Circular Economy

Better management and living in cycles – Transformation potential of the circular economy
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The management of the earth’s natural resources is a key issue for humanity. In all sectors, be it energy, land or raw materials, the use of natural resources far exceeds the earth’s regenerative capacity. In addition to the growing global extraction of raw materials, technological trends such as digitalization and miniaturization are also rapidly increasing the diversity of elements and substances in products (e.g. in composite materials), making them more difficult to recover and reuse. In addition, the demand for raw materials for important future fields such as the energy and transport turnaround is considerably higher than current consumption for some elements. At the same time, global questions of social justice arise, because raw materials are often mined under very problematic social and environmental conditions in countries that profit little from the value added and, not least, have to bear the burdens of the globally increasing quantities of electronic waste, plastic waste, etc. For these and other reasons, the careful and efficient use of resources and the establishment of appropriate organizational and infrastructures is a core task for present and future generations. Currently, an alternative to the conventional linear “take – make – waste” is being discussed that promises a comprehensive solution: the Circular Economy.

Against this background, the German Federal Foundation for the Environment is planning to fund an inter- and transdisciplinary doctoral program for research, development, innovation and transformation in the field of the Circular Economy as part of its doctoral scholarship program.


In the college, challenges of a circular economy were addressed throughout the life cycle of products and for a sustainable economic system. This applies in particular to questions from the social sciences, humanities, law, economics and the arts, but also from technical, mathematical and natural science disciplines.

Applicants are free to choose their individual topics. A balanced interdisciplinary cohort should be ensured. Furthermore, an orientation towards an active exchange with practice in the sense of transdisciplinary research is desired.

Doctoral Scholarships

The DBU would like to establish an inter- and transdisciplinary location-independent doctoral program on the transformation potential of the Circular Economy. Between 10 and 15 doctoral fellowships are to be awarded. The general conditions of the DBU doctoral scholarship program apply to the awarding of scholarships.

Information material on the Circular Economy scholarship focus

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