Circular Economy and Advanced Sustainability (CEAS) addresses global pressing challenges imposed by the climate change, the rapid growth of world population, the unprecedented degradation of ecosystems, and the limited availability of renewable and non-renewable natural resources.

CEAS develops high quality research that provides practical answers to tackle critical sustainability problems. The solutions, tools, technologies, managerial models, education opportunities, and policy frameworks generated by the Centre can be used by governments, organisations, policymakers, and relevant stakeholders to make a positive impact beyond academia, helping to effectively achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. CEAS staff have been engaging with Circular Economy (CE) and Sustainability for many years.

Our work aims at improving the industrial transition to the circular economy and lifting the triple bottom line of partner organisations.

The overall research approach of the centre is multi-disciplinary, but all the projects developed in the centre will have a clear Circular Economy context, application and focus. We aim to develop CE-oriented research which is relevant to all stakeholders. To this end, the centre will facilitate interactions between academia, industry and government stakeholders to foster impactful research for real-world problem solving, knowledge creation, knowledge transference and dissemination.

The strategic objectives of the centre are:

  1. To develop research excellence through cutting-edge research on sustainability technologies that lead to Circular Economy solutions that disrupt linear unsustainable production and consumption systems.
  2. To translate technological advancements into innovative business models and management systems that can feasibly implement sustainable production and consumption ecosystems for the Circular Economy.
  3. To engage with key stakeholders in productive relationships that lead to strategic collaborations aimed at securing research grants to fund impactful CE-oriented projects of practical applications.
  4. To promote technological and managerial advancements of wider applications in our society, including industrial transformations in global value chains and sustainable consumption behaviours advocated by the Circular Economy.
  5. To inform and support policy making influencing industry standards, public services and market demand for Circular Economy innovations derived from the centre's research.

Centre director: Luciano Batista and Breno Nunes

 Research areas:

Circular Economy Development
  • Implementation of CE strategies and practices
  • Development of CE business model innovations, solutions and approaches
  • Low-cost CE solutions to developed and developing countries
  • Shared economy and collaborative consumption models Implementation of restorative and regenerative approaches: reduce, reuse, redesign, remanufacture, repair, recycle and recover
  • Development of CE metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators)
  • Circular Supply Chain Management Industrial symbiosis in CE ecosystems
  • Alignment of CE with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • CE applications to support the Net-Zero agenda
  • Product and Service Systems (PSS) applied to CE
  • Servitization approaches applied to CE
Advanced Sustainability
  • Application of Industry 4.0 and digital technologies as enablers of sustainability
  • Approaches to implement sustainable product-service systems
  • Sustainable operations strategy: formulation, implementation, and assessment
  • Development of strategies for the zero-emission vehicles and sustainable mobility
  • Design of sustainability solutions in the context of both domestic and global supply chains
  • Enhancement of social sustainability: tackling modern slavery and promoting better working conditions


Research projects

Main projects
UKMSN

UKMSN (www.ukmsn.ac.uk)

UKMSN is a £1 million research project funded by the EPSRC to comprise the portfolio research networks in the Manufacturing the Future programme. The UKMSN was created to stimulate the growth of manufacturing research and communities concerned with developing manufacturing synergies for the circular economy with basis on industrial symbiosis practices. The UKMSN mission is to position manufacturing research into the mainstream of scientific developments and impact on the circular economy.

Low Carbon SMEs

Low Carbon SMEs (www.smelowcarbon.co.uk)

Low carbon SMEs aims to transform businesses for a sustainable future. The project develops a practical approach to making change happen by providing free, expert energy efficiency support and advice to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The project brings together the best academic minds; industrial expertise; and a solid understanding of the low carbon drivers that impact on SME businesses. The result is a holistic approach to energy efficiency that leads to higher productivity and sustainability. The project provides free advice and grant support to SMEs on a whole range of energy efficiency challenges, including specialist strategies and guidance to set businesses on a pathway to carbon reduction.

CEAS Doctoral Projects
Dr Anisuddin Gabbur

Anis completed a PhD in circular economy from Aston University in October 2020. He currently works as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Government of UK. He is also a visiting fellow at Aston Business School. His PhD thesis investigated how UK manufacturing firms understand, construct, and operationalise a circular economy. The study found that the waste hierarchy augmented by technological innovation (Industry 4.0) best represents the understanding of circular economy and its implementation in alignment to achieve a competitive advantage. The study highlights that collaboration and coopetition are central to make circular economy business models to work. Furthermore, the circular economy is easier to manage within regions instead of globally. With twenty years of experience, Anis helps the firms transition to a circular economy model. He is also available for media queries and sits on panel discussions on the circular economy.

Raji Sivaraman

Doctoral Researcher

SGDs and Corporate Sustainability Structures

The research focuses on the practical challenges and opportunities organisations face when they want to create sustainability structures:

- Are SDGs, the appropriate input for creating a corporate sustainability structure?
- How do SDGs conflict or align with the corporate strategy?
- How do firm’s contributions to SDGs align with profit making?

To figure the dynamics of the problem, a case study approach is taken to analyse the different dimensions and its implications of inputs, conflicts, alignments, structures, and monetary benefits. A 360 degrees viewpoint tying in with the management, external & internal stakeholders views are employed for the research.