Project CIRCULAR X – Experimentation with Circular Service Business Models


CIRCULAR X is a new publicly funded research project about ‘Experimentation with Circular Service Business Models’. Here more information can be found about the project.

CIRCULAR X is an ambitious research project funded by the prestigious European Research Council (ERC), which ‘supports top researchers from anywhere in the world’. The project will start on 1 April 2020 and will run for 5 years.  The project is led by Principal Investigator (PI) Nancy Bocken, based at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI) at Maastricht University, Netherlands, who will research this topic for at least the next 5 years and will recruit a fulltime PhD researcher and two fulltime Postdoctoral researchers to jointly work on this research project. The project will take place in close cooperation with businesses – from small start-ups to large multinationals – who want to innovate towards the circular economy.


With increasing pressures on resources and the climate it is clear that a new way of doing business is needed. The Circular Economy is a potential key driver for sustainability and competitiveness. In contrast to the current ‘linear economy’, in a Circular Economy, materials  are kept at their highest utility at all times. Despite great policy, business and academic interest, knowledge on how to ‘implement’ the Circular Economy in business is lacking.

Project CIRCULAR X addresses a new and urgent issue in sustainability research: experimentation with circular service business models (CSBMs). Examples of such new business models include companies shifting from selling products to selling services and introducing lifelong warrantees and maintenance and repair services to extend product lifetimes. However, CSBMs are far from mainstream and experimentation focused on experimentation with new CSBMs is little understood.

Project CIRCULAR X will bridge and expand knowledge on experimentation approaches across disciplines such as sustainability, design, business and entrepreneurship research. It will develop novel concepts, tools and labs by bridging these diverse research fields.  CIRCULAR X aims to advance understandings on how CSBMs manifest themselves in business and how these can be experimented with, which will ultimately advance business activities towards a circular economy transition.

Timing and funding

CIRCULAR X is run between 2020-2025 by Maastricht University, Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI) and is funded by the European Union. This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No. 850159. Principal Investigator of the CIRCULAR X is research programme is Professor Nancy Bocken, based at Maastricht University, Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI). For any information and potential collaboration, feel free to contact me via LinkedIn or email. A new website related to the project will follow soon, but key outputs will also be posted here.