Research Topic

The Transformation Towards Circularity – Putting Ideas into Practice

About this Research Topic

A circular economy is one in which waste generation is minimized and the value of products is preserved at the end of their use phase. It has come to be regarded as a crucial strategy to the problems of resource scarcity, loss of biodiversity and climate change. At the same time it could act as a motor for jobs and welfare. However, the use of primary raw materials is still increasing and only a small proportion of the demand for materials is currently met by circularity.

In order to put ideas into practice, innovative technologies and business models will have to be aligned with new regulatory and economic instruments. For a successful transformation this will require an integrated approach that also asks about potential losers of such changes and how to get them on board. Overcoming linear path dependencies will require going beyond silo thinking and isolated approaches, practical systemic solutions will be necessary.


This Research Topic aims to gather scientific evidence, analysis of good practice examples as well as of failed attempts to put the idea of circular economy into practice. Its overarching goal is to contribute to an inter- and trans-disciplinary research discourse that asks about necessary framework conditions, research designs or policy interventions that initiate, steer and evaluate the transformation towards a resource-light and climate-neutral circular economy.


Against this background, this Research Topic invites papers addressing the following topics:

  • What are relevant drivers as well as barriers for a transformative innovation like circular economy?
  • What kind of inter- and transdisciplinary research and knowledge is necessary to support implementation into practice?
  • What kind of analytical frameworks or concepts would allow an integrated assessment of environmental as well as socio-economic benefits and risks?
  • What kind of policy frameworks enable or hinder circular transformations?
  • How do economic incentive structures differ in the linear and circular economy?
  • How to measure transaction costs hindering circular transformations?


Within this scope, conceptional as well as empirical papers from various disciplines are welcomed. The focus should be on implementation processes of circularity in its different forms or on different spatial scales. Submissions should address specific value chains, specific circular activities or solutions in their socio-technical contexts.


Keywords: circular economy, circular business models, strategies for circularity, transformative innovation, future literacy, transdisciplinary research


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

A circular economy is one in which waste generation is minimized and the value of products is preserved at the end of their use phase. It has come to be regarded as a crucial strategy to the problems of resource scarcity, loss of biodiversity and climate change. At the same time it could act as a motor for jobs and welfare. However, the use of primary raw materials is still increasing and only a small proportion of the demand for materials is currently met by circularity.

In order to put ideas into practice, innovative technologies and business models will have to be aligned with new regulatory and economic instruments. For a successful transformation this will require an integrated approach that also asks about potential losers of such changes and how to get them on board. Overcoming linear path dependencies will require going beyond silo thinking and isolated approaches, practical systemic solutions will be necessary.


This Research Topic aims to gather scientific evidence, analysis of good practice examples as well as of failed attempts to put the idea of circular economy into practice. Its overarching goal is to contribute to an inter- and trans-disciplinary research discourse that asks about necessary framework conditions, research designs or policy interventions that initiate, steer and evaluate the transformation towards a resource-light and climate-neutral circular economy.


Against this background, this Research Topic invites papers addressing the following topics:

  • What are relevant drivers as well as barriers for a transformative innovation like circular economy?
  • What kind of inter- and transdisciplinary research and knowledge is necessary to support implementation into practice?
  • What kind of analytical frameworks or concepts would allow an integrated assessment of environmental as well as socio-economic benefits and risks?
  • What kind of policy frameworks enable or hinder circular transformations?
  • How do economic incentive structures differ in the linear and circular economy?
  • How to measure transaction costs hindering circular transformations?


Within this scope, conceptional as well as empirical papers from various disciplines are welcomed. The focus should be on implementation processes of circularity in its different forms or on different spatial scales. Submissions should address specific value chains, specific circular activities or solutions in their socio-technical contexts.


Keywords: circular economy, circular business models, strategies for circularity, transformative innovation, future literacy, transdisciplinary research


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

07 July 2021 Abstract
26 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

07 July 2021 Abstract
26 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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