The world is moving from a linear ‘cradle-to-grave’ economy to a more sustainable circular ‘cradle-to-cradle’ economy. In this new world, it’s critical to determine if alternative (biobased) resources have the potential to become economically viable sustainable sources for the production of high value food and materials, feed and energy. This requires the development of feasible biobased business strategies and the skills to apply these strategies to operations and logistics. Companies that want to succeed in this industry must be prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
This MicroMasters programme consists of three courses and a capstone. The courses will teach you about the basics of biobased materials/natural resources and their conversion to useful products and services. This will help you to understand and evaluate strategic, technological, and operational aspects of running a biobased business and therefore understand the dynamics in biobased business investments and the factors that influence them. You will learn to design and evaluate biobased supply (and value) chains using quantitative methods.
In the final course you will perform a capstone project in which you apply the knowledge from all courses to your own business case, which gives you the opportunity to receive feedback from experts in the field of biobased business and operations.
Completion of this MicroMasters programme in Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy will provide you with knowledge and tools to analyze the business and operations sides of the switch from fossil to renewable, biobased resources. Upon earning the programme certificate, you will be able to contribute substantially to managerial decision-making, as well as deal with issues regarding supply chain management and planning.
Subscribe now to this MicroMasters programme and learn how to implement natural resource/biobased resource business models and seize this economic opportunity that lies ahead!
Courses under this program: Course 1: Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Join the transition towards a circular economy considering economic, supply chain, social, technical, managerial and environmental aspects.
Course 2: From Fossil Resources to Biomass: A Chemistry Perspective
Explore how to create a sustainable future by moving away from dependence on fossil resources to biomass resources for the production of food, chemicals and energy-carriers. Discover how to use microorganisms and catalysts to create biobased products.
Course 3: Business Strategy and Operations in a Biobased Economy
Lead your company to make the switch to biobased resources and build a profitable sustainable business. Learn how to deal with the many strategic and operational challenges facing a companyin the biobased and circular economy.
Course 4: Capstone Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy
This capstone project is the final part of the MicroMasters® Program Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy. Interdisciplinarity is central in this part, linking the various sections in this MicroMasters Program.
Do you want to contribute to a more sustainable society? Tackle the challenges in the transition towards a circular economy? In this course you will analyse what it takes to create a circular economy including sustainable supply chains.
The transition towards a circular economy is one of the biggest challenges in order to create a more sustainable society. This transition requires circular thinking and an interdisciplinary approach, combining socio-technical, managerial, and environmental considerations.
Right now we design products from cradle to grave: from production to consumption to waste, which is a linear model. But we should design products from cradle to cradle: in a closed loop whereby they don't become waste, but valuable resources again. And when we start thinking in circles, we might as well try to reinvent not just supply chains, but entire systems. Because that's what we have been doing with sustainability: we have been departing from the status quo, while cradle to cradle and circular pushes us to think outside the box.
Cradle to Cradle celebrates abundance; it recognizes that people, just like ants and trees, are abundant and have a large impact on their environment. The challenge is to make this impact a positive one and we invite you to join this challenge!
In the MOOC Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach, we therefore take a systems approach to the circular economy, considering different stakeholder perspectives, their incentive structures, and their impact on circular alternatives.
The circular solutions will be assessed by using applied, as well as emerging, technologies. You will learn how to use life cycle assessment and agent-based modelling to assess the socio-technical and manageable challenges and environmental benefits of alternative solutions.
The upcoming years are all about creating a sustainable future where it is necessary to move away from fossil resources and explore and implement the opportunities that biomass as a renewable energy source gives us.
Join this course if you want to learn how to create a sustainable future by moving away from dependence on fossil resources to biomass resources for the production of food, chemicals and energy-carriers. You will learn what biomass is, how to produce biomass renewable energy- and biomass fuel and how to make biobased products.
You will get a solid understanding of how chemistry works in a biobased economy and in the production of biomass renewable products. Your valuable knowledge will help your company drive into sustainability and actually make the transition to use biomass resources to produce biobased products.
You will learn about the products that can be derived from biomass and the processes used to do so.
