Contact Tobias Widmer


As a trained mechanical engineer, Tobias spent 10 years in specialised manufacturing firms for niche markets (sanding technologies, metal coating, and dairy processing) in his home country of Switzerland.  His industry expertise lies in mechanical and process engineering, project management, and team leadership.  Tobias holds a BSc in Engineering and Management and an MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management.

Research opportunities

Primary Supervisor:  Professor Michael Bourlakis

Secondary Supervisor/s: Professor Emel Aktas & Professor Daniel Prior

Tobias is part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks on Circular Economy which was established in 2016.  With 15 PhD posts spread across Europe, the project purpose is to investigate different aspects of Product-Service Systems (PSS) of which the 2 posts at Cranfield focus on the Supply Chain aspect of it.

The main purpose of the research is to identify and develop best practices and operational strategies to maximise the retained value of servitised products in the context of a circular economy. 

Sector: supply chain management within product-service systems

Research Methods: case study analysis and agent-based modelling

Why I Chose Cranfield:  I am a fascinated by the possibilities the future holds. Combining new technologies with disruptive business models to create an economy which can both grow but reduce the amount of raw material consumed is one of the great challenges of the near future.

My MSc thesis “Assessing the strengths and limitations of Business Model Frameworks for Product Service Systems in the Circular Economy: Why Canvas and co. are not enough.” pointed me the direction to a high potential area of working, the servitization of goods. I joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for some time and first got in touch with Cranfield as one of the Pioneer Universities of Circular Economy. Having the chance to work in the field of my choice in an university which is highly respected for its work in supply chain management made a choice for me easy.

As many argue, the shift to a regenerative, circular economy has to be industry-driven, and this is where Cranfield can add significant value with its network and closeness to business.

Don't forget: There are no passengers on spaceship earth.  We are all crew. (Marshall McLuhan)

Current activities

Tobias is currently employed as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher at Cranfield School of Management and working towards a PhD in Leadership and Management.  He is funded by the Circular European Economy Innovative Training Network Circ€uit (H2020-MSCA Grant Agreement Number 721909).  Circ€uit is a Pan-European consortium bringing together partners from public and private sectors, aimed at identifying ways to overcome the challenges occurring in the transition to a circular economy.  Tobias' research is supervised by Professor Michael Bourlakis, Professor Emel Aktas and Professor Daniel Prior.