Unstoppable. Accelerating the transition to a circular economy

Lucy Stanfield-Jenner and the team at Edinburgh Innovations are focused on finding opportunities for partners and academic researchers to work together on sustainability and circular economy innovation projects that drive commercialisation and impact.

The Circular Economy Centre at the University of Edinburgh, supported by Lucy Stanfield-Jenner and her colleague Charlotte Lee-Woolf, accelerates the transition to a circular economy by providing access to world-leading research, education and innovation support.

This innovative partnership between academia and industry has already been successful, highlighted by the CloudEARTHi project: a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, the Arctic University of Norway, the University of Alicante (Spain), FH Burgenland (Austria), Varna University (Bulgaria) and business partner G-Force, based in Slovakia, that has already won funding of €1.2 million from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

A key element of the project is the development, testing and publication of a new framework to help startups to develop circular, net-zero business models.

The framework will be designed for new startup companies looking to use data and digital technologies to address sustainability challenges, or looking to embed circular thinking more generally in their business models and practices.

Lucy, one of the key driving forces of the centre, has been working at Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, as a Business Development Executive focused on the development of a Circular Economy Innovation Centre now for almost four years.

Lucy is passionately interested in sustainability, particularly how to leverage policy and economics to achieve a sustainable society.

Lucy completed her MSc in Carbon Management with the University and has also been a Trustee and Chair for the youth-run charity 2050 Climate Group for four years alongside running her own circular business, “Unwrapped Bars, a reusable, refillable energy bar company creating a circular outdoor industry.”

And, on the side, she is an accomplished ultra-marathon runner, (100km run in 17 hours is “honestly, really fun”) and has recently started yet another marathon – her PhD on land use for carbon management and biodiversity in Scotland, working with Forest Research and UNESCO.

Inspired by the brilliance and creativity of the academics she collaborates with, Lucy is also motivated by the University of Edinburgh’s commitment to becoming a net-zero-carbon, zero-waste university and by how we are working to embed circular thinking and practices across research, teaching and operations.

As Lucy comments, it’s clear that there are still big discussions to be had about the hierarchy of carbon management but ultimately every bit of carbon helps, and what better way to combat anxiety over the future of the planet than action?

So, what action is the team taking next? Lucy’s keen to make the most of the opportunities to scale up the sustainability and circular economy innovation at the University. She wants her team to be the leader in the space, driving commercialisation and impact. She’d like to work with more academics on the circular economy and pull in other sectors for example financial services and agritech. It’s important to shift how we finance our circular economy and the way we use our land to deliver food without degrading the landscape.

The Circular Economy Centre is already off to a great start. With Lucy’s ambition, determination and excellence, it’s unstoppable.

Please contact Lucy to discuss your ideas for sustainability and circular economy innovation.

Victoria Darbyshire

Business Development Executive
Circular Economy

Header image credit: Adobe Stock

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