Exploring the Resilience of Circular Economies with Systems Modelling and Simulation

Humanity consumes resources at a far greater rate than our environment can regenerate them. To fix this imbalance, our society must become better at reusing and recycling materials, and eventually achieve a zero-waste or “circular” economy.

However, our planet is facing an increasingly volatile future—climate change, socio-demographic shifts, economic and political instabilities. Will a more circular and closely connected economic system still be able to fulfil societal demands when exposed to shocks such as floods, heat waves, tariffs or cyber-attacks?

In this MSc project, you will study the resilience—the ability of a complex system to respond and adapt to external shocks—of an  economy as it becomes more circular and integrated. You will create a simple model of a national economy and its environment using agent-based or differential equation modelling. You will then use simulation experiments to explore its response to shocks at different levels of circularity. Will disruptions to one part of the system cascade throughout the network and shut it down completely? Or might a circular economy actually be more resilient, because it is less dependent on external inputs? Let’s find out!

Used skills

Systems modelling, design and execution of simulation experiments, data analysis and visualization


INF-50806, BCT-20306, FEM-31806, GRS-30306, ESA-22806 or comparable systems modelling course