Circular Economy Research Center (CERC), Paris, France.

Circular Economy Research Center (CERC)

Circular Economy will profoundly impact the future of business

We want to enable current and prospect students as well as the alumni of the School to sharpen their knowledge on the upcoming transformation and to be enabled to understand it, embrace it and prepare for it in their domains of professional interest.

What is Circular Economy? Circular economy is a “resource-full” alternative to the traditional linear “resource-depleting” economic model of produce-consume-waste.Circular Economy is a “make-use-enrich” model that allows the economic ecosystem to do ‘more with less’ and transition to sustainable growth that fosters innovative practice and thinking. Students, faculty, researchers, experts and executives alike will fully benefit from, and rapidly expand, this growing body of cutting-edge knowledge.

Circular economy has attracted attention in recent years. It is characterized as an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value. It is conceived as a continuous positive development cycle, reforming the current economy model of ‘take-make-dispose’, by preserving and enhancing natural capital, optimizing resource yields and minimising system risks by managing efficiently finite stocks and renewable flows.

At the Circular Economy Research Center we strive for excellence and have already taken action in supporting this transformation process through education, training and research. The Circular Economy Research Center (CERC) is participating in numerous EU funded research projects under Horizon 2020 which embed multidisciplinary and cross sectoral  applications of the circular economy principles.

The Circular Economy Research Center is a firm supporter of the endeavor of the European Union for A European Green Deal as announced by the European Commission. Our work will have a special focus in the domain of research, education and skills generation  and we will work hand in hand with our strong network of educational, industrial and institutional collaborators to also support the implementation of the new Circular Economy Action Plan.

Inaugural Day of the Circular Economy Research Center (CERC)

A short video from the inaugural conference of the Circular Economy Research Center which included inspirational interventions and stimulating debates around the domain. 

Circular Economy Research Center acknowledged as good practice

The Circular Economy Research Center has been acknowledged by the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform as one of the good practices in the domain of Circular Economy. The acknowledgement has been made public on the website of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform enabling us to be part of a very unique network hub of active stakeholders in the field. We are very proud and motivated to be supporting and working with the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform being a joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee in making the circular economy a reality.

CERC signatory party of the Circular Plastics Alliance

The Circular Economy Research Center (CERC) is one of the 231 signatory parties to the Declaration of the Circular Plastics Alliance. The signatories take action to boost the EU market for recycled plastics up to 10 million tonnes by 2025. The Circular Plastics Alliance is an initiative under the European Strategy for Plastics (2018), in particular under Annex III related to voluntary pledges by industry. The European Commission launched the Circular Plastics Alliance in December 2018 to help plastics value chains boost the EU market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025.

EU Funded Research at CERC

The Circular Economy Research Center (CERC) is actively engaged in research that will support the overall EU effort in organically developing a solid body of knowledge for the transition to Circular Economy. In this context CERC is participating in 5 EU funded project under Horizon 2020 which all contribute from diverse angles to the creation of a scientifically evidence based Circular Economy framework. Read more about our projects to their dedicated websites:

  1. CE-IoT: Circular Economy and Internet of Things
  2. Ideal-Cities: An enabler of trustworthy and sustainable applications for circular Smart Cities
  3. SmartShip: A data analytics, decision support and circular economy – based multi-layer optimization platform towards a holistic energy efficiency, fuel consumption and emissions management of vessels
  4. Bio-Phoenix: Biologically inspired complex software system reconstruction at near extinction states
  5. I-BiDaas: Industrial-Driven Big Data as a Self-Service Solution

Through our research we investigate a number of sectors, domains and technologies that interact with Circular Economy and can be catalytic enablers for new disruptive business models that can facilitate the required fast pace for the transformation to Circular Economy. Indicatively we would like to refer to:

Data & Sharing EconomyIoTEnergy efficiency
InnovationNew Business ModelsBig Data
Smart and Circular CitiesArtificial Intelligence5G applications
Sustainable Development GoalsSupply ChainsRe-Manufacturing
Education/Skills/AwarenessWaste ManagementSustainability

CERC events participation

CERC has participated and supported a number of prominent events in the domain in the context of its dissemination activities as well as to its contribution to the ongoing public dialogue that would help shaping the domain. You may find find some of the events below

A few words from the Director of CERC

The team of the Circular Economy Research Center would like to welcome you to our website. We invite you to navigate through our work, connect with us and provide us with  your feedback as well as ideas that can help us become even better in researching the fascinating domain of Circular Economy. You can read here, simply put, some thoughts and reflection on the importance of Circular Economy.

