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Sustainability Implications of New Business Models in Circular Economy (RDF20/BL/MOS/LI)

Project Description

Sustainability has become an urgent issue for businesses and governments. To address the environmental challenges, the UK government has reshaped its industry strategy by migrating towards a circular economy in its latest ‘25 Year Environment Plan’ in 2018. The goal of circular economy cannot be achieved without companies closing their supply chain loop. To ease the product return, many companies have started to change their traditional sales model to new service business models, for example, car subscription, sharing business and so on.

These business models themselves are beneficial for re-activities (reuse, remanufacturing, recycling etc.) since the companies own the products. However, what are the effects of new business models on the closed loop supply chain decisions? What does it take to make them better serve the circular economy? This project will investigate the sustainability implications of these new business models. In specific, the following two questions will be studied:

1. What are the optimal strategic and operational decisions under the new business models and their impact on supply chain members?
2. What are the implications of the decisions on the environment? If they are beneficial to the environment, what are the rationales, otherwise, how to make the better for the circular economy?

The successful applicant will demonstrate an understanding of the key operations and supply chain management regimes, i.e., inventory management, supply chain relationship management, the interface between marketing and operations, sustainable supply chain management, environment economy and a willingness to investigate across those areas. A strong quantitative background or mathematical modelling skills will be desirable.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:

- Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
- Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
- Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020.

Start Date: 1 October 2020.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Reimann, M., Xiong, Y., Zhou Y. (2019). Managing a closed-loop supply chain with process innovation for remanufacturing. European Journal of Operational Research, 276(2):510-518.

Lechner, G., and Reimann M. (2019). Integrated decision-making in reverse logistics: an optimisation of interacting acquisition, grading and disposition processes, International Journal of Production Research. Forthcoming.

Li, G., Reimann, M., Zhang, W. (2018). When remanufacturing meets product quality improvement: the impact of production cost. European Journal of Operational Research, 271(3):913-925.

Kleber, R., Reimann, M., Souza, G., Zhang W. (2018) On the robustness of the discount factor for remanufactured products. European Journal of Operational Research, 269(3):1027-1040.

Xiong, Y., Yan, W., Zhou, X. and Li, G. Clicks versus Bricks: the role of durability in marketing channel strategy of durable goods manufacturers. European Journal of Operational Research. 2018, 265(3):909-918.

Zhang, W. and Reimann, M. (2014) A simple augmented ε-constraint method for multi-objective mathematical integer programming problems. European Journal of Operational Research, 2014b, 234(1):15-24.

Reimann, M. (2016). Accurate response with refurbished consumer returns, Decision Sciences, 47(1): 31-59.

Li, G. and Zhou, Y.. Strategically decentralize when encroaching on a dominant supplier. International Journal of Production Research. 2016, 54(10): 2989-3005.

Xiong, Y., Zhao, P., Xiong, Z. and Li, G. The impact of product upgrading on the decision of entrance to a secondary market. European Journal of Operational Research, 2016, 252(2): 443-454.

Lechner, G., and Reimann M. (2014). Impact of product acquisition on manufacturing and remanufacturing strategies, Production & Remanufacturing Research, 2(1): 831-859.

Lechner, G., and Reimann M. (2015). Reprocessing and repairing white and brown goods-the RUSZ case: an independent and non-profit business, Journal of Remanufacturing, 5(1):

Xiong, Y., Li, G. et al. Dynamic pricing models for used products in remanufacutring with lost-sales and uncertain quality. International Journal of Production Economics. 2014, 147: 678-688.

Zhang, W. and Reimann, M. (2014). Towards a multi-objective performance assessment and optimization model of a two-echelon supply using SCOR metrics. Central European Journal of Operations Research, 22(4):15-24.

Xiong, Y. and Li, G. The value of dynamic pricing for cores in remanufacturing with backorders. Journal of the Operational Research Society. 2013, 64:1314-1326.

Zhou, Y., Xiong, Y., Li, G., Xiong, Z. and Beck, M. The bright side of manufacturing-remanufacturing conflict in a decentralised closed-loop supply chain, International Journal of Production Research. 2013, 51(9): 2639-2651.

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