By Olivia Thomas
June 14, 2019

circular economy: an interdisciplinary approach | university courses


From EdX and Wageningen University & Research

"Do you want to contribute to a more sustainable society? Tackle the challenges in the transition towards a circular economy? In this course you will analyze what it takes to create a circular economy including sustainable supply chains.

The transition towards a circular economy is one of the biggest challenges in order to create a more sustainable society. This transition requires circular thinking and an interdisciplinary approach, combining socio-technical, managerial, and environmental considerations.
Right now we design products from cradle to grave: from production to consumption to waste, which is a linear model. But we should design products from cradle to cradle: in a closed loop whereby they don’t become waste, but valuable resources again. And when we start thinking in circles, we might as well try to reinvent not just supply chains, but entire systems. Because that’s what we have been doing with sustainability: we have been departing from the status quo, while cradle to cradle and circular pushes us to think outside the box.

Cradle to Cradle celebrates abundance; it recognizes that people, just like ants and trees, are abundant and have a large impact on their environment. The challenge is to make this impact a positive one and we invite you to join this challenge!"

Interdisciplinary approach to circular economy

"In this course, we therefore take a systems approach to the circular economy, considering different stakeholder perspectives, their incentive structures, and their impact on circular alternatives.

The circular solutions will be assessed by using applied, as well as emerging, technologies. Since identifying and evaluating potential circular alternatives based on quantitative techniques is key in achieving sustainable solutions, you will also learn how to use life cycle assessment and agent-based modeling to assess the socio-technical and manageable challenges and environmental benefits of alternative solutions."

This MOOC is part of the MicroMasters program Business and Economics for a Circular Economy. 

"A series of 3 courses and a final capstone project designed to help you develop the skills needed to seize opportunities and embrace the transition from a fossil-based economy to a biobased one."


  • 6 WEEKS
  • 16-24 HOURS PER WEEK


Emiel Wubben | Associate Professor in Strategic Management | Wageningen University & Research

Alistair Beames | Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Operations Research and Logistics group | Wageningen University & Research

Gert Jan Hofstede | Professor at the Information Technology Group | Wageningen University & Research

Kim Poldner | Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship & Organization | Wageningen University & Research

David Strik | Assistant Professor, Biological Recycling Technology | Wageningen University & Research

Jan Vreeburg | Associate Professor, UETM | Wageningen University & Research


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