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Image courtesy of Will Dolphin Photography

New University of Exeter Business School centre opened by Dame Ellen MacArthur

Record-breaking sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has officially marked the opening of a new centre at the University of Exeter Business School, which is dedicated to tackling some of the world’s greatest social and economic challenges.

Dame Ellen, who made yachting history when she became the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe, was at the University to mark the launch of the Centre for Circular Economy. 

Professor David Allen, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Business School said: “As we face growing economic and societal challenges so innovative approaches like the circular economy are gaining momentum.

“Exeter has some of the world’s leading academics in this area, who work hand in hand with business, policy makers and thought leaders such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to create real, sustainable economic models. We are dedicated to working together to tackle challenges facing our communities.”

The centre’s mission is to work with business and governments on a global scale to support research and educational innovations that will contribute to creating a circular economy, where products and services are redefined and there is less waste and negative impact. This includes the transition to renewable energy. The Centre for Circular Economy offers learning at all levels, including free online courses, key senior Executive and Leadership programmes, undergraduate courses, and doctoral training. Within their research agenda, the Centre’s current focus is on key sectors such as farming and food, building and construction, wasteful flows of materials such as plastics, and regional approaches to circular economic regeneration.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and in November 2017, the University of Exeter was awarded the accolade of Global Pioneer University by the Foundation. Exeter joins a group of only eight Universities globally to achieve this status. Since its creation the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, establishing the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers across business, government and academia.

“The opening of Exeter’s Centre for Circular Economy marks a significant step in establishing circular economy as an important area of academic research and teaching at world-leading universities,” said Dame Ellen. “The circular economy offers an opportunity to harness many academic disciplines to develop solutions to the linear economy that challenge conventional thinking.”

During her visit, Dame Ellen spoke at a public lecture about her journey sailing solo around the world and how this led her to the discover the circular economy and launch the Foundation. She then took part in a question and answer session chaired by Professor Peter Hopkinson, Director of the University of Exeter Centre for Circular Economy (pictured).

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter said: “We were honoured to welcome Dame Ellen to the launch of this incredibly important new centre, which will be at the forefront of improving the way our economies work in the future.

“Dame Ellen is inspirational; not just because of her achievements as a sailor but for the passion she brings to the work of her Foundation. It’s a passion we also share.”

Date: 14 September 2018