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Applying circular economy thinking to industry by integrating education and research activities

Applying circular economy thinking to industry by integrating education and research activities
Applying circular economy thinking to industry by integrating education and research activities
Collaboration between universities and external organisations offers opportunities for multiple and mutual benefits, including the development of employability skills in students. This paper outlines the educational approach taken and results achieved when under- and post-graduate students were tasked with working with a water supply and waste water treatment company (Southern Water; SW) with the aim of identifying opportunities to apply circular economy thinking to SW’s operations at a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) in England. The students were presented with a “real-world” consultancy task to identify and evaluate the waste streams within the WWTP process and produce options for their reduction, recovery and reuse without hindering operational effectiveness. The mutual benefits of this collaborative venture were demonstrated via: i) the utility of students’ recommendations and SW’s desire to participate in and fund follow-up activities, including academic consultancy, MSc and PhD projects; ii) positive feedback from SW and the students; and iii) the quality of the exercise as a vehicle for academic learning and development of professional and employability skills. Academics can address the challenge of simultaneously needing to develop students’ employability skills whilst covering core topics required by professional bodies by deliberately incorporating open-ended, real-world industrial activities into teaching and learning activities within assessed modules. Active learning approaches to education in waste and resource management incorporating consultancy-style work of this nature are strongly recommended.
waste management, circular economy, Employability, wastewater, Education, Students
134-143
Williams, Ian
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Roberts, Keiron
0422e8bc-1823-4a2c-bc80-98d6d2f9c166
Shaw, Peter
935dfebf-9fb6-483c-86da-a21dba8c1989
Cleasby, Barry
015d9c6f-eaa5-4e1b-8b0e-06739805efe9
Williams, Ian
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Roberts, Keiron
0422e8bc-1823-4a2c-bc80-98d6d2f9c166
Shaw, Peter
935dfebf-9fb6-483c-86da-a21dba8c1989
Cleasby, Barry
015d9c6f-eaa5-4e1b-8b0e-06739805efe9

Williams, Ian, Roberts, Keiron, Shaw, Peter and Cleasby, Barry (2018) Applying circular economy thinking to industry by integrating education and research activities. Detritus, 01, 134-143. (doi:10.26403/detritus/2018.11).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Collaboration between universities and external organisations offers opportunities for multiple and mutual benefits, including the development of employability skills in students. This paper outlines the educational approach taken and results achieved when under- and post-graduate students were tasked with working with a water supply and waste water treatment company (Southern Water; SW) with the aim of identifying opportunities to apply circular economy thinking to SW’s operations at a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) in England. The students were presented with a “real-world” consultancy task to identify and evaluate the waste streams within the WWTP process and produce options for their reduction, recovery and reuse without hindering operational effectiveness. The mutual benefits of this collaborative venture were demonstrated via: i) the utility of students’ recommendations and SW’s desire to participate in and fund follow-up activities, including academic consultancy, MSc and PhD projects; ii) positive feedback from SW and the students; and iii) the quality of the exercise as a vehicle for academic learning and development of professional and employability skills. Academics can address the challenge of simultaneously needing to develop students’ employability skills whilst covering core topics required by professional bodies by deliberately incorporating open-ended, real-world industrial activities into teaching and learning activities within assessed modules. Active learning approaches to education in waste and resource management incorporating consultancy-style work of this nature are strongly recommended.

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DETRITUS 01-2018_Paper 0035 - Version of Record
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Accepted/In Press date: 23 March 2018
Published date: 31 March 2018
Keywords: waste management, circular economy, Employability, wastewater, Education, Students

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419734
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419734
PURE UUID: 7854f6eb-acb6-4110-b874-0aef9288d9c8
ORCID for Ian Williams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0121-1219
ORCID for Peter Shaw: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0925-5010

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Date deposited: 20 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 18 Mar 2020 01:25

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Author: Ian Williams ORCID iD
Author: Keiron Roberts
Author: Peter Shaw ORCID iD
Author: Barry Cleasby

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