The Circular Economy Research Center (CERC), leveraging on its research capacity acknowledged the strong gap between the skills required for the transition to the circular economy and the current available skills, embarked on an educational journey to enhance the collective efforts to hedge this gap. This journey also serves the purpose of responding to the initiative of the European commission “Pact of skills” launched on the 10th of November under the European Skills Agenda aiming at upskilling and reskilling the workforce in Europe. Concretely, in one of its EU funded research projects entitled CE-IoT, CERC, has proposed the establishment of Research-Based Spin-Offs (RBSOs) as they can serve as a potential mechanism for technology transfer by commercializing academic research and thereby stimulate industrial innovation. RBSOs can play an important role as technology transfer agents by converting scientific knowledge and inventions into new innovative products and services in the emerging Circular Economy marketplace. In this respect and in line with our proclamations and commitments in the domain of education, Circular Economy Alliance (CEA) emerged as an RBSO with the goal of providing research driven skills and education on multiple levels and domains of Circular Economy with the aim of educating the existing workforce and facilitate the efforts required for the transition.
The offering through the Circular Economy Alliance (CEA) will be highly and dedicatedly be supporting the shift to Circular Economy by offering continuous knowledge, education, and awareness in a systematic and repetitive manner. Greenwashing it is a considerable weakness in the transitioning effort to circular economy therefore credible, data and research driven knowledge need to be continuously and systematically be created and infused in the society and the market.
Circular Economy Alliance (CEA) serving as an RBSOs of an established research center dedicated to Circular Economy will in continuous loops be fed with incremental researched based updates on key evolutions in the domain which can then be making available in the market. Moreover, (CEA) will also be serving a very important dual role. The downstream role which is reskilling and up-skilling the workforce thus enhancing considerably its employability and the upstream role which is the collection of requirements and needs to be fed in the research cycle for solutions to be investigated.
Furthermore, the work and mission of CEA will be highly focusing on the education of the youth as well, due to a strong belief that they are the generation that will induce substantial impact in this transition and maintain the balance of the entire ecosystem in the future. Moreover, the methodical and structured engagement of youth in this journey right on the onset of their first education step can considerably generate the necessary empowerment for change.
The solution put forward by CERC and CEA offers a number of innovations that is as a “game -changer “in the domain. First and foremost, Circular economy alliance (CEA) is introducing a niche body of knowledge which is a unique research driven approach to support the efforts of employers, employees, and job seekers both at the private and the public sector to ensure that the workforce will be equipped with the right skills and strong level of knowledge to support the transition. The knowledge generated is directly linked and connected with cutting edge research thus offering a unique and dynamic model of continuous content development which will not suffer from static or slow loops of knowledge generation. Reflecting on the fact that a considerable amount of this knowledge is research driven generated through EU funded projects, it substantially includes and take stock of policy developments within the EU spectrum. (EU Green Deal, Circular Economy Action Plan, Pact for Skills). Last but not least, the body of knowledge is targeted to both individuals and structured establishments (i.e corporates, public entities) thus covering the full cycle of those agents of change.