The first Schmidt-MacArthur summer school drew to a close on Friday 21st June by handing the presentations over to the Schmidt-MacArthur Fellows. Bringing together all of the ideas from the week, students led the morning session with their group presentations, using the time afterwards to engage with mentors about their own projects, sourcing advice and guidance from the many areas of expertise available to them.
Students took to the stage to deliver their presentations on Digital Manufacturing and the Circular Economy. Drawing on different perspectives such as cultural influences, a user’s ‘attachment’ to products which have been customised to personal specifications, and different economies of scale – both local and global, the presentations were varied and all together provided a dynamic overview of the subject.
Joined by Ellen MacArthur, the academic mentors offered individual feedback to the presentations, raising questions for the students to consider and further their research.
“There are issues of locality which you have concentrated on brilliantly; it’s not just about the people but the place. It’s important to recognise the dangers of emerging technologies. In life, there is no one size fits all. You need to create visions that include people in the picture.”
“You outlined some clever remedies to bad pathways, but – what happens if we don’t get the renewable energy before we get circularity?”
“What sort of jobs might there be because of digital manufacturing? And at what scale?”
Students were able to make the most of the academic minds brought together by the fellowship in a ‘hot-seating’ session. Whether they were seeking help and advice with their projects or a deeper insight into the circular economy from different disciplines, the students shared ideas and posed questions to the mentors to help them with the development of their year-long project. This provided invaluable one to one time with some of the leading academics from fields that have shaped the circular economy. Put together, the academic mentors represent expert guidance in the fields of Industrial Ecology (Reid Lifset, Yale), Architecture, (Prof. Galen Cranz, Berkeley), Civil & Environmental Engineering (Prof. Martin Fischer, Yale), Biomechatronics & Mechanical Engineering (Prof. Peter Childs, Imperial), Innovation Design Engineering (Clare Brass, RCA), Crop Ecology & Management (Dr Paul Burgess, Cranfield), Industrial Design Engineering (Prof. David Peck, TU Delft), Entrepreneurship & Family Business (Prof. Loic Maherault, Euromed), Master of Business Administration (Prof. Davide Chiaroni, MIP) and Industrial Design (Praveen Nahar, NID).
In the afternoon everyone who had been involved in the Fellowship were invited aboard ‘High Society’ for a boat cruise on the Thames with a barbecue lunch. It offered the perfect setting to close the week and discuss what had been learnt and experienced.
With the end of Day 5 we now look ahead to the coming year as the students have returned to their home universities to begin their Circular Economy Innovation Projects. We’ll keep you updated with their progress.
“The highlight for me was getting to meet the different players in the circular economy and learning from their experiences. Understanding the application of the model and the practicalities of it – that it’s doable, it has benefits, and it is something that is worth exploring.”
- Chidiebere Ofoegbu, Fellow at Cranfield University