joint process.

It will be your task to identify relevant literature and gain an understanding for your topic. You will extend, refine as well as validate your findings by using a to be defined scientific research method. By doing so, you will acquire expert knowledge in the area of CE and gain an understanding of the complexity of integrating sustainable concepts within the industry and in regions.
Your thesis might be used for further research.

• Above-average course achievement
• Advanced skills in English (written and spoken)
• Ability to work independently
• Interest in sustainability concepts and CE

as from now (or upon request)

References and further reading (selection)
Brown, P., Bocken, N. and Balkenende, R. (2019) "Why Do Companies Pursue Collaborative Circular Oriented Innovation?", Sustainability 11 (3): 635.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) (2012) "Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 1: an economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition".
Geissdoerfer, M., Savaget, P., Bocken, N. M., & Hultink, E. J. (2017) "The Circular Economy–A new sustainability paradigm?", Journal of cleaner production, 143, 757-768.
Kirchherr, J., Reike, D. and Hekkert, M. (2017) "Conceptualizing the circular economy: An analysis of 114 definitions", Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 127: 221–232.
Obersteg, A., Arlati, A., Acke, A., Berruti, G., Czapiewski, K., Dabrowski, M., Heurkens, E., Mezei, C., Palestino, M. F., Varjú, V., Wójcik, M. & Knieling, J. (2019). Urban regions shifting to circular economy: understanding challenges for new ways of governance. Urban Planning, 4(3), 19-31.
Pires, S. M., Polido, A., Teles, F., Silva, P., & Rodrigues, C. (2020). Territorial innovation models in less developed regions in Europe: the quest for a new research agenda? European Planning Studies, 28(8), 1639-1666.
Smol, M., Kulczycka, J., & Avdiushchenko, A. (2017). Circular economy indicators in relation to eco-innovation in European regions. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy, 19(3), 669-678.
Tapia, C., Bianchi, M., Pallaske, G., & Bassi, A. M. (2021). Towards a territorial definition of a circular economy: exploring the role of territorial factors in closed-loop systems. European Planning Studies, 1-20.

Please make yourself familiar with the literature for the topics you’re interested in from the list above and send your request including academic record and CV to: