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Towards a circular economy

03 February 2020

The new book Samen kennis en innovaties ontwikkelen: towards a circular economy (‘Developing knowledge and innovations together: towards a circular economy’) explores the transition to a circular economy. How can you stimulate people to behave in an environmentally-friendly manner? And which innovations can we develop to recycle waste products? It also takes a close look at the societal challenges of circularity.

The UG launched the book on 3 February during a visit made by the Minister for the Environment and Housing, Stientje van Veldhoven, to Campus Fryslân. The visit was part of the national week of the circular economy. The Minister was presented with the first copy of the book by Prof. Iris Vis (Dean of Industry Relations) and Prof. Gjalt de Jong (Professor of Sustainable Entrepreneurship in a Circular Economy and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Entrepreneurship (CSE) at the UG). Iris Vis: ‘Recycling products, components and raw materials, with scarcely any waste and a minimum of CO2 emissions, is gradually becoming standard practice. We are already on our way towards a circular economy. But the transition to this economy is obviously raising a lot of questions. For example: how can we persuade people to make more sustainable choices? How can we recycle waste products efficiently? Questions like this require a joint approach. The UG is turning to industry, non-profit organizations, knowledge and teaching institutions, government bodies and citizens to help answer these questions. This is the best way to make the Netherlands more innovative and increase societal impact.’

Prof. Iris Vis and Minister van Veldhoven
Prof. Iris Vis and Minister van Veldhoven


The Minister’s visit was part of a wider programme taking place in Friesland that day. It was organized and coordinated by the Province of Friesland and the Circular Friesland Association. De Jong was involved in organizing the Minister’s visit and is proud of this milestone: ‘Here in Friesland, we have put the circular economy into practice. The Frisian business sector, Frisian local government and our own students and researchers have teamed up to turn sustainable enterprise in a circular economy into a huge success.’ The Industry Relations team of the UG forms a link between the University and external parties. Formulating common goals is an important step. The partners then translate the goals into sustainable cooperation programmes.

Book packed with scientific theory and societal practice

The portfolio book goes into great detail about the societal impact of Campus Fryslân and the CSE on the transition to circularity. It also focuses on three societal challenges involved in the transition. First, the social, human side, with an emphasis on acceptance and participation. The research being conducted by Prof. Linda Steg and Nadja Zeiske into understanding, predicting and encouraging environmentally- friendly behaviour is a good example of this. The second focus is the preconditions for the transition, such as legislation and education. In this respect, Dr Rosalie Koolhoven is researching the effect of legislation on online sharing platforms. Finally, the book explores the innovative side of circularity. A good example of this is Prof. Erik Heeres’ research into producing biofuel from residual waste.

You can download the book Samen kennis en innovaties ontwikkelen: towards a circular economy or request a copy via In 2018, the UG presented two earlier editions in this book series. They focused on the topics of digital society and big data. If you are interested in working with Industry Relations in the area of the circular economy or another societal theme, you can contact them via the email address shown above.

Last modified:14 February 2020 4.49 p.m.
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