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Circular Design project. Circular Economy education for the Design Community
Design has a key role to play in developing innovative solutions to current challenges – approaches that must consider the needs of end users and integrate sustainability criteria in processes and strategies for creating products and services.
The Circular Design Project is a European project funded by Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance within the social business and the educational innovation field., this initiative enhances the creation and consumption of sustainable products and services, aligned with European Circular Economy policies.
The goal of this Circular Design project is to promote sustainable production and consumption of products and services in Europe. The project have four objectives: to increase and improve the learning strategies of Design for Sustainability, identifying opportunities for sustainably designed products and services as well as business opportunities in both higher education institutions and industries in Europe; To gather and cluster open educational resources and training courses for industry staff and academics in Innovative Design for Sustainability; To train up innovative and entrepreneurial designers who are capable of dealing with a transition towards Design for Sustainability as a mainstream design approach, as well as to promote cooperation and mobility with the EU’s partner countries; and to establish a basis for a permanent and active European Network of Design for Sustainability.
This was achieved through a knowledge co-creation process and the development and pilot training materials in order to teach and train students, faculty and enterprise staff of the design sector.
The project formed by 12 partners is organised around four country hubs in Ireland, The Netherlands, Catalonia and Sweden. Each country Hub consists of one university with education and research in Sustainable Design, one Design company with expertise in sustainable Design and one national design association. The project will finish in this October, but at this point some results should be highlighted:
- The Open Educational Resources database (http://circulardesigneurope.eu/oer/) where resources in Circular design are clustered in three taxonomies: Categories (First-timers; Practitioners), Level (Beginner; Intermediate; Advanced) and Tags (calculator; report; …).
- The Best Practice Publication, shows the whole design process, materials, challenges, problems and other key issues of Circular Design case studies within sectors like technology, furniture, clothing, lighting or packaging, to demonstrate that circular design strategies can be applied to improve the efficiency of almost every system.
- Four international one semester internships for undergraduate design students in the four universities involved in the project with the participation of 12 companies and 48 students.
- The Circular Design Digital Fabrication Lab Handbook to introduce students, partner, companies and academics to the open-source, participatory, experimental and design & build approach within digital fabrication labs.
- The co-creation of a professional development course in circular design that will be soon available to all the design community.
The project has been recognized as a best practice on the occasion of the World Environment Day, by Barcelona City Council. This recognition reinforces the project’s mission.