ORL students present their work at European Student Conference

Published on
November 22, 2019

At the Euro League for Life Sciences (ELLS) international scientific student conference held on November 15 and 16 at the Swedish University of Life Sciences (SLU, Uppsala), former students Charlotte Conradie and Jeroen Kerssies presented their thesis work.

Charlotte presented a poster on her thesis “Utilizing heathland topsoil; logistic implications for the Dutch province Gelderland”. She illustrated whether heathland topsoil can be utilized in a circular agriculture in the Netherlands in such a way that current costs and
transport distances are minimized. To do so, she developed an allocation model to find the ideal customer for each heathland area by optimizing costs and transport distances. The impact of several valorisation scenarios was quantified. Recommendations following from her work are: 1) Increase the permitted radius for the utilization on farmland from 1 to 5 kilometers. 2) Allow the utilization of heathland topsoil on farmland further away from the source. To do so, increase the permitted utilization radius from 1 to 5 kilometers.

Jeroen gave an oral presentation on “Conceptualizing circular economy principles in the context of European agri-food supply chains”. Jeroen explained in his presentation how he deconstructed the contemporary
understanding of circular economy principles, including the drivers and
barriers, to identify the bottlenecks in its theory & design. These
insights were used to develop a framework for conceptualizing circular economy in the context of agri-food chains. The proposed framework depicts 22 factors influencing the CE transition across five categories: cultural, market, technological, regulatory and planetary. The test against food waste management frameworks validated 16 of these factors, and identified that: (1) a more sustainable system of production and consumption begins with cultural change, and; (2) businesses should focus on value chain collaboration that distributes more equally the economic, environmental and social burdens of their operations.

ELLS is a network of leading life sciences universities in Europe, and the annual scientific student conferences is one of their key activities. For more information about ELLS, please see

For more information on this year’s conference, please see