The Circular Economy Institute Forum Series
By: Kelly Humes, Research Assistant
The Circular Economy Institute team at the Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) organized a virtual forum series focusing on how circular economies have impacted the research, outreach, and instruction of faculty at Michigan State University. The series welcomed faculty presenters from across twelve schools and colleges who presented on a variety of important topics relating to circular economies. The webinar series was organized by a team of faculty members passionate about promoting the circular economy including Dr. Vedat Verter from Broad Business College, Dr. Rafael Auras from the School of Packaging, Gemma Reguera from the College of Natural Sciences, Lawrence Drzal from the College of Engineering, and Janet Ireland from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Working alongside of these MSU faculty members were research assistants Kelly Humes, Olivia Wheeler, and Toby Hayes as well as CCED director Dr. Rex LaMore.
The first panel of the series featured Professor Satish Joshi from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dr. Joshi presented on circular economies and how this specifically influenced his research in renewable biofuels policy, the lifecycle assessment, and the recycling program at MSU. Following, Dr. Reguera from the College of Natural Sciences shared her work on the intersection of electric microbes and the circular economy as a part of her research in microbiology and molecular genetics. Next, Dr. Jim Anhut from the School of Hospitality and Residential Business discussed instigating research on the circular economy in the hospitality industry.
A second panel featured Dr. Mark Wilson from the School of Planning, Design, and Construction. Professor Wilson presented his work on the intersection of the circular economy and technologically advanced transportation systems in the 21st century. The final presenter of this panel was director Sandra Lupien from the Forestry program in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources who covered mass timber and its relationship with the circular economy.
The third panel included speakers Dr, Rafael Auras and Dr. John Dorgan. Professor Rafael Auras from the School of Packaging discussed research completed on the creation of sustainable packaging systems for the circular economy. Professor John Dorgan from the College of Engineering introduced his research on biobased resins for manufacturing in the circular economy.
The fourth panel in this series featured professors Annick Anctil from the College of Engineering and Dr. Vedat Verter from Broad College of Business. Dr. Verter presented on sustainable supply chains and a regulator’s perspective. Associate Professor Anctil completed a research overview of her studies that pertain to the circular economy under the umbrella of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Lastly, the final panel in the series featured faculty member Dr. Karen Draths from the College of Natural sciences and Dr. Courtney Carignan from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Professor Draths provided a presentation on the synthesis of chemical building blocks from carbon dioxide and methane—intertwining chemistry and the circular economy. Dr. Carignan presented on the overlap of perfluoroalkyl substances (commonly known as PFAS) and the circular economy.
Each of the panels allowed for Q&A and allowed MSU faculty to connect and network regarding their own research, outreach, and instruction on the circular economy. The Circular Economy Institute team is looking forward to continuing to support this research, outreach, and networking opportunities for MSU faculty and partners on advancing circularity nationally.