A European project promotes the design of sustainable products and services

A European project promotes the design of sustainable products and services

The initiativeCircular Design: Learning for Innovative Design for Sustainability (L4IDS), financed by the Erasmus + program with close to one million euros, is framed in the field of innovation, the university and business and is aligned with European policies on the circular economy. Policies that are intended to find joint solutions that help minimize the environmental impact associated with consumption, using fewer resources and rethinking our operation as a society. In this sense, design is key when creating innovative solutions to current challenges, which have to consider the needs of the end user, as well as the sustainability criteria in processes and strategies for creating products and services.
An example of projects that are already being implemented in European countries are solutions to take advantage of food waste, such as the BreadEnergy project, promoted by one of the partner companies of the project and which aims to convert bread waste into green energy through a fermentation process. Other examples linked to project companies are the use of plastic-derived waste to produce ink for 3D printers or solutions for the pre-designed reuse of mass consumer products, such as the manufacture of modular smartphones that allow reducing the volume of waste of electronic materials.
Jordi Segalás, director of the Sustainability Institute of the UPC coordinator of the project, explains that one of the objectives of the project is the co-creation of knowledge and development of training materials with the aim of training, on the one hand, teaching staff of universities and business professionals; on the other hand, to students in the field of design, engineering and architecture, who learn strategies and methodologies in innovative design for sustainability.

Transdisciplinarity and business alliance

The project has the participation of a total of13 European partners, between universities, design centers and companies from Catalonia, Ireland, Holland and Sweden, and linked to engineering, architecture and design.

  • Universities: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech (UPC), project leader, the University of Limerick (UL), Ireland; the University of Applied Sciences (NHL) in the Netherlands and the Linköping University (LiU) in Sweden.
  • Design Promotion Centers: the BCD Barcelona Design Center, the Institute of Designers of Ireland (IDI), House of Design (HoD, Holland) and the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (SVID) of Sweden.
  • Business: NutCreatives (NutC) based in Catalonia; One Off, from Ireland; Better Future Factory (BFF) from the Netherlands and Habermann Design & Development (HD&D) from Sweden.

In addition, the Barcelona city council collaborates in the project through one of theCreative FabLabsof the Xarxa d’Ateneus de Fabricació, a set of creative laboratories, in which the use of innovative technologies is encouraged and which are open to the public.
Another of the common objectives of the partners is to train designers with entrepreneurial initiative who are capable of coping with the transition towards design for sustainability from a conventional design perspective, as well as to promote cooperation and mobility with European countries. involved in the project.
Segalás affirms that, to achieve this, "an international internship program will be developed for engineering, design and architecture students who will be hosted by companies and creative FabLabs."

Foundation for a future European network

The final results of this initiative must contribute to the creation of theEuropean Network of Design for Sustainability, a permanent European network that works actively to place design as a determining factor for the sustainability of products and services.

Source: UPC Institute of Sustainability

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