Meet the CERC team

Vlatka Katusic

Research Fellow at CERC

Hernan Ruiz

Research Fellow at CERC

Anastasia Vayona

Research Fellow at CERC

George Alexandris

Research Fellow at CERC

Sofia Alexaki

Research Fellow at CERC

Saman Sarbazvatan

Research Fellow at CERC

Meet our research partners

The Circular Economy Centre (CEC) is part of the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) at the University of Cambridge. CJBS is situated at the heart of Cambridge University with a 70+ strong faculty many of whom are world leaders in their area. CJBS is in the business of transformation – of individuals, of organisations and society by bringing together the latest thinking from academia and professional practice. CEC comprises a group of faculty who are the world authority in matters related to Circular Economy as displayed by their extensive publications in journals such as HBR and CMR. CEC’s mission is to become a leading international source of original and seminal research, expertise and knowledge on the circular economy and the particular policy and business contexts within which this system operates by synthesising shared research objectives and initiatives by both academic inputs as well as practitioners.

Bournemouth University (BU) is a major higher education and research institution in UK, and is currently in the top 500 of world universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012). In IDEAL-CITIES BU participates with the Department of Computing & Informatics and more particular with the Cyber Security and SMART research groups. The Department of Computing has 37 academic members (full/ Associate professors, Senior Lecturers, and lecturers) and over 50 PhD students. The Department of Computing conducts research on a cyber security covering all domains with a special focus on communication security, system security, IoT security, digital forensics and data analytics. Members of the Department have received an extensive recognition by being involved in international impact activities such as being the Lead Editor of the ITU-T Recommendation on “Requirements and Functional Architecture of IoT-related Crowdsourced Systems”.

The Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) is one of the largest research centers of Greece. FORTH has been ranked the 12th place in the 4th FP7 Monitoring Report of the 20 research organizations with the highest numbers of participations in FP7 signed grant agreements during the period 2007-2010. The Institute of Computer Science of FORTH, has a relatively long history and recognized tradition, in conducting basic and applied research, developing applications and products, providing services, and playing a leading role in Greece and internationally, in the fields of ICT.

Established in 1745, the Technische Universität Braunschweig (TUBS) is the oldest technical university in Germany with Carl Friedrich Gauß as one of its early students and lecturers. The Institute of Computer and Network Engineering (IDA) is internationally known as one of the pioneers in embedded system design automation, HW-SW co-design, and real-time analysis and optimization for networked systems. In the past 10 years, there was a major emphasis at IDA on timing analysis and optimization and security for networked embedded systems leading to a spin-off, Symtavision that meanwhile operates worldwide with major automotive OEMs and many suppliers as their customers. IDA also has more than 20 years of experience in the architecture and design of reliable computers and fault tolerant mass memories for space applications. Based on this work, embedded system reliability has become a second research focus. Further collaborative projects in multiprocessor systems-on-chip reliability are concerned with dependable networks-on-chip funded by the German BmBF and with reliable microkernels implemented on unreliable technologies for safety applications funded by the German DFG.

The Harokopio University of Athens (HUA) is a highly prestigious institution in the area of Information and Communication Technologies. The department of Informatics and Telematics of HUA team that will participate in SmartShip is the main driver and contributor to making HUA one of the four Greek Universities that have been continuously publishing work that is highly acknowledged and dispose impact levels that lie beyond or at the world average. The main objective of the HUA group is to conduct research and development in all areas related to telecommunication networks, services and applications. HUA has been participating in various EU funded R&D projects (Productive4.0, EMC2, THELXINOE, JMSE), as well as projects funded by Qatar National Research Fund (i-Doha, EMBIoT) and several national projects.

