A postgraduate certificate in Circular Economy was developed in 2011 and an online MBA – ‘Innovation, Enterprise and Circular Economy’ in 2014, which combines the best of current CE thinking within a classic MBA. The MBA has a global reach with over 100 students - CE100 members and others, studying part-time on a flexible modular structure allowing participants the ability to step on and off the programme as work pressures dictate. The University designed and leads the CE100 online EMF Executive Education programme. Since its launch in 2013, over 1000 delegates have participated and offered overwhelmingly positive feedback. Developed as a relaxed, informative and inspiring introduction to CE in addition it offers the opportunity for wider debate, the sharing of professional insights and networking.
The team have recently successfully completed a 3-year programme of support to SMEs on resource efficiency and circular economy. Supporting 144 SMEs transitioning to a circular economy; this work provided unrivalled insight into the challenges and opportunities facing SMEs in circularising their businesses.
Two Innovate UK research projects developing circular economy business models for industrial partners have just concluded. This work not only directly benefits the industry but will also be absorbed into teaching practice to ensure industry relevance and real world case studies. A special edition on ‘Circular Economy’ for the journal 'Sustainability' is due out.
The team are currently establishing a number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) on circular economy projects. KTPs offer 75% government funding and are recognised as a highly effective forms of academic-industrial collaboration and we are keen to work with CE100 members interested in this opportunity.
Research activities are being expanded to build new industrial and business collaborations, academic exchanges and active consortia to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Current bids include: system re-design for building construction, resource security for rare earths and regional approaches to accelerate CE business models adoption by SMEs. The University has over twenty academics across working on circular economy research and a growing number of PhD students.
Business collaboration has identified a demand for short ‘insight’ courses on topics such as business model innovation and closed loop supply-chain design. New on-line courses and residential programmes will be available from late 2016/17.