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CRANFIELD, UK: July 14, 2017. Cranfield University is launching the world's first MSc course on the circular economy in October. The part-time postgraduate course - Technology, Innovation and Management for a Circular Economy - will fuse expertise in engineering, logistics and environmental sciences with programs in business and finance.

A circular economy aims to increasingly decouple production from the consumption of finite resources, and emphasizes keeping products and materials at their highest value and utility, at all times.

The course will focus on how business can be restorative and regenerative – rather than the 'take, make, dispose' model traditionally followed. One new example is leading carpet tile manufacturer Interface that has developed a prototype carbon-capturing tile.

Cranfield"All you really need to do is stop the cycle when the carbon is captured; then use those materials over and over again," explained Interface Chief Science & Technology officer John Bradford. ""This is not alchemy; this is not a pipe dream," he continued. "This can really be done."

Last month Interface launched its 'Proof-Positive' tile "to inspire our customers, our industry, and the world to think more broadly about taking on the climate challenge in a new way – to find innovative solutions that will not only reduce, but ultimately reverse global warming," according to Chad Scales, company Chief Innovation, Marketing and Design officer.

Cranfield's new MSc course draws on the expertise of the circular economy thought-leader the Ellen MacArthur Foundation: "The circular economy is emerging as the new paradigm for a system that can work in the long term. In order to achieve its full potential, it needs solid skills-building programs and the involvement of leading international universities," said founder MacArthur.

Fiona Charnley, course Convenor added: "The world of business has shifted dramatically. The circular economy is widely regarded as the most dominant trend for environmentally responsible and innovative businesses."

According to Mike Wilson, global head of Logistics for Panalpina, the traditional method of manufacturing products in Asia and shipping them across the globe is no longer sustainable – neither from a competitive nor an environmental perspective.

In the new world of manufacturing, he noted, the take-make-dispose supply chains of the past are morphing into the distributed, circular and sustainable supply chains of the future. The drivers behind this development are product modularization, the growing makerspace movement, and rapid advancements in 3D printing.

Last year Panalpina and Cardiff Business School at Cardiff University launched a Logistics Manufacturing Research Centre to study distributed manufacturing, 3D printing, the circular economy and the impact of digital manufacturing on global supply chains.

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