University of Novi Sad Faculty of Sciences is an educational and research institution with 5 departments, around 600 employees and 6000 students, comprising education and research in the following disciplines: chemistry, biochemistry, environmental protection, biology, ecology, physics, computer science, mathematics, geography, and tourism.

The University of Manchester is one of the UK’s leading universities with a strong presence in the top World University Rankings consistently ranked amonst the 10 best Universities in Europe. It is currently ranked 29th in the world (9th in Europe) in the QS World University Rankings and 35th in the word (7th in Europe) in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai ranking).

IBM Israel Science and Technology, better known as IBM Research – Haifa, was first established in 1972. Since then, the lab has conducted decades of research vital to IBM’s success. The lab is one of 9 research laboratories located outside of the United States, and has close working relationships with IBM Israel and its twin research laboratory in Zurich.

AEGIS IT RESEARCH is a research and development company based in the UK. Its aim is to foster world-class computer science research in Europe. We have created a highly effective research team consisting of talented researchers from all over the world. Our areas of expertise include forensic analysis, visualization systems, Geographical Information Systems, secure embedded platforms, access control and network security systems, privacy preserving systems, and so on.

Centro Ricerche Fiat is one of the main private research centres in Italy. It was founded in 1978, with the mission to develop and transfer innovative products, processes and methodologies in order to improve the competitiveness of the products of FCA (FIAT Chrysler Automobiles).

Software AG offers the first end-to-end Digital Business Platform, based on open standards, with integration, process management, in-memory data, adaptive application development, real-time analytics and enterprise architecture management as core building blocks. The modular platform allows users to develop the next generation of application systems to build their digital future, today.

BlueSoft, with 15 years of experiece in the IT industry, more than 400 highly qualified specialists and more than 350 successfully completed projects, provides a full range of IT services and dedicated software with experience in a wide range of business-oriented solutions. It has been supporting clients for more than 15 years. The main fields of operations of BlueSsoft are IT system integration (BPM, SOA, ESB, MCCM), Cloud Services, Enterprise Architecture, Consulting services, Web & Mobile Apps, Big Data and advanced data analysis and management. Within abovementioned domains BlueSsoft delivers services including functional and non-functional requirements gathering from E2E perspective, APIs’ design and standardization, advanced data analytics & cloud computing, distributed data processing, design and delivery of highly available and reliable mechanisms, both cloud based and hybrid (cloud architecture, services, infrastructure, security & privacy on AWS, Cloud Foundry), automated platform monitoring & scaling, backend design, implementation & deployment automation (CI/CD), multichannel cloud application development (web & mobile).

CaixaBank is the third largest financial institution in Spain and it is currently the leading force in Spanish retail banking. CaixaBank has a network of more than 5,000 branches, more than 9,500 ATMs, and a workforce of over 32,400 employees. CaixaBank has the largest customer base in Spain – 14 million people – and is the main bank for 1 in every 4 Spanish customers.

Deloitte Belgium is the undisputed leader to deliver ICT security advisory services for EU European Union (EU) Institutions. With a team which comprises more than 300 ICT security and risk advisory professionals certified from international professional bodies, Deloitte has been providing services to the European Commission and other European Union (EU) Institutions for more than a quarter of a century. The services are ranging from strategic services like cyber Strategy and Transformation and Cyber Risk Management to very technical and operational services including Vulnerability Management and Incident Response & Recovery, or analysis of trends and risks related to IoT.

Epsilon Malta Ltd was established in 2005. The Company is the artefact of a series of European Commission RTD projects (and Nationally funded projects). Epsilon Malta Ltd is today an independent SME that holds all IPR and technology patents of all its products and industry solutions. Based also on the know-how of its establishing shareholders, it provides expertise, services and is engaged into delivery of products/solutions (h/w, s/w, platforms). Expertise is available within the company and allied fully independent organizations of shareholders, as AvionTek GmbH (M. Bonazountas) and EPSILON Int’l SA (D. Kallidromitou).

