Researcher in Measuring Progress of the Circular Economy
Catholic University of Leuven

The research group “sustainability assessments of materials and circular economy” (SAM) brings together researchers who are motivated to strengthen Circular Economy strategies by well-founded scientific insights. We develop monitoring and perform assessments of the environmental, economic and social hurdles and opportunities of circular technologies. The research position is embedded in the Sustainability Assessments of Material life cycles research group of the department of Materials Engineering of KU Leuven, and makes part of a larger research project called the Circular Economy Policy Research Centre funded by the Flemish Government. This centre performs policy research in order to monitor, stimulate and contextualise the progress of the Flemish region towards a circular economy. It consists of eight interdisciplinary and complementary research lines and is a joint venture of KU Leuven, UAntwerpen, UGent and VITO. Currently, we are looking for a motivated researcher in the field of circular economy and environmental and economic impact assessments.


The objective of the research is to develop indicators to monitor the progress towards a circular economy at different levels. The goal of the monitor is to provide feedback to policy and decision makers on the dynamics of the transition towards a circular economy. The work will consist of making an inventory of data sources and interacting with a broad range of stakeholders like administration, companies and industry federations and societal organisations, this more in particular in the fields of consumer goods and electronics, and/or housing. The work will elaborate on a concept recently developed in our group in which the measurement of circular economy takes place via monitoring the fulfillment of societal needs with products and services.

You will also prepare an application for a PhD project elaborating on sustainability modelling frameworks, including MFA, consequential LCA, LCSA, economic modelling and use this models to study the effects of policy instruments.


  • You have obtained a Master of Science in Engineering (Engineering Science or Bioscience Engineering, with strong interest in economics) or Economics. You have obtained this degree in 2018 or later, and at least distinguished yourself from other fellow students with excellent academic results.
  • Specific expertise in one or more of the following areas is an asset: LCA, MFA, economic modelling, environmental LCC.
  • You can demonstrate your interest in sustainability issues and global challenges like circular economy as well as in policy design.
  • You have a scientific, critical attitude and you are interested in interdisciplinary research. 
  • You have good communication and presentation skills, proficient in English (Dutch is an asset, but not a requirement).
  • You have an independent working style, and at the same time also a good team player.


We offer a research position for one year in a very attractive international research environment, with an excellent track record in sustainable materials management and environmental economics. This research position can be extended to a 4 year PhD position within this field upon successful approval of a PhD proposal.
The position is promoted by Prof. Karel Van Acker (Faculty of Engineering Science, Department Materials Engineering and Faculty of Economics and Business, Centre for Economics and Corporate Sustainability). The research group “Sustainability Assessments of Materials and Circular Economy” (SAM) currently consists of 7 PhDs and 4 postdocs. Ongoing projects include a.o. assessment of cascading of wood, the development of new bio-based composite materials, the valorisation of industrial residues, sharing economy, and the development of new indicators for the circular economy. Typically, tools such as (C)LCA, LCSA, MFA, exergy analysis, CBA, partial equilibrium modelling, etc. are used and refined. We host the policy research centre “Circular Economy” for the Flemish Government and make part of the interdisciplinary KU Leuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals (SIM²).  


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Karel Van Acker, tel.: +32 16 32 12 71, mail: or Mr. Luc Alaerts, tel.: +32 16 32 49 69, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than July 15, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: July 15, 2020
  • Tags: Materiaalkunde

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