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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Fundamentals of a Circular Economy (fusion on-site) (EFIE11147)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course introduces the topic of circular economy (CE) by establishing a set of principles which embody the distinctive vision and approach of CE and how it differentiates from the current 'take-make-dispose' economic and business models. The course will cover the core concepts of a circular economy: definitions, philosophy, principles, history and future opportunities.
Course description The circular economy is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. It is a framework that invites businesses, industries, cities, and countries to transform their approach to the use of resources and materials and build a framework that is restorative and regenerative by design. The ultimate goal of CE is to shift away from over-consumption towards a greater recognition of the need for responsible use of natural and technical resources. Both applied and theoretical approaches to the topic will be discussed. This course will give you a foundation for addressing the climate crisis and resource management from a perspective that can help businesses, communities, and governments to:

- Finding new ways to reduce global demand on natural resources.
- Maximise resource productivity.
- Keep materials, components and products circulating for as long as possible while enhancing or maintaining value.

You will be introduced to CE applications from micro (individual products or businesses) to macro (city or country) levels, and given an overview of circular business models (which will be explored more in-depth in core course Circular Economy and Business). The topic will be examined from multiple perspectives including the technologies, materials, policies, behaviours, global practices and theories involved in creating a circular economy, and then linked to the issues of the climate crisis. The lecture materials, reading/listening materials, discussions will be grouped around these key topics:

- Foundations of a circular economy: the history, theories, context, and principles behind the concept.
- Introduction to circular business models.
- Policies & society: a look at how government policies and societal impacts of consumption can be transformed.
- Exploring notions of 'value' and how this is represented by individuals, communities, societies and economies.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - On-Site Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities.

Students should be aware that:

- Classrooms used in this course will have additional technology in place: students might not be able to sit in areas away from microphones or outside the field of view of all cameras.

- Unless the lecturer or tutor indicates otherwise you should assume the session is being recorded.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 12, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2, Other Study Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 82 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study: Scheduled Group-work Hours (hybrid online/on-campus) - 2
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Peer comments/feedback on each other's blog post will be encouraged to give students a wide range of perspectives and reflections on the blog post questions.

Formative feedback will be given during post-intensive via email for students that want to receive feedback about their topic choice for Assessment 2. Students are to provide no more than 3 - 4 bullet points about their choice/case study examples. Feedback must be requested no later than Week 4.

Summative Feedback will be provided for both assessments.
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 micro (individual businesses) to macro (large governments) applications.
  2. Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the societal and political landscapes in which a circular economy could operate.
  3. Be able to develop original and creative responses to problems and issues related to implementing a circular economy.
Reading List

Jensen, H.H. (2022) 'Five circular economy business models for competitive advantage. World Economic Forum, Centre for Nature and Climate.'

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2019) 'Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change'.

Lacy, P. et. al (2020) Selected chapters from: The Circular Economy Handbook: Realising the Circular Advantage.

Stahel, Walter (2019) Select Chapters from: The Circular Economy: A User's Guide. Routledge.

WATCH: 'The Performance Economy' (2018) Disruption Innovation Festival, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.


Selected chapters from: Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption: Towards the Circular Economy. Eds. Crocker, R. et. al. (2018) Emerald Publishing Limited. DOI: 10.1108/978-1-78714-619-820181009

Circle Economy (2022) 'The Circularity Gap Report 2022'. Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE).

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2019) Recycling and the Circular Economy: What's the Difference?

World Economic Forum (2019) 'Harnessing 4th Industrial Revolution for the Circular Economy: Consumer Electronics & Plastics Packaging'.

Velis, C. (2017) 'Editorial: Waste pickers in Global South, Informal recycling sector in a circular economy era.' Waste Management & Research Vol. 35(4) 329-331.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research & Enquiry (Independent Research):
- Conduct research and enquiry into relevant circular economy issues through the collection of qualitative data, synthesising and reporting (in shared digital archive).

Personal Effectiveness (Team Working):
- An ability to work collaboratively with people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.

Research & Enquiry (Problem Solving):
- Identify and evaluate circular economy models and CE opportunities in order to solve complex problems.

Communication (Written):
- Be able to communicate complex circular economy ideas and arguments in writing using a range of media from formal writing (essay) to social media (blog post).

Personal Effectiveness (Enterprise):
- Have inventive thinking-.adaptability, managing complexity and self-direction.
KeywordsEFI,Level 11,PG,Circular Economy,Value,Circular Models
Course organiserMs Toni Freitas
Course secretaryMiss Veronica Silvestre
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