Research - 17.05.2023 - 14:48 

The HSG participates in research for a sustainable economy

The University of St.Gallen (HSG) was significantly involved in the National Research Programme 73 (NRP 73), which focused on a transformation towards a sustainable economy. Over five years, NRP 73 comprised 29 research projects with 210 researchers and 85 partner organisations and a budget of CHF 20 million. At the end of the programme, key findings have now been presented to the public.
At the final media conference, Prof. Dr. Regina Betz, Co-President NRP 73, ZHAW, Prof. Dr. Philippe Thalmann, EPFL, Prof. Dr. Karolin Frankenberger, University of St.Gallen (HSG) and Prof. Dr. Johanna Jacobi, ETH Zurich presented the results together with the SNSF Research Council delegate, Prof. Dr. Max Bergmann from the University of Basel.

The focus of NRP 73 was research on the transformation towards a sustainable economy. In addition to the sustainable use of resources in the Swiss economy, the programme addressed the question of the entrepreneurial potential of ecological sustainability. In addition, NRP 73 made concrete recommendations to decision-makers in politics, business and society. The programme is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Groundbreaking research on the circular economy

A flagship project within the framework of NRP 73 was the LACE project "Laboratory for Applied Circular Economy", which was spearheaded at HSG by Prof. Dr. Karolin Frankenberger and Dr. Fabian Takacs. Together with the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) and the University of Lausanne, they made a far-reaching contribution to establishing and researching the circular economy in this project.

Insight was gained into the innovation potential of resource-conserving and sustainable business models and ecosystems. The HSG team conducted practical research together with Swiss companies such as Schoeller Textil AG and V-Zug AG, for which they received the HSG Impact Award in 2020. Shortly afterwards, they published groundbreaking research on circular business models in the Harvard Business Review. Together with colleagues from EMPA and the University of Lausanne, they published on the fundamentals of the circular economy and planetary boundaries and hindering factors in the circular economy in Swiss SME businesses. "We need to decouple economic growth from resource consumption," Karolin Frankenberger told Radio SRF. The “Echo der Zeit” radio report summarizes the key messages of the media conference.

Recommendations to policy makers

At the end of NRP73, a white paper was also presented that contains recommendations for policy makers on the transition to a sustainable economy. It is aimed at policy makers as well as the private sector and the public. The white paper contains an overview of the political framework as well as a series of recommendations and measures to accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy in Switzerland.

What's next at HSG: Circular Lab

What was initiated by the NRP73 project is now being continued by the Competence Center Circular Economy at the Institute of Business Administration at the University of St.Gallen. It dedicates its activities to research and practical work in the area of the Circular Economy. The team led by Prof. Karolin Frankenberger and Prof. Simon Mayer acquired two million euros in Interreg funding for research and implementation of the Circular Economy in the Lake Constance region for HSG and together with other universities and practice partners. The participating universities and more than 30 practice partners are contributing the same amount. The goal is to successfully implement circular solutions and to network the actors in the region. The focus is on the textile industry as well as the agricultural and food industry.

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