MISE: Sustainability and Circular Economy

From sustainable raw material sourcing and product design to sustainable manufacturing, circular business models and end-of-life product recovery systems: we support companies that are reinventing products, processes and technologies leading to a lower-carbon future. Digital technologies in particular play a critical role in enabling restorative industrial production systems.

Within this research stream, we focus on:

  • Life cycle assessment of product systems
  • Ideation and validation of circular business models for repair, reuse, remanufacture and recycle
  • Identification of value chain opportunities for the application of Industry 4.0 technologies to enable circularity along the value chain
  • Dynamic modelling of circular value chains, including product diffusion and customer uptake of circular products and the modelling of related socio-technical and environmental variables

Research projects

We are one of the academic partners within the Horizon 2020 project CIRCUSOL. One of the strategies being investigated by the CIRCUSOL consortium concerns the refurbishment of decommissioned, failed or degraded PV modules for their recommissioning as second-life products. A second important strategy aims to remove the barriers for the use of second-life EV batteries as renewable energy storage units. At BFH, we are in charge of developing a system dynamics simulation model aimed at scenario and policy analysis that will account for social, technical, environmental and economic drivers and barriers for the diffusion of second-life PV modules and LIBs. A second task relates to the development of an asset database that will record information on the performance of first-life assets with the purpose of determining its residual value for second-life use.


  • Franco, M. A. (2021). Buyer-supplier collaboration for eco-innovations in a circular economy: A network theory approach. Sustainable Innovation: Strategy, Process, and Impact. C. L. Voinea, N. Roijakkers and W. Ooms, Routledge/ Taylor & Francis 

  • Franco, M. A. (2019). "A system dynamics approach to product design and business model strategies for the circular economy." Journal of Cleaner Production 241: 118327. 

  • Franco, M. A. (2017). "Circular economy at the micro level: A dynamic view of incumbents’ struggles and challenges in the textile industry." Journal of Cleaner Production 168: 833-845.