Circular product innovation is opening up new markets and a wealth of opportunities for businesses across the world. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the iCircular3 project will initiate a training programme focused on circular economy to strengthen the research potential of young researchers in the field. The project consortium, which consists of three leading universities and four industry partners, will guide researchers on how to leverage digital technologies to implement circular economy principles in a number of industries. These include industrial robots, outdoor power equipment and electric vehicles.
Circularity has opened up new markets and business opportunities, domestically and outside the EU. However, opportunities are being missed due to low reuse and recycling rates. iCircular3 creates a cohort of future leaders in research, policy, and business through its innovative training programme focused on the Circular Economy. Three leading universities supported by four industry partners will address the incorporation of circular economy principles using digital technologies throughout the product lifecycle, for three innovative and strategic sectors for the European economy: industrial robots, outdoor power products, and electric vehicles.
Each sector will explore the possibilities of a circular lifecycle through four perspectives:
1. Product and service design: exploring opportunities for circularity in the design of outdoor power products, electric vehicles, and industrial robots.
2. Reverse supply chains: understanding and overcoming recovery barriers in these industries.
3. Users and stakeholders: ensuring stakeholder engagement in the transition towards more circularity, for instance by engaging outdoor power product consumers in the development of Reverse Logistics systems, and improving the recycling rates of electric vehicles from a consumer perspective.
4. Systems: developing digital tools and decision support systems that foster circularity.
iCircular3 will recruit and train 9 Researchers to conduct sector-specific projects related to circular lifecycle perspectives; combined together, the projects will contribute to the development of new guidelines and digital tools for the integration of circularity in industry, as well as the identification of cross-sector commonalities. The strong academic/industry interaction in iCircular3 will ensure the relevance of each research project. Researchers will receive high-level industry-led research training and professional development courses, with a view to open up their career perspectives.