The days when a household appliance would break one week after the expiry of the warranty and its owner, having considered the repair costs, would be “forced” to purchase a new one may hopefully be over in a very foreseeable future. In recent months developed countries have started to adopt legislation on the right to repair, and manufactures are becoming increasingly serious about the concept of circular economy. In spite of its drawbacks the data available shows that the closing of linear economy into the symbolical circle can lead to significant savings, reduction of CO2 emissions and the creation of over 500,000 new jobs in Europe alone. Over the next four years Masaryk University will be the principal coordinator of international efforts to develop its full potential.
Sustainable circular future
In late July the European Commission green-lighted Masaryk University’s project DiMiC –Digitalised Value Management for Unlocking the potential of the Circular Manufacturing Systems with Integrated Digital Solutions aimed at the development of circular economy processes using state-of-the-art technologies, such as IoT, machine learning or augmented reality. The project coordinator of the four year programme with budget of almost EUR 6 million (almost CZK 150 million) is Alena Klapalová from the Department of Corporate Economy of the Faculty of Economics and Administration.
“As long as all goals of the project are achieved, we will have a digital platform enabling and facilitating the management of information pertaining to the entire lifecycle of products for all members of the supply chain,” Alena Klapalová says. “The platform and the digital solution will also enable and facilitate the activities which guarantee the retention of product value. This is one of the key objectives of circular economy; however, many fields and most large corporations have not been successful in achieving it as they operate in the conventional linear system. The project aims to show that there are other ways of making profit other than through simple production, distribution and sale of product, including, among other things, thanks to the use of digital technologies.”
Even though Masaryk University succeeded in the past as a coordinator of a variety of schemes within the framework programme for research and innovations Horizon 2020 (or Horizon Europe), the current project is truly a magnificent achievement. For the first time in history a particular faculty has become a project coordinator of a Europe-wide RIA scheme (Research and Innovation Actions). Economists from Masaryk University will coordinate an international consortium of twelve members including leading research facilities (e.g. the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm or the Chemnitz University of Technology) or industry partners (Gorenje, Lexmark etc.).
“It is one of the most significant projects the Faculty of Economics and Administration has ever managed. It shows the great potential of our faculties to participate in prestigious research schemes, even in these roles. More importantly, Masaryk University has a lot to contribute to national or global discourses on current pressing issues, such as circular economy. Cooperation with leading research organisations and key industry partners is also a significant aspect, as it can contribute to the implementation of research outcomes in the day-to-day life of the European society,” says Masaryk University Rector Martin Bareš.