5 days in Brussels and Paris, from April 20 to 24th 2020

From the Brussels side this summer school is organized in the frame of the FEB/VBO Research Chair on Circular Economy which is hosted by a partnership between VUB and ULB.
The VUB site is represented by the Mobility, Logistics and Automotive Technology Research Centre (MOBI), the ULB is represented by the Institute for Environmental Management and Land-Use Planning (IGEAT) and the Department of Building, Architecture & Town Planning (BATir). The main responsible in this collaboration on the FEB/VBO Research chair on Circular Economy are Prof. Cathy Macharis, Prof. Wouter Achten, Prof. Ahmed Khan, Prof. Tom Bauler.

In Paris, the workshop is organized by MINES ParisTech, mainly through ISIGE "Higher Institute of Engineering and Management of the Environment", specialized in expert sustainability education, through three post-Master training programs. The institute is developing and sharing expertise in the field of Ecological and Environmental Transitions – systemic approaches and gouvernance. The main responsibles for ISIGE are Prof. Jasha Oosterbaan, Prof. Daniel Florentin and Prof. Cathy Descamps-Large, together with Prof. Frank Aggeri, from research center on scientific management – CGS at MINES ParisTech.

In Paris, “Les Canaux”is partner of the bootcamp initiative - this site, previously dedicated to the management of Paris canals, has been transformed into a hub, incubator and booster for social and circular economy at the Grand Paris scale. Launched by the city council of Paris, this initiative houses various projects on circular economy and has been itself refurbished according to this model. Les Canaux offers a time for a gathering and networking, and a meeting with the site coordinators and start-up networks.


 Along the week, participants and lecturers will share experiences and methodologies on concrete and current events and projects. The idea is to take advantage of the various backgrounds and professional experiences to exchange, discuss and test new ideas to get inspired by. This implies to learn and foster new possibilities to implement new business, technical and territorial models around circularity. A first further explanation of this project will be given at the end of the first day.

The project this year is related to the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The organizing committee of these 2024 Games has a very high commitment to inclusive and circular approaches – one of the objectives is to guarantee a 25% share of Social, Social-Responsible Economy in the total amount of Contracts. The team in charge of this objective is hosted at the Canaux institute, partner of this Bootcamp. In relation to this, the participants of the international Bootcamp will dress a perspective on how to include the circular dimension in 4 main fields of the Olympic games organisation : Construction, Mobility, Foodwaste and Merchandising.

Phase 1 : The first two days of the programme are conceived to prepare the audience for this project on a ‘theoretical’ and ‘knowledge’ level.

Phase 2 : Wednesday, during the program session hosted by The Canaux, a meeting will be organized with the ESS 2024 team

Phase 3 : Thursday & Friday will be dedicated to real field experience in circular economy, both in construction and urban planning and at company level, and the combination of theoretical and practical knowledge will help the audience to identify levers and limits of implementing circular approaches for the different topics of the Olympic Games case study

Final : A commun presentation will be organized on Friday afternoon before the wrap-up session

The first day of the bootcamp will be used to set the conceptual and theoretical scene around the ‘sustainable circular economy’.

Monday 20 April 2020


Prof. Ahmed Khan (ULB)
Prof. Karel Van Acker (KU Leuven)

The morning session will provide definitions, discourse, viewpoints and roles of the circular economy in different contexts. Further the importance of circularity for a sustainable society, and this from resource use efficiency perspective and the materials’ perspective, but also from the socio-economic, societal and policy perspective. In these contexts also the importance of circularity strategies and monitoring will be touched.


Drs Alexandre Hureau (VUB)
Prof. Muriel Sacco (ULB)

 In a second part focus will be put on the measurement of circularity. Metrics will be provided to contribute to the (sustainability) evaluation of the circular economy, circular activities and circular products, but also to contribute to the management and transitioning towards more circularity. This part consists both of an overview of available metrics, and currently proposed methodological advancements. This session will also highlight the identification and analysis of social of societal risks and benefits of the circular economy, and will conclude with a testimony of a social economy actor in Brussels.


Dr. Bonno Pel (ULB)

How can economies transition to a circular economy? Which levels and which actors are involved and in which role? How can bottom-up initiatives make the change? What is the role of companies? Which governance is needed? This session will contain the theoretical concepts of transition management applied to the circular economy transition, and a testimony of a Brusssels transition agent.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

The second day will focus more on different sectors in the transitioning to a circular economy, and relevant for the collective project (transport sector, construction sector and food sector). The day also aims to bring forward the importance of the multi- actor and multi-criteria aspects of a transition to circular economy. On a sectorial and business level we will look into the building sector; regarding citizens’ involvement the waste management sector will be explored; as for governments participants will have insights into the circular city governance.


MOBI research centre (VUB) (to be confirmed)

In this session different speakers will cover the circularity potential in the transport sector (person transport, logistics, urban mobility, etc.). The circularity of the transportation sector will be approached from two angles: from the energy and materials perspective and from the business model perspective. How can material selection, source energy selection, car design and assembly contribute to circularity? But, also, what is the role of the functional economy (e.g. car sharing, bike sharing, etc.) contribute to circularity?

