Educating Engineers for the Circular Economy

Veronica Sanchez Romaguera, Helen Dobson, Charles Bland Tomkinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The idea of the Circular Economy is underpinned by systems approaches to the complex issues of sustainability. This requires the adoption of innovative approaches in educating engineering students to take their place in the economy of the future, incorporating systems thinking and collaboration skills. The approach developed, and still developing, in Manchester towards issues of educating engineers for global societal responsibility lends itself well to the embedding of ideas brought together under the heading of ‘Circular Economy’. Some of the basic precepts are not new and build on ideas already incorporated in the curriculum, but the dilemma-based approach lends itself to building confidence in tackling complex issues in a multi-disciplinary context where shared understanding is essential to build trust and avoid vulnerability to a lack of flexibility in other parts of the system. This holistic, systemic approach is a vital component of a number of course units in Manchester and the ideas of the circular economy are increasingly becoming embedded in the scenarios that form the basis of skills development and knowledge attainment.
This paper will describe the approach being taken in selected course units in Manchester and their relevance to the wider context, particularly in the context of ideas being developed elsewhere. This will include examples of how the concept is elucidated in practice. The evaluation will include feedback from students on the extent to which this approach has aided their understanding of the processes and practices of the circular economy, together with their ideas about the barriers posed by using the phrase ‘circular economy’ when dealing with engineers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings to the 8th International Conference in Engineering Education for Sustainable Development, 4th-7th September 2016, Bruges, Belgium
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event8th Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development - HOWest, Bruges, Belgium
Duration: 4 Sep 20167 Sep 2016


Conference8th Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development
Abbreviated titleEESD2016


  • Engineering Education, Circular Economy, Inter-disciplinary education


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