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Consumer Practices in a Circular Society

  • TITLE: Consumer Practices in a Circular Society

  • HOST: Technische Universität Berlin (Germany)

  • MAIN SUPERVISOR: Prof. dr. M. Jaeger-Erben (TUB)

  • CO-SUPERVISOR: Prof. dr. T. Astrup (DTU)

  • START DATE: 01.05.2020

  • DURATION: 36 months

  • REQUIRED DEGREE: Master in Psychology or Social Sciences


    • Experiences in conducting qualitative and quantitative research and mixed methods

    • Experiences in consumer research and research in sustainable consumption and (social) innovation

    • Experiences in designing and conducting interactive and/ or participatory workshops

    • Experiences in inter- and transdisciplinary research

    • Interest in Circular Economy strategies and practices, interest in research on consumption of plastics and acceptance of product innovation, interest in user-centric design and user integration

    • Verifiable writing and communication skills

    • Good German language skills are advantageous

  • DESCRIPTION: The PhD comprises the following activities:

    • Literature review on consumers in the Circular Economy, acceptance of product innovation, plastics consumption, etc.

    • Development of a methodology

    • Empirical research (e.g. focus groups/ participatory workshops, interviews, surveys) combining qualitative and quantitative research

    • Writing of scientific articles as well as joint strategy and dissemination papers, presentation of PhD on conferences and in workshops

    • Participation in interdisciplinary group meetings at hosting institution

    • Participation in C-Planet activities

  • OBJECTIVES: The ESR will explore the perception and life-worlds of target consumer groups. Consumer perception and appropriation to the different CE consumption models for electronic devices will be investigated, including barriers and trade-offs consumers face when deciding whether or not to engage in the CE. Based on that, recommendations for design and co/creation processes and to business will be proposed aiming to enable and encourage consumers to engage in CE consumption practices. Moreover, current bottom-up innovations in the context of circular economy (like Prosuming, Hacking, Making, Repairing, 3-D-printing, Hacker Spaces and Repair-Cafés) will be analysed for their potential to support Circular Economy strategies and a transformation of current unsustainable Systems of Production and Consumption. Recommendations for design, co/creation and bottom-up innovations will be evaluated with respect to effects on material consumption, flows and product end-of-life phases.

  • PLANNED SECONDMENTS: At the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) to investigate how new CE business models and consumer practices will affect material flows, in particular during the end-of-life phase; At the Imagination Factory in London to test human-centric design and synergies to CE consumption practices

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