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Page updated 10.10.2017

TUAS became a member of a worldwide, highly recognized circular economy network Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Turku University of Applied Sciences has been invited to become a member of a worldwide, highly recognized circular economy network Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The membership will lead TUAS together with the focal international operators in the field.

Our future aim is to be part of international projects that promote circular economy and related business in the wider scale.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a network with cooperating members promoting together circular economy and the business around circular economy. The network involves several programmes, one of which is Education. This is the programme TUAS will participate in.

"The key objective of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Network Universities is to develop education. By doing so, we get a chance to promote circular economy indirectly," explain Research and Education Leader Piia Nurmi and Research Group Leader Liisa Lehtinen from TUAS.

Creating a circular economy society requires collaboration between the different sectors of the society as well as multidisciplinary competence. For this to happen, we need professionals of various fields who understand limited scope of natural resources and the significance of circular economy as a solution for burning topics.

"Teaching in the field of circular economy is crucial in order to make circular economy the new normal of the future", says Nani Pajunen, Leading Specialist on circular economy at SITRA, the Finnish Innovation Fund.

International network of top universities pioneering in circular economy issues

Ellen MacArthur Foundation works internationally with many higher education institutions that shine leading light on circular economy. In the network, these true trailblazers are called Pioneer Universities. TUAS is aiming at becoming one of them in future.

"We do have the potential required for it, as circular economy is already a topical theme and a development target in several research groups at TUAS", says Piia Nurmi.

In addition to TUAS, the Network Universities of Ellen MacArthur Foundation cover many other active promoters of circular economy.

"We aim at being one of the top higher education institutions that create pioneering competence in future", declares Liisa Lehtinen.

TUAS is already on the right track in both national and international circular economy cooperation. The collaboration opportunities are further enhanced by the membership of Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

"We now have even better chances to learn from the likes of us and thus bring international competence to add to the national networks", Nurmi considers.

Converting circular economy research into studies, highlighting innovation pedagogy

The first actual step in the application process to become a member of the network took place via Skype in September 2016. After the introductory phase, the representatives of Ellen MacArthur Foundation encouraged TUAS to apply:

"We drafted the application in late spring 2017 and received a positive decision in August", Piia Nurmi describes.

Because the nomination as a member is still fresh, TUAS operators have not yet got to know the other Network Universities members.  

"We suppose, however, that few of them are as developed as we are in innovation pedagogical education of circular economy. By converting all our research on circular economy into studies, we transfer tangible know-how directly to the hands of the future operators. How we carry out student-enterprise cooperation and projects seems to be internationally interesting", Lehtinen remarks.

The central benefit of belonging to the network is definitely the opportunity to be acquainted with similar operators.

"Our objective is a smooth access to international ventures. We will be active members in the network", both Nurmi and Lehtinen state.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a worldwide circular economy network, established in 2010 and cooperating with policy makers, business and academia in order to accelerate the adoption of circular economy model both in Europe and globally as well as to promote e.g. the design of sustainable products. By showcasing academic research, the Education programme of the foundation enables collaborative ventures and knowledge exchange.