Circular Economy

Addressing the education needs towards a more Circular Economy

When considering the circular economy diagram published by the EU parliament[1], the main challenges to be met can be listed as:

-   Feeding the loop (exploration and mining);

-   Optimizing the loop (process engineering and product design);

-   Slowing down the loop (consumer behavior, reuse and repair);

-   Closing the loop (collection, dismantling, recycling).

As this covers the whole lifecycle of a product from resource exploration to end-of-life, it would clearly not make sense to try to force all the challenges within a single educational program. The recommended approach, as explained by Pirard and Greberg[2], is to privilege a T-shaped education, meaning precisely that graduates should have: “A deep understanding of their own discipline while keeping a broad and holistic view of the circular economy paradigm”.

The four challenges of a more Circular Economy

The four challenges of a more Circular Economy

This philosophy has been at the core of the EMerald program since its very beginning. It is the unique signature of EMerald to bridge the gap between geological exploration and mineral processing by offering innovative education in geo-metallurgy (geo=earth). It is also the firm conviction of the consortium partners that this must be pursued (the upstream track). However, when considering the circular economy paradigm, it is also obvious that the rapidly developing urban mining sector in Europe needs a similar curriculum in eco-metallurgy (eco=home). The ambition here is to help close the loop in a resource-efficient way by forming professionals who know the processing challenges and the need to meet targets in terms of recyclability (the downstream track).
Therefore, based on these needs-analysis in the raw material sector, the new EMerald program has been implemented in order to offer a specialization during the second year in primary resources (LTU) or in secondary resources (TUBAF).


[2] Pirard E. and Greberg J., 2016, The materials lifecycle : A steering wheel for Europe's Raw Materials Academy, TMS Supplementral Proceedings Nashville (