31 October 2022

Researchers working on the project "Interdisciplinary networking for a sustainable and circular economy (INSCE) met in Kaunas, Lithuania to discuss current and futures trends in sustainability and circular economy related research. Finding innovative ways to disseminate this research to both students and individuals in public and private organisations and potential research projects was also on the agenda.

A people sitting around table divided in groups. Discussing the ways to cooperate and co-create for a sustainable and circular economy

Mattias Lindahl, Annelie Carlson, Jelena Kurilova-Pališaitienė and Marianna Kambanou from Linköping University joined ECIU colleagues from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and Tampere University (TAU)  for the network’s first meeting that took place in Kaunas.

There has been a huge growth in projects and research in circular economy in the EU, driven by its prioritisation as a way of making Europe competitive and cleaner and helping Europe to meet its climate targets. According to the EU commission’s definition, in a circular economy, the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste is minimised.

The rich variety of projects taking place across Europe, leads to an equally rich variety of knowledge and experiences between researchers. Therefore it is essential that researchers come together to exchange and develop ideas, take stock of what has been done and what there is still left to do. Moreover, there is a need to accelerate the transfer of knowledge to industry and government, therefore exchanging experiences on successful ways of bringing circular economy into life-long learning, MBAs and other educational and capacity building programmes is equally urgent.

Many good ideas were discussed and ways to further collaborate in research and education were identified. The two-day networking meeting closed with an open lecture for the public involving researchers from all four universities.

The network aims to organise a series of events designed to foster cooperation and co‐creation among ECIU universities and to expand the knowledge of academic staff by sharing interdisciplinary experiences and disseminating knowledge about relevant and future research regarding the circular economy and sustainability. This network is part of the ECIU, the European Consortium of Innovative Universities, a network of 13 universities whose collaboration dates back to 1997.

The next meeting is set to take place at Linköping University 15 - 17 March 2023. The delegation team from Linköping University works at the division of Environmental Technology and Management.

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