The session will be closed by a testimony of a circular transportation initiative.


In this session we will look into the ability of the construction sector to contribute to circularity. Again two aspects will be highlighted: the material perspective, and the design perspective. The material perspective will look into the potential of material selection in the construction sector to contribute to circularity. In a second intervention the focus will be put on how multi-level  construction design (building, neigbourhood and urban) can contribute to circularity.

The session will be closed by a testimony of a circular construction initiative.


Drs. Anastasia Papangelou (KU Leuven)

Also in this session two aspects of the sector will be handled. What could circularity mean in the agri-food production? How do nutrient resources are used and flowing today, and how can it evolve to more circularity? But, also the packaging aspect is an important issue regarding food protection, health and savety, even though they often reduce circularity. What ara the circularity possibilities in food packaging?

The session will be closed by a testimony of a circular food initiative.

In the remainder of the day the participants will be invited to break-out sessions aiming to brainstorm on the collective project, and will be introduced to stakeholders’ collaboration in the circular economy. Therefore the multi actor multi criteria approach will be provided by Prof. Cathy Macharis (VUB).

Wednesday 22 April 2020

The following days of the bootcamp will be hosted by MINES ParisTech, Wednesday morning is free for travelling from Brussels to Paris and after a lunch together Wednesday afternoon is dedicated to the discovery of the Circular Hub of Paris, Les Canaux:


The building formerly dedicated to the management of the canals of Paris, has been transformed into a hub, incubator and booster for social and circular economy, in close relation with the various stakeholders of the Metropole du Grand Paris and the City Council of Paris. Les Canaux team will welcome the Bootcamp for the afternoon.


Since its creation, “Les Canaux” association is a major player in the development of the circular economy in Île-de-France, as a hub and incubator. Projects around the transformation of the textile industry towards an ethical fashion industry or the development of projects to remove concrete from the urban landscape are emblematic illustrations of what is happening at “Les Canaux”.  Launched by the city council of Paris, located on the Quai de Seine on the Canal de l’Ourcq banks, “Les Canaux” thus houses various projects on circular economy and has been itself refurbished according to this model. The visit will be the occasion to have testimonies on various circular economy initiatives that are sponsored and accompanied by Les Canaux. Another of the activities hosted by les Canaux is the Paris 2024 Olympics-team, in charge of the organisation of inclusive Olympic Games.

A time for discussion with Les Canaux team about the mini-project launched in Brussels is scheduled.


In the evening, participants will be invited to a get together in the form of a cocktail, offering possibilities to have some networking in a friendly environment

Thursday 23 April 2020

During the day, participants will be provided with theoretical and practical insights into the functioning of urban metabolism. Through the example of the Paris metropolitan area, the interest of a sociotechnical approach which links governance perspective and the analysis of material flows will be presented. This will show the importance of information and knowledge around what circulates in the city and the challenges raised by its management


Sabine Barles, urban planner on territorial ecology (to be confirmed) and Elisabeth Lehec, urban ecologist.

In this session, the methodological and theoretical canvas of territorial ecology will be detailed, to show the mechanisms at play in a metabolic analysis of a certain space. The purpose of one such approach is to escape from the reductionist economy-centred vision of the urban fabric and to underline the necessity of having a look at resources, in an ecological perspective..

On a territory, circularity entails a transformation of the management of fluxes, in the objective of understanding and improving urban metabolism. The challenges linked with this type of methodology and how they can be translated into planning tools and industrial strategies will be discussed with participants


Daniel Florentin (ISIGE-MINES ParisTech) and Agnès Bastin (Sciences Po)

In this session, the urban fabric and the challenges of circularity will be explored through the lenses of one sector, the construction sector. Alongside the Grand Paris Express, the 2024 Olympics, the National Urban Renewal Project, the Paris metropolitan area is of central importance for the construction sector at a European level. Countless public works are already ongoing, populating the cities with numerous additional fluxes of matter. This creates new challenges of logistics, coordination and governance that will be covered in this session.

Participants will be also exposed to the complexities of transition theories frameworks, to complete the quantitative approach traditionally associated with territorial ecology. A sociology of the new stakeholders of the circular construction economy will be detailed, to underline the organisational transformations that are occurring. These transformations are not neutral and generate frictions, and various forms of lock-ins with the historic-linear model of the sector.  Through various cases in the Paris Metropolitan area, the participants will be able to understand the obstacles faced  by the construction sector to further develop practices of circularity and the conditions in which one such paradigm could possibly diffuse or infuse.

Friday 24 April 2020


Professor Franck Aggeri (MINES ParisTech)

 The implementation of circular economy has deep consequences for companies. The lecture will develop different aspects, from technical, legal and supply chain issues to new business models and governance topics within the new model. The lecturer is a reference scientist in the field of circular economy and has been working with amongst others automotive industry and electric and electronic industry.


The lecture will be based on both case studies and scientific references, mainly in management literature.


To conclude the bootcamp, the afternoon session is dedicated to final sharing time for the mini projects and pitches of the solutions proposed by the different teams, followed by a time for debrief and discussion with the academic team from VUB&ULB, Brussels and Mines ParisTech,Paris.