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New national Circular Economy Hub to provide leadership in UK bid to create a sustainable future

We are pleased to welcome you to the new National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research Hub (CE-Hub) led by the University of Exeter.  This hub is supported with £3.5 million from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to lead national efforts to create a sustainable, circular economy where fewer resources are used and more waste materials reused – delivering huge benefits to the environment and UK economy.

The CE-Hub will work with the five Circular Economy Centres (CE Centres) which were recently announced to explore how reusing waste materials in a wide range of industries (including textiles, construction, chemical and metals) could boost the UK economy, as well as deliver massive environmental benefits. Thus providing national leadership to facilitate the exchange of knowledge across the five centres and with the UK’s wider research and innovation landscape.

Together the hub and five centres form part of the £30 million UKRI NICER programme to move the UK towards a circular economy. In a circular economy waste from products and materials are reused, repaired or recycled to extend their lifecycle. In this way, the use of raw materials and waste put into the environment reduced.

The CE-Hub will be led by Professor Peter Hopkinson and Professor Fiona Charnley of the University of Exeter Business School.

Professor Charnley said: “The Circular Economy Hub and wider programme provides a unique and timely opportunity to coordinate and accelerate interdisciplinary circular economy research at a national scale, positioning the UK as thought-leaders in this growing field.

“As a country, we need to radically change how we use resources and by bringing together and harnessing expertise from academia, business and government we can enable that transformation.”

Professor Hopkinson added: “We need a complete system redesign of how resources are used. The plastics economy, to give an example, has evolved over the last 50 years – we can’t wait that long to build a better system, which will only be possible if all stakeholders are pulling in the same direction.”

The CE Hub will develop and deliver the UK’s first national circular economy observatory, which will improve the provision and quality of data, providing a source of evidence for the UK’s road map towards a circular economy.

It will create a dynamic platform of national research, knowledge and tools to inform new research, policy and industry solutions, facilitating collaboration across a wide range of sectors and strengthening a UK-wide community dedicated to delivering a circular economy.

Further Information

The CE-Hub forms part of the £30 million UKRI Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research Programme (NICER), funded by the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund, and delivered by:

Arts and Humanities Research Council
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Economic and Social Research Council
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Natural Environment Research Council
Innovate UK and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In addition to the CE-Hub, UKRI is funding five £4.5 million interdisciplinary centres and providing £2.5 million of funding to enable small and medium enterprise involvement with the centres.