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System design to tackle plastic pollution in the plastic-packaging value chain

The PhD project will be linked to the UKRI funded project called PISCES: 'A systems analysis approach to reduce plastic waste in Indonesian societies'. In particular, it will support the 'Design' Work Package of the project. The Design WP aims to develop and test interventions to prevent and reduce plastic pollution and propose new plastic-packaging value chains for the Indonesian context.

The PhD researcher will work with an interdisciplinary team of academics, research fellows and other PhD researchers. The PhD researcher will have the opportunity to interact with a range of Indonesian and UK industries and organisations which are involved in the project. The PhD researcher will conduct part of the research activities in Indonesia.

The PhD research is in the area of socio-technical system design and the main goal is to create a design approach/method to develop and test circular plastic-packaging value chains proposals for the Indonesian context. To this end, the PhD researcher will build upon the results of the PISCES project activities

.Key research activities include:

  • Literature review on socio-technical system design and circular design (with a specific focus on the plastic-packaging sector).
  • Supporting/facilitating codesign workshops with academics, industries and organisations;
  • Developing a design approach/method to develop circular plastic-packaging value chains proposals;
  • Testing the the design approach/method through a combination of expert interviews, design workshops and case studies with companies.

Background in design is required. Prior knowledge in circular economy, circular design, design for sustainability is required.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Fabrizio Ceschin - I am a Reader in Design for Sustainability, coordinator of the Design for Sustainability research group and member of the Design for Sustainable Manufacturing research theme. I worked in the Design and Innovation for Sustainability research unit at Politecnico di Milano for six years before joining Brunel University London in 2012. I carry out research in the area of: - Design for Sustainability and Circular Economy, and in particular in developing principles, strategies and tools to innovate and design products, services, product-service systems and business models integrating environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability; - Co-design, and in particular on how to support multi-stakeholder and participatory design processes. Over the past years I have been involved in several international and national research projects, funded by the European Commission, EPSRC, Innovate UK, the British Council, SMEs and multinational enterprises. My research projects have resulted in more than 50 journal and conference publications and 4 books. I have been teaching in the area of design for sustainability over the past 15 years. I am currently teaching modules on Environmentally sensitive design (BA and BSc) and Sustainable design (MSc), and I am director of the MSc Integrated Product Design. I am member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, the Design Research Society and the British Industrial Design Association, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


I obtained a BSc and MSc equivalent degrees in Industrial Design awarded by Politecnico di Milano in Italy. In 2009 I started my doctoral research in design for sustainability at Politecnico di Milano, which was completed in 2012.

Related Research Group(s)

Design for Sustainability

Design for Sustainability - We focus on developing the theory and practice required to design solutions that foster environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability in areas ranging from materials and manufacturing to products, services, business models, bottom-up initiatives and socio-technical systems.