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Analysing a Sustainable Business Model for a Circular Economy Environment.

   Faculty of Engineering and Informatics

About the Project

This project involves developing a methodology for analysing and modelling more sustainable business models for organisations (offering both products and services) and which are seeking to take advantage of a dynamic circular economy environment. Such business models also need to consider key inter-organisational relationships within their supply chains. A System Dynamics modelling approach will be applied. Thus, the business model should include a long-term strategic circular economy perspective with extended life cycles for products and/or services.

System Dynamics is a modelling technique that allows understanding the behaviour of a complex system along time. Thus, System Dynamics can help to identify the key elements or factors of a complex system, to quantify the causal relationships among the elements of the system and to analyse their influence on the overall behaviour of the system. In this way, System Dynamics allows to simulate different scenarios of the behaviour of the system under study.

Therefore, the aim of this PhD research project is to develop a methodology to apply the System Dynamics modelling methodology to analyse a sustainable business model for the circular economy. The specific business model to develop as part of this PhD project will be defined based on the background, experience and expertise of the PhD candidate, and with the support of the supervisor. The PhD candidate should have a relevant engineering background, preferably with knowledge or experience in operations and/or supply chain management. This could include an MSc in these relevant topics.

This PhD research project requires the candidate to have the willingness to learn to use System Dynamics modelling software. e.g. Vensim and Anylogic. The PhD candidate should also have excellent oral communication and academic writing skills in English. Experience in writing academic articles and/or conference papers is desirable.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD project; applicants will be expected to pay their own fees or have a suitable source of third-party funding. A bench fee may also apply to this project, in addition to the tuition fees. UK students may be able to apply for a Doctoral Loan from Student Finance for financial support.


Braithwaite, A. & Christopher, M. (2015); Business Operations Models, KoganPage. Lacy P.; Long, J.; Spindler, W. (2020); The Circular Economy Handbook: realizing the circular advantage, Palgrave-Macmillan. Meadows, D. (2008); Thinking in Systems, Sustainability Institute, Chelsea Green Publishing. Morecroft, J. (2015); Strategic Modelling and Business Dynamics: A feedback systems approach, Wiley. Osterwalder, A. & Pigneur, Y. (2010); Business Model Generation, Wiley. Sterman, J. (2000); Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World, McGraw-Hill. Tonelli, M. & Cristoni, N. (2019); Strategic Management and the Circular Economy, Routledge. Weetman, C. (2017); A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains, KoganPage.

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