Circular Economy Business Models 

Starting: September 1st, 2023

Registration deadline: June 26th, 2023

Location: Steinkjer + Online


Registration is closed

Students register to this course here + at Nord.

Course leader

Practical info

This course will be on site at Steinkjer and online. The responsible institution is Nord. To be admitted to the course you must register both here and at Nord.

Important! Registration is binding! Do not register for a course unless you are sure that you can attend.
Course participants must register in two ways:

  1. Register to Photosyntech using the form at the top of this page
  2. Register through Nord, the host university through here.
  • Nord students must register through studentweb by June 26th, 2023.
  • Non-Nord students must request guest status from Nord by June 26th, 2023.

Link to Nord university’s course page

Course content

This course provides an introduction to the main research topics and discussions related to sustainability and circular economy, and the related business models. The course will draw from research from a broad specter of industries but will focus specifically on the bio-based industries.

The course will be delivered in two parts:

The first part consists of two digital sessions and includes introductory lectures to present the major research questions, literature streams, concepts and discourses in the field of circularity and circular business models.

The second part is a physical gathering at the InnoCamp in Steinkjer in conjunction with the AgriTech Nordic Conference. This conference gather academic and business leaders from agriculture, aquaculture and forestry from all over the Nordics. The venue-sharing with AgriTech Nordic will allow the course participants access to a practical arena with innovative projects relevant to the themes of the course. In Steinkjer, we will continue the scholarly lectures and discussion, but as many of the innovators in the Nordic bio-industries also are present we will also investigate the practical side of introducing sustainability innovations and circular business models in the food industry. We will also discuss the commercialization and circularity aspects of students’ own PhD work. 

More details on content

This course provides an introduction to the main research topics and discussions related to sustainability and circular economy, and the related business models. The course will draw from research from a broad specter of industries but will focus specifically on the bio-based industries.  

The content is based on four parts:

  1. First, we will introduce the concepts of sustainability and circularity, and how an innovative bio-industry can help mitigating environmental and social issues in the society, while at the same time creating economic value and competitiveness. We will discuss the principles of circular economy and sustainable business activities with focus on circular business models.  
  2. Second, we will look at research on the business opportunities that emerge as a consequence of the sustainability shift. We will deal with challenges related to the implementation of circular economy business models. This part will also deal with challenges related to transition to circularity, such as coordinated activities across circular value chains, collaborative activities across traditional industry boundaries and with academia, and management of innovations portfolios. 
  3. Third, the course will build on both research and real examples of circular business models from a range of industries – including the bio-industries – and we will discuss boundary cases and the applicability of different models in bio-based industries.  
  4. Fourth, the course will introduce the concepts of innovation, innovation management and commercialization of science-based knowledge for circular economy. Here we will discuss the general challenges and economic discourses related to entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialization, that will be relevant for the further discussion, in relation to the PhD projects of the students and their potential. 

Learning outcome

The course objective is that the students should master the main contributions and scholarly discussions of the literature on sustainable and circular business models and are able to relate these literature streams to bio-economy in general and specifically to their own research. 


  • Advanced knowledge about circular economy principles and business models for circular and sustainable business; 
  • Deepened understanding of the application of circular business models and theoretical perspectives in circular businesses across different contexts, and in particular within bio-economy; 
  • Knowledge about how innovation and commercialization processes can transform businesses and industries towards a circular economy 


  • To analyze and critically assess the foundations of circular business models within bio-economy 
  • To analyze the complex interplay between the economic, social, and environmental issues related to circular business models. 
  • To apply knowledge to manage an independent analysis of a circular business model elements within own work and other real-life cases, and be able identify, analyze and construct solutions for a given problem. 
  • To identify and evaluate innovative opportunities for value-creation from adapting circular economy principles via understanding commercialization opportunities and potential. 

General competence

  • Ability to critically analyze opportunities and challenges of circular business models and their significance for business in different contexts, but in particular as related to the bio-economy 
  • Ability to critically read, review, present and discuss top research papers in the area of circular economy, innovation and commercialization 
  • Ability to display creativity in designing and implementing circular economy innovation in new and established businesses and demonstrate thorough understanding of its impact across the wider ecosystem 
  • Ability to communicate research and development work and participate in a high quality academic dialogue in the area of circularity, innovation and commercialization

Course dates

Kick off and digital Session 1:September 1st
Digital Session 2:September 8th  
Pre-physical workshop short preparatory assignment: Due September 14th 
Physical 3-day Workshop in SteinkjerSeptember 20th-22nd  
Digital Wrap up and term paper presentation: October 26th 
Delivering the term paper: November 15th  

Admission deadline

Registration is closed.

Admission requirements

To apply for this course you must be a PhD candidate at one of the Norwegian institutions.

The course will be arranged with a minimum number of 8 students. Maximum participants: 25.

If the number of applicants exceeds the number of places available, applicants will be ranked in this order:

  1. Photosyntech PhD candidate members
  2. Nord PhD candidates
  3. Other.




Assessment task (written preparatory assignment, max 900 words – pass/fail) and written home exam (Term paper, max 3000 words, A-F).