MOOC Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Join the transition towards a circular economy, taking into consideration economic, supply chain, social, technical, managerial and environmental aspects.

Organised by Wageningen University & Research
Duration 6 weeks 16–24 hours per week

Why follow this course?

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!

Systems 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 identified by technological assessment 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 modelling to assess the socio-technical and manageable challenges and environmental benefits of alternative solutions.

What you'll learn

  • Understand the concept of a circular economy
  • Understand how a circular economy deviates from the current linear system
  • Assess the use of Life Cycle Assessment and Agent Based Modelling
  • Formulate improvements for a transition towards a circular design
  • Learn how to use and apply complexity aspects & agent-based modelling

Two complementary MicroMasters programmes

The course Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach forms part of the MicroMaster's® programme Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy, one of two complementary MicroMasters programmes: Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy, and Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy. These MicroMasters programmes are 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. Explore the other courses in the MicroMasters programmes:

Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy

Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy