Modelling and simulation of circular economy practices

Modelling and simulation of circular economy practices
DeustoTech ( is a private non-profit institution of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Deusto for applied research in new technologies. Since 2005 DeustoTech mission is to support the ICT activity in business and society through research, the development of technologies, innovation and knowledge transfer. We focus our activity around TRLs 2-7 and articulate it into four applied fields: Industry, Mobility, Energy and Society, having a fifth, the Chair of Applied Mathematics, as a transversal activity and support for the previous four. We are characterized for working with data of heterogeneous nature, throughout its life cycle and in compliance with ethical principles and humanists who define the University of Deusto. The Host Research Unit counts with a consolidated team leading research in environmental sector, including sustainability, resource efficiency and circular economy.
We are looking for a candidate with a PhD in Science bachelor or engineering related to Life Cycle Assessment methodologies or modelling techniques based on the use of artificial intelligence Master degree at Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, or similar would be valuable. We would also appreciate recognisable experience in research tasks (collaborations with scientific groups, participation in international conferences, publication of research articles, etc.).
  • Information Sciences and Engineering (ENG)
  • Environmental Sciences and Geology (ENV)
According to the World Health Organization the urban population accounted for 54% of the overall population in the world. Cities are becoming as the main consumers of resources and, consequently, where great amounts of waste are generated. Hence, when talking about urban waste, it can represent an opportunity if we are able to convert it into a new resource and face the challenges this brings to policy makers, companies and citizens. In this context, the concept of circular economy is born as a proposal to face this challenge from a global and systemic approach. In fact, it is increasingly common to find manufacturing and service solutions based on it to optimize the use of resources and minimize their environmental impact. To this end, decision support tools which connect all the activities and actors involved can play an important role to take informed and cost-effective decisions. However, due to the massiveness and complexity of the information needed, new approaches and methodologies for its management are required. The aim of this research line is to contribute to the development of new holistic methodologies to assess the environmental impact and the replication potential of the new and emerging solutions around the circular economy principles to move towards more efficient and sustainable urban areas. For this purpose the combination of different techniques such as Life Cycle Assessment and the optimization using artificial intelligence algorithms will be explored.


1. H Barco, I Oribe-Garcia, V Vargas-Viedma, C Borges, C Martin, A Alonso-Vicario. New methodology for facilitating food wastage quantification. Identifying gaps and data inconsistencies. Journal of Environmental Management (2019), 234, pp. 512-524. 2. A Pijoan, O Kamara-Esteban, A Alonso-Vicario, C Borges. Transport Choice Modeling for the Evaluation of New Transport Policies (2018), Sustainability. vol. 10. 3. A Alonso-Vicario, I Oribe-Garcia, CE Borges, M Vila, G Nohales, M Giavini. Key factors to meet prevention and recycling targets for municipal solid waste: collection systems, environmental education programmes and taxation, Universidad de Deusto. 2 (2018) 231-263. 4. I Oribe-Garcia, O Kamara-Esteban, C Martin, AM Macarulla-Arenaza, A Alonso-Vicario. Identification of influencing municipal characteristics regarding household waste generation and their forecasting ability in Biscay, Waste Manage. 39 (2015) 26-34. 5. A Pijoan, CE Borges, I Oribe-Garcia, C Martin, A Alonso-Vicario. Agent Based Simulations for the Estimation of Sustainability Indicators, Procedia Computer Science. 51 (2015) 2943-2947.
1. H2020 – WASTE WASTE4THINK (Moving towards Life Cycle Thinking by Integrating Advanced Waste Management Systems) – GA 688995. UDEUSTO coordinates this project with the main objective of moving forward the current waste management practices into a circular economy motto, demonstrating the value of integrating and validating several eco-innovative solutions that cover all the waste value chain. 2. SAVINGFOOD: Pilot activity against food wastage in Gipuzkoa. UDEUSTO designs the protocols for safe and secure edible food donation including cooked food in collaboration with main actors in the donation chain. 3. W2.0E-Tools to design management strategies for waste-to-energy in the Basque Country (Saiotek program, Basque Government): Deusto developed different tools to design waste management strategies in the Basque Country. 4. H2020 – GREENSOUL (Persuasive Eco-awareness for User Engagement through Networked Data Devices). H2020 – EE – GA 696129: UDEUSTO develops and tests a set of persuasion mechanism to reduce the energy consumption in public buildings. 5. H2020 – ATELIER (AmsTErdam BiLbao cItizen drivEn smaRt cities) – GA 864374. UDEUSTO will, apart of on carry on several actions to foster energy efficiency and the deployment of renewable energy energy sources, perform the environmental monitoring of the project.


