Generating Social Value and Improving Community Well-being through Circular Economy Hubs

ESRC Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) collaborative doctoral studentship.

The Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel University with West London Waste Authority (WLWA).



Professor David Gallear, Brunel University London

Dr Eleni Iacovidou, Brunel University London

Professor Louise Mansfield, Brunel University London

Mr Joe Pusey, West London Waste Authority



Community well-being and planetary health are pressing societal challenges that have gained increased attention over the past decades, operating in tandem and requiring innovative, agile, collaborative, and shared responses. The engagement of community members in the co-delivery of community-facing, evidence-based initiatives aimed at improving the natural environment, creating economic benefits and shared social values amongst community members, is known to make a significant contribution to community well-being and planetary health.

Circular economy (CE) hubs that promote ‘reuse’ and ‘repair’ of wasted or no longer-wanted materials, components and products have the potential to help address these important societal needs. Circularity not only prolongs the life of these items, but provides access to them to those who might otherwise find them out of reach and reduces waste, promoting well-being and sustainability. Reuse invariably requires repair/refurbishment, and redistribution tailored to local context-specific needs, providing opportunities for community involvement in the transformation processes, upskilling and employment, and wider social value generation. However, growth in repair/reuse is largely yet to happen despite calls from the waste and resource sector and policymakers for its direct contribution to addressing resource efficiency, overconsumption, carbon intensification, economic disparities, and community-based inertia. A hitherto limited understanding of CE model design as it applies to reuse, is compounded by a paucity of insight into community co-design and stakeholder engagement approaches in this context.

West London Waste Authority (WLWA) is committed to creating a CE-Hub in Acton West London to catalyse repair/reuse for the benefit of the environment and the community's well-being. The site and satellite activities will be developed incrementally and organically with delivery partners and community representatives. In collaboration with WLWA and with special relevance to the CE Hub at Acton, this original research project will address the urgent need to rigorously establish the factors influencing the effective co-design of circular economy hubs with a repair/reuse focus, as pathways for improving environmental protection and community well-being, and the generation of social value.



West London Waste Authority (WLWA) is a statutory waste disposal authority responsible for disposing of waste produced by 1.7 million residents, collected across the London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames. WLWA and the boroughs work in partnership to increase recycling rates and diversion from landfill, sharing best practice and changes in legislation that could impact on waste management operations and policy. WLWA are committed to working collaboratively through partnership to shape and expand circular economy capabilities. WLWA will provide on-site support for the research within a developmental and collaborative working environment, access to participants from the CE-Hub, delivery partners, community representatives, and relevant stakeholders, and to key knowledge exchange events. The collaborative approach will enable robust evidence on how value can be given back to the community through CE hubs, including identifying alternative and complementary repair/reuse designs that promote physical and general health and well-being, and the creation of bespoke but transferrable community education and training opportunities.



The PhD studentship will be funded by the Grand Union DTP for an expected 3.5 years (or part-time equivalent) from October 20243. The award length offered may differ depending on the candidate’s prior training and how they meet ESRC training requirements. The part-time option is only available to students with a Home status, or those that do not require a Visa for study in the UK.

Information about Grand Union DTP ESRC studentships and eligibility can be found on the Grand Union DTP website



12:00 midday UK time on 12th January 2024



To apply for the studentship you must submit:

  1. A Grand Union DTP Application form, downloadable from:
  2. 2000 word research proposal including references. Your proposal can draw on the description of the research detailed above.
  3. Two written references, they should have a good knowledge of your academic record to date and your plans for the research project. They should be in a position to judge your suitability and preparedness for doctoral study. Only one of your two referees can be a member of your proposed (or actual) supervisory team. You may ask the supervisor of your Masters dissertation to be one of your referees. References must include: The referee’s name and their relationship to you and comment on your previous performance/achievements
  4. Your up-to-date CV;
  5. Your single A4 page, single-spaced personal statement setting out why you are interested in undertaking this project;
  6. Your degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  7. Evidence of your English language capability to IELTS 7.0 or equivalent, if appropriate;
  8. Completed Equal Opportunities form

Please email all completed documents to with the subject header –Wellbeing ESRC Studentship application by 12th January 2024.

The admissions process is in two parts: applications will be assessed by the institution and the selected candidate will then be assessed as part of the applicant pool for ESRC Grand Union DTP funding.



Queries about the studentship should be addressed to: Professor David Gallear (; Emma Smith, Post Award Officer (