Rochester Institute of Technology

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Office of Multilateral Affairs (EAP/MLA) is funding a two-year project led by two Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) professors, Clyde Eirikur Hull and Eric Williams, to help the Southeast Asian region establish entrepreneurships based on the circular economy (CE). The $1 million grant will assist the two RIT professors in identifying incubators and other organizations in the region interested in advancing entrepreneurships that employ circular economy practices. The project lead, Professor Clyde Hull, says that, “This project, by using sustainability science to identify circular economy opportunities and helping new and existing businesses pursue them, represents a new form of cooperation on science and technology development and R&D between the public and private sector—cooperation that has a strong circular economy focus and is interdisciplinary.”

According to Hull and Williams, the project includes engaging with partners such as business incubators, local universities, and non-governmental organizations in the ASEAN region to gain a deep understanding of local challenges and opportunities. It also analyzes the status of electronic waste in terms of economic opportunity, environmental challenges, and the governing regulatory framework, with a keen focus on opportunities for new technology to replace older, more wasteful practices.

Through the development of circular economy business models and sharing them with local partners, the project aims to both lead the incubation of new CE businesses in local incubators and help existing businesses migrate to circular economy technology and solutions.