SEK 10 million to research in the circular economy
LiU researchers have won two major research projects within the field of design and construction for a world in which we husband, recycle and reuse natural resources. Both will be carried out in close collaboration with industrial partners.
The circular economy and associated issues are high on the EU agenda at the moment. Circuit, which is an acronym for the “Circular European Economy Innovative Training Network”, is a project within the Marie Sklodowska Curie programmes in which researcher exchange and the joint education of doctoral students are important parts. A total of 15 doctoral students are to be educated within the programme, two of them at LiU. Researchers Tomohiko Sakao and Mattias Lindahl from the Division for Environmental Technology and Management, and Erik Sundin from the Division of Manufacturing Engineering are participants from LiU.
The objectives for Circuit are to educate future research leaders, to find new business models that function in the circular economy, to develop interdisciplinary networks of experts active in innovation, and to develop new forms of collaboration between the academic world and industry.
“We plan to analyse how the development towards circular systems can take place over time. If new regulations are introduced or new political decisions made – how will companies react? Can they prepare for these in some way? We will be working with actual cases, but the companies that will participate have not yet been selected,” explains Tomohiko Sakao.
Another important part of the project aims to develop better calculations of lifecycle costs for various products and services. There can be a long passage of time before a product is to be dismantled, remanufactured or recycled.
“The calculations must consider the complete cycle,” says Tomohiko Sakao.
Leiden University in the Netherlands is coordinating the four-year project, in which a further five European universities are taking part. LiU’s part of the project is in the form of a research grant of just over EUR 527,000.
The other research project, Circularis, is part of the Vinnova initiative “Produktion 2030”, which is to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with tools to develop better and more sustainable services and products. This is a three-year project.
LiU researchers Tomohiko Sakao, Yang Liu and Mattias Lindahl, all from the Division for Environmental Technology and Management, are collaborating with researchers from Chalmers University of Technology.
“We will study the impact of solutions that are driven by lifecycle costs on the environment. We must also improve financial calculations such that the choices designers make have a smaller negative effect on the environment. We want to find some basic rules that small and medium-sized enterprises can use,” says Tomohiko Sakao.
“Previous research has shown that products and services that have been developed with a lifecycle perspective are more profitable. But this is something that we need to look at in more detail,” he says.
Industrial partners are also involved in Circularis, two of which are the software developer Maxiom and Envac Scandinavia, which works with automated waste management.
Some CAD software already contains calculations of the environmental impact during the complete lifecycle of a product, but these are not widely used.
“A few large CAD companies have what is nearly a monopoly in the market. Small software developers can find opportunities here, and in this way companies can avoid becoming dependent on a single CAD company,” says Tomohiko Sakao.
The grant from Vinnova is SEK 4.9 million, of which 3.7 million is to go to LiU.
The circular economy is high on the agenda. Erik Sundin participated in profiling Swedish industry during the week of political and social discussion in Almedal, 2016.
- Tomohiko Sakao, Mattias Lindahl and Erik Sundin are also participating in the programme MistraREES, Resource-Efficient and Effective Solutions based on a circular economy thinking, a collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University and LiU.
LiU researchers have joined international calls for a boycott of scientific conferences in the US.
Psychology students took on role of treaters in a study of perfectionism and internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy.
Social value creation is on the agendas of more and more companies and organisations. Erik Jannesson, senior lecturer in management control, has just published a book on the subject.
Rolf Holmqvist is one of 17 researchers who are critical to guidelines for the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Malin Thor Tureby was keynote speaker at an international conference on oral history.
Cats that meow with a dialect have caused a sensation in the world media. Robert Eklund, a linguist who works with cats at the Department of Culture and Communication, has lost count of the number of times the work has been reported in the media.
On 6 December, a Farewell Mingle was held for departing exchange students who have studied at Linköping University.
"We have a global and critical perspective that attracts today's students," says Stefan Jonsson, professor at REMESO, about the Faculty of Arts and Science’s first international master’s programme at REMESO in Norrköping - Ethnic and Migration Studies.
Achieving perfect health has become a religion in the western world, according to a newly published study. Barbro Wijma, professor emerita and physician with many years of experience meeting patients, views this development with dismay.
Skin colour matters, also in Sweden. But many people don’t accept that racism is a problem here – only in other countries. So claims doctoral student Victoria Kawesa, who writes about black feminism and whiteness in Sweden.
Johanna Sköld from Child Studies at Linköping University co-organised an international workshop where researchers compared various models of compensation for institutional neglect and abuse.
Anna Lindström and Monika Lopez of the Department of Culture and Communication applied earlier this year for funding for an initiative in an issue relating to refugees. The funding was granted, and the “Tomorrow’s Nobel laureates” project was born.
Suad Ali, expert on Sweden’s refugee quota, works tirelessly for refugees worldwide. For her dedication she has been chosen as one of Linköping University’s two Alumni of the Year.
Thomas Lunner’s research has given improved hearing to millions of people with impaired hearing. He has been chosen as one of this year’s Alumni of the Year.
Last updated: 2017-02-13