Affiliated organisations

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

UCL CircEL, the Circular Economy Lab

An exciting cross-faculty, cross-discipline initiative, aiming to use UCL's expertise to improve the design of buildings and products, their re-use and recycling, and the return of their constituent materials back to the economy.


Overview and request for participation

"A circular economy keeps products, components and materials at their highest utility and value, at all times, eliminating the concept of waste, with materials ultimately re-entering the economy at end of use as defined, valuable technical or biological nutrients." Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

We are aiming to develop the scientific and socio-economic understanding and technological basis for design and implementation of systems, processes and policy that will support the transition to a Circular Economy.  With access to the full width and depth of UCL expertise, CircEL will be capable of tackling Circular Economy-related problems of any size or stage of development.

It is essential that CircEL research and technology development is driven by the needs of the industrial/business community.  We envision support of, and guidance by, an industrial ecosystem composed of one or two compatible large companies and several well-matched small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), each with its own symbiotic ecological niche.  CircEL plans to be linked with the East London community, and aligned with creation of the new UCL East campus at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

For further information or  to arrange a meeting, please contact: Dr Aiduan Borrion,, +44 () 207 679 7224

It would help us also if you would fill in the short form accessed via the register interest link on the top left of this page.


- Cities of Making project has received funding (April 2017). This 30 month project aims to aid the return of manufacturing back to cities, likely to include circular economy as a theme, so reducing primary resource requirement for cities.

- Circular Cities theme led by Dr Joanna Williams from the Bartlett School of Planning, has received funding from UCL Grand Challenges fund and supported by Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

- 'Widening the UCL CircEL'  led by Prof Julia Stegemann has been funded by UCL Enterprise, continuation funding for the work of CircEL.

- Short animation about reusing construction waste, affiliated_projects/opportunity_waste

- UCL hosted a second big top tent for the Ellen Macarthur Foundation's Disruptive Innovation Festival, Dr Ben Croxford, Prof Julia Stegemann, Prof Paul Ekins among the presenters, November 2016 and 2015, more info here.

- Dr Aiduan Borrion, won funding from UCL Life Learning Investment Fund to set up a Life Cycle Analysis, 1 week CPD course. See press release here. First iteration was spring 2016, contact for more information.

- CircEL trip to Brighton Waste House 2 September 2015; an excellent, inspiring trip hosted by Duncan Baker-Brown, more info here

- Successfully delivered the Circular Economy Game to the UCL Spark Festival, Queen Elizabeth Park, 30-31 August 2015, a fun experience despite the weather!.

- Attended Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100 Annual Summit 24th June 2015, I was impressed by Robin Chase, Zipcar, and Marty Neese, Sunpower Corp.

- "Case Study on Closed Loop Urban Food Waste Management" by Dr Aiduan Borrion

- Visit to East London Biogas Opco, formerly TEG, 16th April 2015, report and pictures here

Dr Aiduan Borrion, IRIS profile here, has been appointed as our part-time researcher, started April 2015.

- Proposal funded "Making a CircEL (Circular Economy Laboratory) with Maximum Impact", from the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account. (March 2015)

 - A proposal for researcher time is being developed to allow some scoping work for CircEL. (March 2015)

 - An initial proposal for space in UCLEast, the proposed new development in Queen Elizabeth Park has been made (Feb 2015).

- Prior to the CircEL discussions, Prof Raimund Bleischwitz, led a successful European and China collabortiave bid called Sincere, SINo-european Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency, details here.


We propose to consider three main work strands;
 - technology related improvements in recovering materials that are currently difficult to recover.
 - process based improvements in how materials are recovered.
 - policy based improvements to enable a recovery process to work more effectively.

Prospective PhD candidates

We would encourage students interested in pursuing a PhD in the area of Circular Economy to contact us. At the moment we have no specific funding available, so we would be particularly interested in applicants who have funding. Each of us has preferred areas, the precise focus of these may differ from year to year. See below for each academics availability and interest area.


Partners and their organisations

Further Information

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