Towards circular economy and sustainable growth: Academy of Finland granted extensive funding to a consortium of Finnish universities
The joint project of Finnish universities, “Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems” aims to facilitate the transition from linear to circular economy. The project supports Finland’s strategic objective to become a global leader in circular economy by 2025.
The Strategic Research Council (SRC) of the Academy of Finland has decided to fund the CICAT2025 project “Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems” from the SRC programme titled “Keys to Sustainable Growth”. The whole consortium received EUR 4.2 million for the first three years of the project.
The project will work to identify measures hampering and supporting circular economy and search solutions for companies and regulators to support the transition to a circular economy.
"We are exploring a wide range of circular economy catalysts that have the potential to accelerate the adoption of circular economy principles in society and markets. Decision-makers, policy-makers and companies can then apply those catalysts in an effective manner. Our extensive and multidisciplinary consortium brings together expertise in technology, business, policy-making, the arts, linguistics, legislation and stakeholder relations,” says Head of the consortium, Associate Professor Leena Aarikka-Stenroos from Tampere University of Technology.
In addition to Tampere University of Technology, the consortium consists of the University of Tampere, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Turku, Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS).
In the core of the project is close cooperation and discussion with universities, companies, authorities and communities. In addition, many ministries, municipalities and other organizations as well as a strong international cooperation network are involved in the project.
TUAS has worked for circular economy for years. The updated TUAS strategy emphasizes growth for circular economy. "We have strong national and international networks and knowhow in circular economy and we are more than happy to use this experience in this joint project," says Piia Nurmi, Leader of Research at TUAS.
Keys to a sustainable economy
The overconsumption of natural resources and climate change require the change of consumption and production methods as well as re-evaluation of economic models. Circular economy is the way towards sustainable consumption and economic growth. Circular economy means resource-efficiency, longer product life cycles and sharing. The transition towards circular economy concerns the whole society from consumers to cities and companies, which have to take resource-efficiency and circular economy into consideration.
Circular economy is not only a necessity but also a business opportunity. According to the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the annual market for circular economy in Finland could be EUR 1.5–2.5 billion.