Design for the circular economy study package

Ended project: 10/2017 – 9/2019

Three universities of applied sciences jointly designed and implemented a study module that teaches using design in the circular economy.

What was it about?

The project was part of the Circular economy teaching for all levels of education package implemented between 2017 and 2019. Sitra’s vision was that all graduates should understand what the circular economy means from the point of view of their work and day-to-day life, and what decisions and actions they can take to promote the circular economy. The aim was to increase expertise in the circular economy in Finland by extensively developing circular economy training, materials, concepts and co-operation from different points of view for all levels of education. More than 50 educational institutions, organisations and businesses took part in the package.

What was achieved?

Three universities of applied sciences jointly designed and implemented a study module covering the basics of the circular economy, life-cycle thinking, sustainable design and design methods. The perspective of the studies was on making use of design expertise in the circular economy.

The study module comprised four courses:

The study module comprised open digital lectures and materials as well as learning assignments and real-life projects. In business co-operation projects, the students developed and tested their own and the businesses’ circular economy concepts. The learning assignments included reports, life-cycle modelling and working life-oriented projects.

The courses interested students of different disciplines, with business, environmental technology, sustainable development, service design and design students taking them.

The project was also presented to teachers, designers and businesses at events in Finland and abroad.

Who was involved?

Sitra funded the project, and the people responsible for the project at Sitra were Riitta Silvennoinen and Nani Pajunen. Design experts from Häme University of Applied Sciences, Savonia University of Applied Sciences and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences worked together to implement the project. The studies were offered through the open university of applied sciences, and participating students were selected from all fields.


Nani Pajunen
Senior Lead, Sustainability solutions

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