The proposal clearly fits in the core objectives of the Interdisciplinary Research Platform “B-Creative advanced research on creative industries and cities” of the UDEUSTO. In particular, it will mix knowledge of the following fields: ● Civil Engineering and Chemical Engineering: waste treatment technologies have been traditionally understood by civil and chemical engineers able to get to know the details of the technologies and the biochemical processes involved. ● Computer Science and Telecommunications: standardization and interoperability issues will need to have some skills about computer science and telecommunications. GIS-based systems and mapping will also be used ● Sociology and Psychology: consumption and production patterns need to be understood and some sociology and psychology will be needed to be able to foster new habits ● Education: It is vital to create new innovative and attractive educational mechanisms to involve all the stakeholders (citizens, companies, public authorities). To this end, it is necessary to create methodologies to measure the circularity of the cities.
The candidate will work on a highly interdisciplinary group where all the previous knowledge will be worked on. The candidate will collaborate with researchers of different background (mathematicians, engineers, chemists, and social scientists) and be in touch with a wide network of institutions from industry sector as well as public utilities and administrations in order to achieve the objectives of the project.


The topic is a cross-sectional topic covered in calls of the Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials work programme as well as the Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies – Space programme and Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry… and the bioeconomy programme. See for example: ● CE-SC5-07-2020: Raw materials innovation for the circular economy ● CE-SC5-25-2020: Understanding the transition to circular economy and its implications ● LC-CLA-11-2020 Innovative nature-based solutions for carbon neutral cities and improved air quality ● FNR-07-2020: FOOD 2030 – Empowering cities as agents of food system transformation ● RUR-05-2020 – Connecting consumers and producers in innovative supply chains Other European programs: ● Bio-based Industries for Development and Growth in Europe according to the Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda ● LIFE Programme Environment and Resource Efficiency Several SDG are highly related to this research area: ● GOAL 2: ZERO HUNGER ● GOAL 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES & COMMUNITIES ● GOAL 12:RESPONSABLE PRODUCTION & CONSUMPTION ● GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION There is a long list of circular economy policies related to this project as: • EU COMMUNICATION: Close the cycle: an EU action plan for the circular economy. • DIRECTIVE (EU) 2018/851 and DIRECTIVE 2008/98 / EC on waste • DIRECTIVE 1999/31 on the dumping of waste • DIRECTIVE 2015/720 with regard to the reduction of consumption of light plastic bags


Circular economy must be considered as and intersectorial issue and consequently it has to be taken into account involving stakeholders from different sectors: Education, Waste management & Technology, Economy and Policy. So, in this project the candidate will be in direct relationship with institutions as: ● Social: AUNAR (NGO that redistributes food surpluses in Euskadi) ● Technological: DORLET and Engineering (large IT companies), Contenur (waste containers), ARS (Engineering)… ● Private and public services: Ferrovial, Enviser, Garbiker ● Standardization: ETSI ● Policy makers and public administrations: contribution to new regulations ● Education: Schools and Universities ● Associations: ATEGRUS, IPWCA, ACR + ● Networks, Clusters and International Organizations (ISWA, Aclima, etc.) The research program defined in this proposal has a strong link with the RIS3 strategy for the Basque Country. In particular, the project is clearly linked with the territorial priority, more specifically with the circular economy topic. It also have links the energy priority as during the proposal energy related problem like waste incineration, fuel consumption, etc. will also be covered. The project is also perfectly aligned with the Basque Energy Strategy 2030 and the Basque Strategy for Climate Change (KLIMA2050).


The proposal will contribute to move towards circular economy concept by: ● Methodologies for the holistic evaluation of the circularity of the cities and regiosnt involving active engagement of local authorities and citizens ● Protocols for monitoring consumption habits and fostering new sustainable trends ● Citizen participation, environmental education, and learning ● Promotion and dissemination of Innovative, sustainable and inclusive governance models ● Promotion and dissemination of innovative and more sustainable production and consumption models ● Standardization of the management of data The results will be presented to relevant stakeholders as: ● water governance bodies ● civil associations ● research community ● firms, engineerings and consultancy companies


Citizens, authorities, civil society organisations, industry and other stakeholders need methods and tools to share visions and collaborate together to move forward more sustainable cities based on the circular economy principles. First, the definition of appropriate indicators are needed to evaluate holistically the concept of circularity considering the interrelationship among the different flows of resources based on technical, environmental and social criteria. And secondly, decision making tools to assess new opportunities and business models around circular economy. This project will cover both aspects combining environmental sciences with the use of ICT techniques as artificial intelligence and geographic information systems.


One of the University of Deusto key duties is to be fully aware of problems within the institution itself and the society we belong to. For this reason, the project will include specific steps to boost integration and real equality of opportunity for men and women with specific support needs. Timely specific action is required to enable them to enter higher education in equal conditions and ensure their full integration in the university community. DeustoTech, as one of its institutions, is included into this service of social action and inclusion. The main aims consist of achieving full normalisation, equal opportunities and gradually adopting the steps needed to ensure that the University of Deusto is an inclusive educational institution. Furthermore, the University of Deusto provides them with guidance and support on the transition to the labour market jointly with special job centres and companies at large.