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center was established in 2005 and is the Spanish national supercomputing facility and a hosting member of the PRACE distributed supercomputing infrastructure. The Center houses MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe. The mission of BSC is to research, develop and manage information technologies in order to facilitate scientific progress.

Atos is a leader in digital services with 2014 pro forma annual revenue of circa €12 billion and 100,000 employees in 72 countries. Serving a global client base, the Group provides Consulting & Systems Integration services, Managed Services & BPO, Cloud operations, Big Data & Cyber-security solutions, as well as transnational services through Worldline, the European leader in the payments and transnational services industry.

Nodalpoint Systems is an Oracle Platinum Specialized Partner focusing on designing, implementing and delivering solutions using the Oracle technology portfolio and Oracle Reference and Enterprise Technology architectures. Nodalpoint Systems’ services delivery organization focuses on operating focused, cohesive teams of experienced consultants and implementers that can support the full technology project lifecycle. Our team members deeply understand both the organizational and technological challenges involved in the balanced compilation and therefore successful adoption of SOA / BPM architecture and technology in both Cloud and On-Premise Environments. Nodalpoint has built a dedicated Big Data and Predictive Analytics team of professional Data Scientists & Big Data Engineers, with both solid theoretical background (PhD level, several academic publications) and hands-on experience in the related tools & technologies. The team is currently developing innovative solutions in the areas of large-scale recommended systems and deep learning applications in medical imaging.

Cablenet founded in 2003, offers telecommunication and entertainment services to the corporate and retail market. There are 230 employees in 3 cities. Developed the only wholly-owned independent network in Cyprus with 22.5Gbps International Capacity over redundant cable systems and currently 55,000+ retail subscribers. Cablenet is a member of all major European Internet Exchanges: LINX, DE-CIX and AMS-IX. It directly peers with over 500 providers from over 52 countries worldwide. Cablenet operates a privately owned Hybrid Fiber Coaxial network, using the latest DOS 3.0 cable technology offering telephony and digital video service delivering crystal-clear images and mind-blowing high-definition channels. The backbone optical fiber network within Cyprus is fully redundant and interlinks the four (4) major cities in Cyprus both at IP level as well as SDH. Multi-fiber metro rings are in operation in major civic centers in Cyprus, providing redundancy.

Information Technology for Market Leadership (ITML) is a fast-growing company composed of a hierarchical team of multi-experienced electrical and computer engineers, who have been conducting research at an international level (R&D projects in the area of ICT) in all areas related to telecommunication networks and services, energy efficiency, transportation and security. ITML also has a team of technical project managers and software engineers who are experts in the design and development of management functionality, software and hardware prototypes for: a) Future networks, architectures and services (including the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing), b) Energyaware applications c) Intelligent transportation systems and d) Innovative security systems and applications. ITML provides innovative, tailor-made software solutions to enterprises, in the Web and Mobile domain and solutions cover a very wide range of applications for any customized application pertaining to enterprise needs.

Telefónica I+D is the research and development company of Telefónica Group. It was founded in 1988 and its mission is to contribute to the Group’s competitiveness and modernity through technological innovation. With this aim, the company applies new ideas, concepts and practices in addition to developing product and advanced services.

Danaos Shipping is the ships manager of Danaos Corporation, a leading international owner of 60 containerships. Danaos charters containerships to a geographically diverse group of liner companies, including most of the largest ones. Danaos has established its reputation by providing first class operation service to many of the world’s major liner companies. Danaos has been engaging in rich research activity participating in several related EU projects through Danaos Research Center (DRC), an active research and development department. Danaos Research center is laureate member of FRANZ EDELMAN academy and winner of the homonymous 2012 award (the highest worldwide distinction in operations Research).

CERC publications

The Industrial Internet of Things as an enabler for a Circular Economy Hy-LP: A novel IIoT protocol, evaluated on a wind park’s SDN/NFV-enabled 5G industrial network.

