University of Hull to lead a £3.8m Europe-wide project

University of Hull to lead a £3.8m Europe-wide project

The £3.8m research project will explore how to create a more sustainable environment while minimising waste generation.

The Horizon 2020 project, called Cresting, will look into the aspects of a regenerative system known as a circular economy, which is designed to enhance the efficiency of resources used to provide goods and services, with related impacts on business, government, the economy and the environment.

An alternative to the traditional linear ‘make, use and dispose’ model, a circular economy aims to use resources for as long as possible then dispose of these responsibly, reuse them or recycle the materials. 

The project will see 15 early career researchers recruited to universities across Europe who will be trained in the cutting-edge analysis of circular economy practices with the aim of turning this assessment into lessons for managing a transformation to a circular economy. 

Academic partners in the project are at the University of Hull this week for the inaugural workshop, with recruitment underway for researchers.

By the end, the project will have delivered 15 highly skilled individuals with an unparalleled understanding of how a circular economy works, able to inform and advise on future policy.

Dr Pauline Deutz, project co-ordinator from the University of Hull, said: “This is a major policy strategy within the EU around resource and recycling. It’s about changing the way things are designed so they are easier to recycle, last longer or are not made with toxic matter. 

“This involves building new relationships between companies, governmental bodies and the public to find ways of being cleverer in the use of resources than we currently are. 

“There could be enormous implications for the geographies of employment and economic development too, with new opportunities arising but others also disappearing.”

The four-year project also includes 15 partner organisations located in ten different countries across the EU and beyond.

Partners include WRAP, Hull City Council, EMS Ltd (an award-winning Hull-based charity), the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, as well as the Universities of Nanjing, China and Ibadan, Nigeria.  

Other partners include companies involved in manufacturing, waste management and IT solutions for the circular economy.   

Dr Deutz continued: “What is unique about what this project is that we are trying to understand the implications of the circular economy.

“There is a lot of research into separate components of building a circular economy, such as design and recycling, but far fewer people working on how they fit together and what these changes might mean to the economy or for society.”

“If we are more effective in what we use then there can be carbon savings, but more attention needs to be paid to measuring the impacts of different approaches to resource efficiency. 

“The most appropriate option will vary for different materials and different locations.   There are potentially huge savings to be made in terms of money by using less resources, but there are also huge consequences in terms of helping the environment.”

Universities involved in the project include Universities of Graz, Austria, Utrecht, Netherlands, Messina and University “G. d’Annunzio” Pescara, Italy, Aberta and New University of Lisbon, Portugal, and the University of Technology Troyes, France in addition to the University of Hull.