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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Circular Economy Principles and Practices (PGGE11262)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe circular economy (CE) is an economic model that invites businesses, cities, and countries to transform their approach to the use of materials and energy and build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. The ultimate goal of CE is to shift the paradigm away from over-consumption and towards greater recognition of the need for and value of resources. This course will give students a foundation to address the climate crisis and resource management from a perspective that can help businesses, communities, and governments to:
1. Maximise resource productivity
2. Keep materials, components and products circulating for as long as possible while enhancing value
3. Investigate deeper challenges to global economic development.
Both applied and theoretical approaches to the topic will be discussed.
Course description This course introduces the topic of circular economy (CE) by establishing a set of principles which explain, define and articulate the distinctive vision and approach of CE and how it differentiates from the current 'take-make-dispose' economic and business model. It does this in part through comparing, contrasting and distinguishing CE from other common analytical or conceptual frameworks. The course will then address the practical applications of CE to date, with case-studies┐both local and international┐and analyse the how and why of the progress observed has been realised. The topic will be examined from multiple perspectives including the technologies, materials, policies, behaviours, practices and theories involved in creating a circular economy, and then linked to the issues of the climate crisis.

The lectures and in-class activities/discussions will be grouped around these key topics:
1. Foundations of a circular economy: the theories and principles behind the concept and the history of the idea.
2. Circular design & innovation: opportunities and challenges in designing for a circular economy in different economic sectors.
3. Circular business models: the role of business in the circular economy and how to accelerate the transition from a linear model.
4. Building a circular economy strategy: looking at the economic/financial case for CE as well as how to measure success.
5. Policies & society: from macro (government) to micro (local communities), a look at how government policies and societal impacts of consumption can be transformed.
6. Social practices and transforming value: exploring notions of ┐value┐ and how this is represented by individuals, communities, societies and economies; understanding how values influence practices and routines.

The students can expect a wide range of hands-on, practice-based activities as well as lectures and talks from practitioners in the field.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  42
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Students will be provided with a combination of formative and summative feedback.

Summative, written feedback will be provided in detail on both assignments. For the group assignment, feedback on the presentation will be given in advance of the final deadline for the written element (business proposal) of the assignment.

The course organiser will also give formative feedback to each group in advance of the presentation deadline regarding their choice of businesses and their business plan outlines.

The in-class exercises will provide students (and the CO) with immediate feedback on performance and understanding.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a critical understanding of the key concepts and principles of the circular economy and its applications to different scenarios and sectors.
  2. Be able to communicate, using appropriate methods, circular economy principles to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the business and political landscapes in which a circular economy could operate.
  4. Be able to develop original and creative responses to problems and issues related to implementing a circular economy.
Reading List
Examples of core reading materials:
1. Stahel, Walter. The Circular Economy: A User┐s Guide, (2019)
2. Webster, Ken. The Circular Economy: A Wealth of Flows, 2nd Edition (2016)
3. Braungart, M. and McDonough, W. Cradle to Cradle. Remaking the Way We Make Things (2009)
4. De Angelis, R. Business Models in the Circular Economy: Concepts, Examples and Theory (2018)
5. Lacy, P. and Rutqvist, J. Waste to Wealth: The Circular Economy Advantage (2015)
6. Material Economics & Ellen McArthur Foundation. Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change (report) (2019)
7. ARUP. The Circular Economy in the Built Environment. 2016.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Knowledge and understanding of core concepts and debates in circular economy and its links to climate change and resource management.
2. Articulation of own values with respect to the circular economy, such as student┐s own approach to defining and assessing ┐circularity┐, ┐value┐, ┐resource management┐, etc.
3. Experience in applying a range of methods and analytical tools related to a circular economy.
4. Ability to communicate the theories and practices of a circular economy to engage effectively with others.
KeywordsCircular economy,climate change,business,waste management,sustainability
Course organiserMs Toni Freitas
Course secretaryMs Heather Penman
Tel: (0131 6)50
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