Smart interconnected devices, including Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), permeate our lives and are now an integral part of our daily activities, paving the way towards the Internet of Things (IoT). In the industrial domain, these devices interact with their surroundings and system operators, while often also integrating industrial cloud applications. This 4th Industrial Revolution guides new initiatives, like the introduction of 5th Generation Mobile Networks (5G), to implement flexible, efficient, QoS- and energy- aware solutions that are capable of serving numerous heterogeneous devices, bringing closer the vision of a sustainable, Circular Economy. However, the lack of interoperable solutions that will accommodate the integration, use and management of the plethora of devices and the associated services, hinders the establishment of smart industrial environments across the various vertical domains. Motivated by the above, this paper proposes the Hy-LP – a novel hybrid protocol and development framework for Industrial IoT (IIoT) systems. Hy-LP enables the seamless communication of IIoT sensors and actuators, within and across domains, also facilitating the integration of the Industrial Cloud. The proposed solution is compared with existing standardised solutions on a common application, working around the protocols’ intrinsic characteristics and features to produce each variant. The developed systems are evaluated on a common testbed, demonstrating that the proposed solution is around 10 times faster for the same CPU usage level, while consuming 7 times less memory. Moreover, the applicability of the proposed solutions is validated in the context of a real industrial setting, analyzing the network characteristics and performance requirements of an actual, operating wind park, as a representative use case of industrial networks.

More about the paper at sciencedirect

Review of Security and Privacy for the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Day-by-day modern circular economy (CE) models gain ground and penetrate the traditional business sectors. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is the main enabler for this interplay of CE with healthcare. Novel services, like remote sensing, assisting of elder people, and e-visit, enhance the people’s health and convenience, while reducing the per-patient cost for the medical institutions. However, the rise of mobile, wearable, and telemedicine solutions means that security can no longer be examined within the neat, physical walls as it was considered before. The problem for a healthcare system further increases as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) reality, affects the way that the health services are accommodated nowadays. Both patients and healthcare staff utilize their personal devices (e.g. smart phones or tablets) in order to access, deliver, and process medical data. As the IoMT is materialized and the underlying devices maintain so valuable data, they become a popular target for ransomware and other attacks. In the CE case, the problem is further emerging as several of these assets can be used over-and-over by many actuators. However, medical users and vendors are less aware of the underlying vulnerabilities and spend less on the IoMT security. Nevertheless, the risk from exploiting vulnerabilities can be drastically reduced when the known and relevant controls are placed. This paper presents an overview of the core security and privacy controls that must be deployed in modern IoMT settings in order to safeguard the involved users and stakeholders. The overall approach can be considered as a best-practices guide towards the safe implementation of IoMT systems, featuring CE.

More about the paper at IEEE

Towards Specification of a Software Architecture for Cross-Sectoral Big Data Applications

The proliferation of Big Data applications puts pressure on improving and optimizing the handling of diverse datasets across different domains. Among several challenges, major difficulties arise in data-sensitive domains like banking, telecommunications, etc., where strict regulations make very difficult to upload and experiment with real data on external cloud resources. In addition, most Big Data research and development efforts aim to address the needs of IT experts, while Big Data analytics tools remain unavailable to non-expert users to a large extent. In this paper, we report on the work-in-progress carried out in the context of the H2020 project I-BiDaaS (Industrial-Driven Big Data as a Self-service Solution) which aims to address the above challenges. The project will design and develop a novel architecture stack that can be easily configured and adjusted to address cross-sectoral needs, helping to resolve data privacy barriers in sensitive domains, and at the same time being usable by non-experts. This paper discusses and motivates the need for Big Data as a self-service, reviews the relevant literature, and identifies gaps with respect to the challenges described above. We then present the I-BiDaaS paradigm for Big Data as a self-service, position it in the context of existing references, and report on initial work towards the conceptual specification of the I-BiDaaS software architecture.

