Patrizia Ghisellini carries out her research at the Department of Science and Technology of the University of Naples Parthenope. Its research interests range from assessing the sustainability of energy sources and energy carriers, of agriculture also urban to include sustainable production and consumption and the implementation of the circular economy and certification systems related to them. On the theme of circular economy he is co-author of several articles published in international literature. One of them, published in 2016 in the prestigious international journal Journal of Cleaner Production, was recently awarded for the high interest from readers and the number of citations. The Journal of Cleaner Production’s interview with the authors on the occasion of the award ceremony is available on the following web page: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-cleaner-production/news/author-story-dr-ghisellini-dr-cialani-and-professor-ulgiati
1. How does the project “Analysis of the metabolism of urban conglomerates and the cooperative strategy of the circular economy” fit into your research path?
For some years I have been working in the field of circular economy research. I have had the opportunity to evaluate its characteristic theoretical and practical elements and therefore related to its adoption throughout society, in companies, in eco-industrial parks and in some sectors such as construction and demolition. This last sector, together with others, has been identified as a priority at European level for the high environmental impact in terms of resource consumption and waste. My previous research activity has been useful in the pursuit of the objectives of the project and in turn through it has been further enhanced in the various aspects both socio-economic and environmental. My university education is by nature interdisciplinary being environmental and sustainable development economist.
2. What is your specific contribution to the research activities of the project? What are the possible applications of this research in the future?
My contribution to the project concerned the assessment of the application of the circular economy in certain sectors relevant to their environmental impact in terms of waste generation, including those in the construction and demolition sectors, in the agri-food sector, electrical and electronic equipment and municipal solid waste. The analysis of the construction and demolition waste sector has been carried out in more depth than the others, given my previous experience and also the greater availability of data obtained thanks to the collaboration with the ARPAC of the Campania Region, the University of Salerno which is part of the Matteo Ricci Network and other experts in the field also part of our research group. The results obtained may be useful for further investigation in the field of scientific research and practical application at the political-decision level, since we have identified eg. the strengths and weaknesses of the waste management system.
As part of the project we also collaborated with the Metropolitan City of Naples where our scientific contribution has served to assess the environmental benefits, economic and social aspects of their ambitious urban forestation project, which is one of the main measures to combat climate change implemented in the Metropolitan Strategic Plan. Nothing is more circular than a tree and therefore a forest since their life depends on natural nutrients such as water, solar energy and carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere. The tree, by subtracting Co2 through the process of chlorophyll photosynthesis, reduces the accumulation of this substance in the atmosphere and consequently the contribution to the greenhouse effect since the latter depends on the concentration of some gases including CO2, increased significantly after the industrial era due to human activities.
3. During the project, meetings and scientific visits, joint publication of works, exchange activities and mobility of young Chinese researchers were organized. What added value have they brought to your professional experience?
The scientific visits carried out, including that of Prof. Gengyuan Liu and his group of undergraduates as well as the periods of mobility implemented by his Chinese doctoral students at our university have contributed to further enrich my professional experience from a cultural and human point of view. The interaction continued further after periods of mobility as several articles were produced where we summarized the main results of the joint research activity.
4. What continuity do you see in the relations implemented with Chinese scholars during the project? Do you see, or have you already started, paths for future joint initiatives?
We are organising EU projects as part of the European Call Horizon 2020 Green Deal on circular economy issues and the fight against climate change. We are also carrying out research through surveys with questionnaires aimed at assessing the perception of the transition to the circular economy in different categories of producers and consumers as part of an EU H2020 project currently underway (PROCEEDS, Promoting Circular Economy in the Food Supply Chain). This latest research is likely to be carried out in China as well, so that the perception of the transition to the circular economy can be assessed in this area.
5. What mutual benefit can universities that have participated in the research project receive?
The project has brought several advantages such as: the development of joint projects to acquire funds, the exchange of young researchers for the acquisition of further professionalism, the exchange of knowledge and synergy in research. The latter are important aspects of research and collaboration between groups that can emerge. In this case, in fact, the creation of a scientific community around a project is generating multiplicative effects that go far beyond those achievable from the sum of research activities of each individual partner group of the project precisely because joint collaboration is created particular synergies.