Circular Economy


About this course

The transition towards a circular economy is one of the biggest challenges to realize a more sustainable (biobased) society. This transition requires an interdisciplinary approach, combining technical, environmental, commercial, and social dimensions, interests, and influences. By this course, You familiarize yourself with prime issues in advancing Circular Economy in biobased settings, recognizing the relevancy of different disciplines, partiality of different tools and critical importance of thorough decision making.
We take a systems approach to the circular economy, considering the companies, supply chain, citizens/consumers and urban local context. After the introductory week, including the ethical reflection, we dive into systems theory/approach related to resource recovery (week 2) , business management (wk3), life cycle assessment (LCA) and agent-based modelling (ABM) (both wk4). Gradually emphasis shifts to a case study on Amsterdam green waste streams where in a heterogenous group you will use either LCA or ABM to partially develop, analyse and assess circular scenarios(wks 5-8). To what extend do LCA-data and ABM-simulations help us in developing creative but substantiated public and commercial recommendations? How to deal with the partiality and complementarity of different techniques/perspectives? It should activate learning preferences in your specialisation

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Understand the concept of a circular economy, based on its socio-technical, managerial, and environmental characteristics (links to Formative Exam, week 1)
  • Understand, when taking a commercial and a societal angle, how (biobased/) circular economy deviates from the current, mostly linear, system (FE 3)
  • Apply systems thinking with technology assessments to analyse and develop complex circular systems (FE2)
  • Understand the fundamentals and use of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and/or Agent Based Modelling (ABM) in the context of the circular economy (FE 4 + FE5)
  • Identify, apply and assess the use of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) or Agent Based Modelling (ABM) in a (commercial) case study, convincingly present and contrast innovative circular solutions (of others), integrated in an advisory report (roundtable meeting; group report wk 8).
  • Reflect systematically on yourself, group work, and the different disciplinary perspectives ( ind. reflection report wk 8).
  • Better understand ethical issues related to biobased and circular practices (FE1+ individual reflection report)

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
The entry level is BSc-level knowledge in specific areas of a MBSc-specialisation. When you are in doubt on this assumption please contact your study advisor.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      25 October 2024
    • Term *
      Period 1
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 4 Aug 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University