More about the paper at IEEE

The CE-IoT framework for green ICT organizations

The growth of the global middle class provokes significant increment in product consumption. As the available resources are limited, Circular Economy (CE) raises as a promising initiative towards the sustainable development. Except from the traditional approaches of reusing or recycling products, the current trend utilizes modern computer technologies and involves a data-driven aspect. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the main enabler for the integration of CE with technology. This paper proposes a framework for implementing the cooperative vision of CE and IoT. Via this solution, a pilot system is developed in a medium size telecommunication company for administrating the lifecycle of the deployed electronic equipment and the management of the related supply chains. Mechanisms and devices are maintained/repaired/fabricated in a regular basis, green computing techniques are efficiently applied, and the productive period is prolonged. When the business upgrades the system, the retired counterparts can be sold in start-ups or gifted in third-world countries. The overall approach extends the working period of the well-maintained electronic assets not only for the examined business but for the collaborating organizations as well. Recycling companies can then trace this supply chain and the assets’ status in order to define their investment strategy at the end-consumer, contributing in the reduction of the electronic waste problem in the third-world.

More about the paper at IEEE

Blockchain-enabled Intelligent Asset Exchange for a Circular Economy

As the notion of circular economy gains momentum, intelligent assets increasingly form the backbone of sustainable ecosystems. Although these assets can supply the necessary knowledge for fueling the value drivers of a circular economy, the generated value will be significantly amplified by allowing third parties to manage them and profit from better asset utilisation. However, for an everchanging networked environment consisting of numerous assets, ownership needs to be dynamic, granular and adaptable in order to maximise gains. Blockchain-based mechanisms can effectively serve this need by enabling transfer of asset ownership directly between parties participating in the circular economy while introducing trust, efficiency and automation in asset exchange contracts.
The term “circular economy” refers to an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design, aiming to keep resources at their highest utility and value at all times. Its value drivers include extending the useful life of finite resources, maximising the utilisation of assets and creating new use cycles for end-of-life assets. Simultaneously, assets leverage advances in IoT, thus creating an emerging class of “intelligent assets”[1] governed by three underlying attributes enabling circularity: location, condition and availability. These properties sufficiently describe the state of the asset for operating under a certain role in the ecosystem, but at the same time raise two fundamental questions:• How do these properties affect the value generated by the asset?• Who defines the role (s) of the asset?

More about the paper at ERCIM

A Trustworthy and Sustainable Framework for Circular Smart Cities

Reflecting upon the sustainability challenges cities will be facing in the near future and the recent technological developments allowing cities to become” smart”, we introduce IDEAL-CITIES; a framework aiming to provide an architecture for cyber-physical systems to deliver a data-driven Circular Economy model in a city context. In the IDEAL-CITIES ecosystem, the city’s finite resources as well as citizens will form the pool of intelligent assets in order to contribute to high utilization through crowdsourcing and real-time decision making and planning. We describe two use cases as a vehicle to demonstrate how a smart city can serve the Circular Economy paradigm.

More about the paper at IEEE

MobileTrust: Secure Knowledge Integration in VANETs

Vehicular Ad hoc NETworks (VANET) are becoming popular due to the emergence of the Internet of Things and ambient intelligence applications. In such networks, secure resource sharing functionality is accomplished by incorporating trust schemes. Current solutions adopt peer-to-peer technologies that can cover the large operational area. However, these systems fail to capture some inherent properties of VANETs, such as fast and ephemeral interaction, making robust trust evaluation of crowdsourcing challenging. In this article, we propose MobileTrust—a hybrid trust-based system for secure resource sharing in VANETs. The proposal is a breakthrough in centralized trust computing that utilizes cloud and upcoming 5G technologies to provide robust trust establishment with global scalability. The ad hoc communication is energy-efficient and protects the system against threats that are not countered by the current settings. To evaluate its performance and effectiveness, MobileTrust is modelled in the SUMO simulator and tested on the traffic features of the small-size German city of Eichstatt. Similar schemes are implemented in the same platform to provide a fair comparison. Moreover, MobileTrust is deployed on a typical embedded system platform and applied on a real smart car installation for monitoring traffic and road-state parameters of an urban application. The proposed system is developed under the EU-founded THREAT-ARREST project, to provide security, privacy, and trust in an intelligent and energy-aware transportation scenario, bringing closer the vision of sustainable circular economy.

More about the paper at ACM

Nicolas Lapalu (France)CEO - Osborn-Unipol France

Jadwiga Gajda (Poland)IT Service Manager – Metanext

Shaleish DixitHead of Consulting & Sales Solutions - Wipro

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