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The Circular Economy in Theory and Practice

February 16 @ 12:15 - 13:15


In a world grappling with environmental challenges, it has become increasingly evident that the dominant linear economic model is unsustainable within the confines of our planetary boundaries, and it falls short of fulfilling the requisites for enduring sustainable development. To address this pressing issue, the Circular Economy (CE) is being promoted as an alternative to the conventional “take-make-use-dispose” model. CE, at its essence, calls for a profound shift in production and consumption systems, advocating for resource efficiency.

The transition to CE demands nothing less than a systemic overhaul. But what does this shift truly entail? It signifies that various stakeholders from diverse disciplines must collaborate and challenge the established norms to realize a future where the concept of “end-of-life” is rendered obsolete and replaced by the unobstructed flow of materials within closed loops. Through the implementation of circular strategies such as reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and recycling, the value of resources is enhanced, product lifespans are extended, and our perception of waste is redefined. Regenerative materials take the spotlight, and commodities give way to services.

The first part of the presentation will offer an expansive view of the CE landscape, exploring its theoretical foundations and real-world applications. Given its extensive conceptualization and applicability, there lies an immense opportunity for researchers to delve into various facets and conduct studies across diverse fields. The second part will shed light on the European Circular Economy research and innovation ecosystem. Leveraging data from the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme sourced from CORDIS, we have identified 990 CE projects, backed by a substantial funding of €4.8 billion, with the active participation of 13,300 organizations from 92 countries.  Our research subsequently explores the distinctive characteristics of the participating actors, conducting an in-depth analysis of prevailing trends, and assessing their collaborative patterns to gain insights into the emerging CE community, CE implementation and the broad diversity of CE-related themes, including but not limited to areas such as food, waste, plastics, construction, manufacturing, biotechnology, product design, and the development of circular business models.

CE is a dynamic and potent force driven by practical implementation and rigorous scientific research. Through collective effort, CE holds the potential to usher in a new era characterized by environmental responsibility, economic growth, and social progress.


Speaker: Anja Grüll



Anja Grüll has specialized in her research and teaching on the circular economy (CE). Her doctoral work involves the analysis of inter-organizational collaboration relationships stemming from EU-funded research and innovation projects within the CE domain. By applying Social Network Analysis to scrutinize these collaboration patterns, her research yields insights into the functionality of the CE innovation ecosystem in the EU and the evolving landscape of CE projects. In parallel, she dedicates a portion of her research efforts to the exploration of circular economy business models. To bridge the gap between scientific research and practical implementation, Anja educates entrepreneurs on sustainable business practices in Austria’s first circular economy incubator. In her role as a scientific research assistant, Anja worked in several EU funded projects, such as “Living Innovation”, where she has co-developed workshop moderation tools with Siemens tailored for individuals with visual impairments.

Anja is expected to complete her PhD at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (Institute for Managing Sustainability) under the supervision of André Martinuzzi by December 202


February 16
12:15 - 13:15


Aula 8

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