Science in Practice - University of Amsterdam

Science in Practice is a university course through which The Rock Group, the UvA, students, and participating companies work together in the transition towards a more sustainable economy. They do this by implementing circularity into the business models of both SME’s and larger organizations. Students learn about theoretical concepts of circular economy as well as skills used in business environments. Since 2015, over 250 students have taken the course and benefitted from the fresh perspective on society that it provides.

Context

Organized by TheRockGroup and the UvA, this course is aimed at eager students wanting to prepare for the future workforce. TRG started teaching this course in order to educate students on what skills and knowledge are truly relevant in society. Motivated by our passion for sustainable education and based on our expertise in circularity, each year we teach second year Bèta-Gamma students the ins and outs of circular economy. Besides teaching them about concepts such as Life Cycle Analysis and the Innovation Funnelway, we equip students with tools through which they can use their scientific knowledge to solve real life problems companies are facing.

Our Work

During the Science and Practice course, we coach 40 interdisciplinary students while they work on various cases for different kinds of companies and organizations. The theoretical part of the course contains lectures on circular economy. The students learn about the ways in which a circular economy interprets value differently than the traditional economic system. Students are also connected with experts in different fields through guest lectures. Visiting speakers have been Jacqueline Cramer (Amsterdam Economic Board), Lukas Hoex (DSM) and Jacques Reijnders (UvA).

During the practical part of the course, students are given a case and start to deepen their knowledge about the field in which that specific organization operates. In the context of previously learned theory and with the guidance of TheRockGroup, students use their training to solve the business cases. These cases are always varied to reflect the expertise of TheRockGroup. They consist of topics in society and business, some concrete examples being impact assessment, innovation trajectories and policy making. This approach facilitates fruitful collaboration, through which both students and businesses gain new perspectives leading to growth.