Circular Economy Innovation Network
The Circular Economy Innovation Network aims to enable stronger, more resilient industries working together, connecting, collaborating, and sharing experiences to achieve Net Zero through circular innovation.
About the network
In the UK most of what we use and consume flows through a take, make, waste economy. By contrast in a Circular Economy products or their component parts are returned or processed so they can be repaired for reuse, resold, refurbished or remanufactured, or reduced to composite elements for recycling.
Material flows in a circular supply chain focus on retaining the value of materials at the highest value for the longest time, i.e. extending the lifecycle of a product: instead of just recycling the material or sending it to a landfill, an item is returned to begin a new journey in the supply chain. A Circular Economy supply chain can help ameliorate the upfront investments made in carbon, energy, water, chemicals, labour, money etc. by designing out waste from the outset.
By adopting a Circular Economy framework and building collaborative communities aligned to three key principles: Circular Design, Circular Business Models, and Circular Recovery; we aim to inspire industry members to come together to reduce environmental impact and achieve Net Zero goals through circular innovation.
Circular Economy focus areas
From choosing the material type, considering the way products and services interact with people and systems through to end-of-life disposal, Design is a critically important pillar of Circular Economy systems.
Circular Business Models
By taking into account how materials & products move around the economy or how an organisation creates and delivers value to a wide range of stakeholders while eliminating waste and environmental damage, Circular Business Models can offer new commercial opportunities.
Focusing on retaining every asset possible across the value chains and the procurement processes to reduce the amount of new feedstocks needed can result in reduced expense and increased risk mitigation in the supply chains.
Working Together to Find Solutions
Research shows specialist collaborations produce results that wouldn’t be possible when people think and work in isolation. We are focused on three Challenge Communities: Wool, Aluminium, and Chemicals; which will convene and consult across the value chain to co-create a Circular Innovation Action Plan for each of the sectors. These Action Plans will identify the key barriers preventing progress towards Net Zero and highlight how Innovation for a Circular Economy can help overcome these barriers.
As part of this process, each of the cross-sector communities will agree on two challenges they want to tackle together. We will seek potential solutions and broker new relationships and collaborations between established industries, innovators and academia, for example, by using our Innovation Exchange, or the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships platforms.
These and other IUK KTN Programmes can facilitate these relationships, matching the right businesses and institutions to work together. Engaging in the Circular Economy Innovation Network could help you and your business build knowledge in this important area, access research teams and strengthen connections across sectors to maximise the benefits, economic, environmental and societal, for everyone.
Transforming Industrial Waste Gases to Chemicals
This plan sets out a vision for using CO/CO2 in the manufacture of higher-value chemicals to support a circular carbon future. It aims to create a chemical sector and associated supply chains that can thrive in a circular, net zero world and promote the existing and emerging technologies to benefit the chemicals supply chain in the UK.
Wool Innovation Action Plan
Our Wool Innovation Community action plan sets out the aims and vision for this natural, and often undervalued resource, to be appreciated as a smart technical fibre which can be used in many industries to reduce reliance on oil-based products.
Aluminium in a Circular Economy
This action plan aims to outline the key interventions for the aluminium sector to accelerate the adoption of circular economy principles and identify stakeholder groups to lead on the specific actions.
Design Foundations: Repairability
Opens: 30/10/2023 Closes: 10/01/2024
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £2m for people centred and systemic design projects to inform and de-risk future R&D activity.
Canada-UK Critical Minerals: Sustainability and Circularity
Opens: 20/11/2023 Closes: 03/04/2024
UK registered organisations and Canadian SMEs can apply for a share of up to £5.4m for joint R&D projects on circularity in critical minerals.
Launchpad: net zero industry, South West Wales
Opens: 30/10/2023 Closes: 13/12/2023
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £2 million for projects in the net zero industrial cluster in South West Wales.
Related Events and Recordings
Circular Economy Innovation Network – Taking action towards circularity in aluminium
10.00 - 11.45 | Online
Wool in Construction: A Smart Technical Fibre
10.00 - 11.15 | Online
Transforming industrial waste gases (CO/CO2) to chemicals
10.00 - 12.15 | Online
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Join the Circular Economy Innovation Network
If you would like to take part in the discussion and be kept updated of our activities, grants and funding opportunities, join our Community.