We will explore catalytic conversion of biomass by discussing types of catalysts, special challenges for catalysis when converting biomass into biomass energy and the interplay of catalysis and up/down stream processes. Then we dive into biorefinery. Biorefinery deals with the challenge of extracting valuable biomass components and converting them to final products. To achieve this you first need knowledge of the different types of biomass, the molecules present and their chemical characteristics. Biorefinery is all about efficient processing. Aspects of processing include the harvesting, pre-treatments, conversion and separation technologies.
Stating the obvious; a biobased economy runs on biomass. To apply the gained knowledge to the production of crops, it is therefore important to understand which factors play a major role in crop growth, yield formation and quality. In this module you’ll learn to identify design criteria for the production of biobased crops on both crop- and farm level.
The Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy MicroMasters Program will provide you with the knowledge and tools to analyse the business and operations side of the switch to biobased products.
The MicroMasters Program Economics and Policies for a Circular Bio-Economy covers the economic and policy side of converting biological resources into biobased products. You will able to contribute substantially to managerial decision-making as well as policy development. Both programmes consist of 3 courses and a final project; the capstone.
Explore the other courses in the MicroMasters programmes:
“Sustainable growth business models are the beginning of a solution — they aim to optimize the use of resources and fossil energy, and to reduce waste flows and emissions (eco- efficiency). Structuring a (more) circular business model is a logical next step. A circular economy is the logical and more hands-on approach to sustainable thinking and acting. Besides a clear link to cost reduction, the principles of a circular economy have an even stronger link to value creation and innovations at system level". From the document “Circular Economy” of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition.
To contribute to the bio-society in 2050 you should know what a business model of a company in the biobased and circular economy comprise of. Does it always require cross-company collaborative efforts to succeed in this sector? What operational supply chain challenges have to be dealt with to ensure efficient and sustainable production networks? And how can managerial decision-making be supported by quantitative methods?
Join the MOOC Business Strategy and Operations in a Biobased Economy if you want to be able to answer these questions and gain a solid understanding of the business side of the biobased and circular economy.
The course contains two key business perspectives. It starts with relevant strategic management considerations such as the trends impacting the transition of businesses and value chains towards a more circular economy, their multi-stakeholder collaboration, and the development of feasible biobased business models. Then, the course continues with operational considerations, on e.g. supply chain management issues, different types of planning problems that are encountered, and the development of decision support for the design and operations of biobased supply chains.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain the skills on a strategic- and operational level to transform your company’s business model in a conscious, sustainable and profitable one.
A series of 3 courses and a final capstone project that will provide you with the knowledge and tools to analyse the business and operations side of the switch to biobased products. You will be able to contribute to managerial decision-making, as well as deal with supply chain management and planning.
Explore the other courses in this MicroMasters Program:
Please note: The capstone project is only accessible for ID-verified MicroMasters Program learners who successfully obtained verified certificate in all MicroMasters Program courses.
In the first three courses of the MicroMasters Program, you will learn about all the different steps in a biobased process and the business and operations aspects you should consider before choosing a certain process. In this capstone project, you will work on integrating the technological section with the business and operations sections to develop a sustainable biobased practice. The focus is on linking the various aspects into an integral research, based on literature research and applied to a practical case.
The final product in this capstone project is a written report. From a business perspective, you will write an advice for an audience of your choice, for example the executive board of a company, an investor or a governmental agency. You are free to choose the subjects you want to address in this advice. This means you get the opportunity to work on a case of your choice and receive feedback from experts in the field.
In order to find the information and publications you need, you will get tips and advice on how to do proper literature research. Along the way, you will get feedback on your proposal, draft and final report. The final report should reflect the academic research capabilities on a master's level, i.e. defining a research proposal, proper literature research, methodology, data, results and conclusions and discussion.
Maria Barbosa, Jan Vreeburg, Jacqueline Bloemhof, Jos Bijman, Argyris Kanellopoulos, Dmytro Krushynskyi, Kim Poldner, David Strik, Alistair Beames, Gert Jan Hofstede, Harry Bitter, Corjan van den Berg, Paul Struik, Elinor Scott, Emiel Wubben and Renzo Akkerman