Cranfield University has launched the world’s first MSc course in the Circular Economy. The new part-time executive MSc course, Technology, Innovation and Management for a Circular Economy, was launched at Resource, the leading resource efficiency event, in London today.

The course combines Cranfield University’s strengths across technology and management. It fuses expertise in engineering, logistics and environmental sciences with world-leading programmes in business and finance. 

A circular economy aims to increasingly decouple production from the consumption of finite resources, and emphasises keeping products and materials at their highest value and utility, at all times. The course will focus on how business can be restorative and regenerative – rather than the ‘take, make, dispose’ model traditionally followed. 

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, said:

“Cranfield has been leading thinking in the circular economy through our research on sustainable design and corporate responsibility for some time. We are already one of six circular economy ‘Pioneer Universities’ in the world, working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and we have hosted successful summer schools and hackathons with businesses exploring the potential of this area. The MSc in Technology, Innovation and Management for a Circular Economy will allow us to contribute substantially to making this an industrial reality.” 

Themes which students on the course will explore include new economic models which make the most of existing assets, being demonstrated by companies such as Airbnb which has built a $10 billion business based on using unused rooms, and General Motors which has reduced material use by 90% by remanufacturing used components.

The MSc course draws on the expertise of the circular economy thought-leader the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose team has worked closely with experts at Cranfield’s Centre for Creative Competitive Design to develop the course.  Through Cranfield University’s membership of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Pioneer University network, students on the course will benefit from contributions by leading businesses that are collaborating on circular economy innovation. 

Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said:

“The circular economy is emerging as the new paradigm for a system that can work in the long term. In order to achieve its full potential, it needs solid skills-building programmes and the involvement of leading international universities. The executive Masters course demonstrates Cranfield’s commitment to providing the right multi-disciplinary environment, in order to help accelerate the transition to this restorative and regenerative economic model.”

Dr Fiona Charnley, convenor of the MSc course at Cranfield, said:

“The world of business has shifted dramatically. The circular economy is widely regarded as the most dominant trend for environmentally responsible and innovative businesses. This unique postgraduate level course will help ambitious industrial professionals to accelerate this change through system-level understanding and application.”

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.