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The Project

The Concept

Circular Economy (CE) aims to transform the current scheme of production, consumption as well as the resources and the waste management that derived from upstream and downstream activities. Several recent theories have tried to describe the possible schemes of CE, integrating economic, social and environmental imperatives, such as regenerative design, performance economy, cradle to cradle, biomimicry, blue economy or pulsing cycles.

  • At the micro level, the major initiatives concern cleaner production, including eco-design, pollution prevention and toxic materials use reduction.
  • At the meso level (e.g. Eco-industrial Parks), the main developments concern efforts in industrial symbiosis, through the setting up of closed loops enabling by-products exchanges between industries within a near perimeter, often from different sectors of activities, the minimization of waste and the improvement of eco-efficiency.
  • At the macro level (i.e. cities/province/regions), CE is already engaged in the form of collaborative consumption models (sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting) based on using services rather than products.

FUTURING will follow an overall methodology starting from a baseline vision of EU re-industrialization in the circular economy. FUTURING will create the framework on which the analysis and policy recommendation work will build upon. This vision focuses on the potential of reindustrialization in Europe, for areas where circular economy can provide a business case. The second step of the methodology is the evidence-based analysis and benchmarking. This will assess and provide understanding on the parameters of decision-making for investment and the general framework conditions under which circular economy can provide cases for re-industrialization. Further to that, the areas with business case potential in circular economy will be analysed and benchmarked using quantitative-based survey methods. The third and final step is to develop the concrete evidence-based policy recommendations, as a culmination of all the results to be delivered by FUTURING.







FUTURING will follow a strong evidence-based approach for developing policy recommendations towards the definition of the vision of EU re-industrialisation. The vision will be supported by the four following project action lines:

  1. To set a baseline on common understanding of the current description of re-industrialization and expansion of industry in the circular economy based on the definition of relevant building blocks (science/technology, market/economy, humans/society, sustainability, finance/organization, regulation/incentive etc.) and pillar actions applying for analysis;
  2. To identify and analyse the current enablers and barriers to support re-industrialization based on EU project coordinators and industrial partners feedbacks, keeping an eye on better understanding the impact of R&I policy on industrial innovation and investments, growth and jobs;
  3. To benchmark specific targeted cases to better understand the framework conditions, the high priority areas and the opportunities for key technologies in the future;
  4. To produce evidence-based orientation and key recommendations to improve the eco-system around advanced production technologies as well as to identify appropriate policy and public actions to further foster private investment into industry and manufacturing.




Expected Impact

Europe’s competitive position, in key enabling technologies, will be strengthened through a series of identification, benchmarking, analyses and policy development results aiming on innovation upscaling from existing technologies to market exploitation and new investment for industry and SMEs. FUTURING will have a European-wide and cross-sectorial impact, through the consideration of the whole ecosystem in any direction, i.e. from large industry to SMEs, from advanced production technologies to nano-technologies and materials, from technological research to financial and regulatory frameworks and from pan-European initiatives to national and regional activities.

Expected impacts from the implementation of FUTURING policy recommendations will concern 3 areas:

  • Economic:
    • European GDP could increase as much as 11% by 2030 and 17% by 2050, compared with 4% and 15% in current development scenario;
    • The annual net material costs savings opportunity amounts in EU could reach up to 630Md$;
  • Societal:
    • New jobs will be created in waste and recycling sectors, as well as in upgrade, repair, re-manufacturing activities.
  • Environmental:
    • Reduce by almost 50% the carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 across mobility, food systems, and the built environment, or more than 80% by 2050 ;
    • Reduce primary material consumption by 32% by 2030 and 53% by 2050;

 The policy recommendations of FUTURING will be derived from a cross-synthesis of the EU action plan with the best practices, evolutions of the eco-system reported by the field analysis in FUTURING, with a strong focus in public-private investments in European manufacturing industry around the KETs, that must target a better sustainability, from an environment, social and economic point of view.

Finally, a timetable will be proposed in order to set three levels of priorities: very short term (2017), short term (2018-2020), and middle term (2020-2025).


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement  No 723633.