CIRCLES - Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Education in Circular Economy and Sustainability

Organization profile

Organisation profile

Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Education in Circular Economy and Sustainability (CIRCLES) is an interdisciplinary research centre focusing on circular economy and sustainable development. It combines research across natural science, humanities, social science and technical sciences.


Roskilde University has a strategic aim to conduct research and offer educational programs contributing to fulfilling the seventeen global goals for sustainable development as initiated by the United Nations.

In order to fully commit to this strategic aim Roskilde University has intensified interdisciplinary collaboration through facilitating closer integration and synergy between natural science, humanities, social science and technology. The university holds a unique position by working across a broad spectrum of highly relevant research areas, educational aspects and having established collaboration with a range of external stakeholders like NGOs, private companies, universities and public institutions. CIRCLES demonstrates the strengths of interdisciplinarity and intersectoral collaboration on a local, national and international level.

The purpose of CIRCLES is to strengthen:

  • Interdisciplinary research and education
  • Communication and mobilization to challenge existing narratives
  • Innovation and implementation of new economic models and solutions for production starting from key concepts as circular economy and sustainable design
  • Further  external funding for research projects


CIRCLES focuses on circular economy and sustainable development by not only looking for solutions based on single technologies but on systemic change and innovation at different levels in society and across sectors.

Following the European Commission (2014)[1] CIRCLES understands the circular economy as an economic system with a closed-loop material cycle: “Circular economy systems keep the added value in products for as long as possible and eliminate waste. They keep resources within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, so that they can be productively used again and again and hence create further value”.

The circular economy approach focuses on four main aspects:

  1. Material flows and environmental impacts associated with these flows through the economy
  2. The economy related to these flows and the economic implications on value chains and business models
  3. Governance perspectives at different levels including international, national, regional and local levels and across policy fields
  4. Collaboration with relevant stakeholders such as private companies, NGOs, public institutions at different levels and international research communities

The framework of the Sustainable Development Goals implies an ambitious need for interdisciplinary research in order to understand interrelated ecological, social, human and economic challenges and in moving towards a resolution of these challenges. CIRCLES aims to connect strong research across fields and disciplines in the application of transdisciplinary approaches to these challenges.

[1] European Commission. 2014. Towards the Circular Economy – A zero waste programme for Europe. Brussels 25.9.2014

Publication network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2009 2021

Introduction to Human Resource Management for Social Sciences

Neisig, M. (ed.), 2021, (In preparation) Hans Reitzels Forlag.

Research output: Book/ReportAnthologyResearchpeer-review

A polycentric network forming digital competencies for the future: Construction of a competency model through engaged scholarship informed by social system theory and design thinking

Neisig, M. & Hansen, U. K., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Human & Technological Resource Management (HTRM) : New Insights into Revolution 4.0. Kumar, P., Agrawal, A. & Budhwar, P. (eds.). Emerald Group Publishing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Projects 2018 2023

Activities 2014 2019

Environment and Planning A (Journal)

Thomas Skou Grindsted (Editor)
3 Sep 201924 Sep 2019

Activity: Editorial work and peer reviewPeer review of manuscriptsResearch

The Role of Universities at a Time of Climate Emergency

Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen (Participant), Gregers Andersen (Organizer)
3 Dec 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conference

SIG: Læring i laboratorie- og feltarbejde

Thomas Skou Grindsted (Participant)
19 Nov 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Press / Media

Geography i practise

Thomas Skou Grindsted & Thomas Theis Nielsen


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media


Matias Thuen Jørgensen


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Kronik: Der er grund til optimisme over kinesiske turister

Matias Thuen Jørgensen


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media


Departmental acknowledgement

Christine Revsbech Jensen (Recipient), Jul 2019

Prize: Prizes, scholarships, distinctions

Departmental acknowledgement

Christine Revsbech Jensen (Recipient), Jul 2017

Prize: Prizes, scholarships, distinctions

Hal Koch prisen

Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen (Recipient), Gregers Andersen (Recipient) & Jens Friis Lund (Recipient), 2018

Prize: Prizes, scholarships, distinctions