Circular Ship Design

The shipping and maritime industry is in the early stages of understanding and applying circular economy principles throughout the lifecycle of ships. The industry is facing major decarbonisation and sustainability efforts, a larger global fleet and an urgent need for more reuse and recycling capacity (SSI, 2BHonest, 2021). These circumstances are the ‘perfect storm’ and thus a great opportunity for the maritime industry to start applying circular principles throughout the lifecycle of every ship, starting from design.

About this Design Challenge

This design challenge invites maritime industry professionals to integrate circular design and business models into their daily practices. As a collective effort, this innovation track contributes to increasing the resilience of the industry and encourages a more systems-driven shift towards more circular practices.

Participants who were initially inspired during a workshop session now have the opportunity to further develop their ideas and concepts through the online skills course ‘Circular Innovation Manager’. This track includes an interim event in March 2024, where the ideas and concepts will be pitched to a range of interested business partners. In this way, we may take another step towards practical, impactful circular solutions.

Does a circular economy hold the potential to redefine shipping, from a commoditised service to a value-adding facilitator of a more circular flow of products, materials and services?

Source: The Circular Shipping Initiative

Get to know us

Meet our Partners

The kick-start of this Design Challenge is a co-production with the Maritime Campus Antwerp (MCA) and Switchers.

MCA aims to connect entrepreneurs developing sustainable and water-related businesses. The MCA community is broad and focuses on bringing together the different actors in the broad maritime sector at European level.

Switchrs is a strategic innovation agency that helps businesses and governments translate their sustainability ambitions into concrete actions and policies. They work with entrepreneurs to develop new business models and concepts that implement the circular economy at a strategic level.

Deepak Metah

Maritime Campus Antwerp (MCA)

Building an innovation-driven ecosystem for the challenges that the maritime sector faces. Challenges like sustainability and energy-transition but also HR and digitalisation. Reaching out to a diverse group of stakeholders from maritime to non-maritime, research to education, government to citizens to get them informed about the challenges, but also actively involved in the solutions.


Deepak Metah
Maritime Campus Antwerp (MCA)

Jan Leyssens

Cofounder Switchers

Jan Leyssens’ professional journey intertwines design thinking, sustainability, and entrepreneurship, rooted in his philosophy: “Impact = Purpose x Design x Entrepreneurship.” Since 2012, he has been a key player in the circular economy, engaging with diverse entities from grassroots projects to the European Commission, effectively translating complex theories into practical applications.

As the Cofounder of Switchrs, Jan’s expertise lies in coaching and guiding circular innovation managers to develop and implement transformative business models. His leadership role at We Are Impact Collective and participation in ImpactGenie highlight his dedication to fostering collaborative, impact-oriented change.

In addition to these roles, Jan offers strategic advisory services in European Union initiatives like the European Innovation Council (EIC) and WORTH, contributing valuable insights to sustainable innovation policy.


Jan Leyssens

Cofounder Switchrs

Inspiration Session

The Inspiration Session served as an initial kick-off, inviting industry experts to envision a circular future for the maritime industry. Focusing on innovation and sustainability, this interactive workshop laid the groundwork for participants to explore the potential of circular business and design principles.

As well as a general introduction to the concept of circularity, inspiration for the shipping industry was drawn from other industrial sectors, such as modular and circular design in the building, automotive and aerospace industries.

Watch the Inspiration Keynote and the recap of the Inspiration Session

Become a Circular Innovation Manager

In this online course you will learn how to introduce and facilitate circular innovation. You will define your role as an innovation manager and develop a circular business case for your company or organisation. By doing so, you will put circular innovation at the heart of your professional work.

The course has 5 loops: 1) Understanding the circular economy; 2) Exploring opportunities; 3) Designing strategies; 4) Validating business models; and 5) Pitching your case.

Innovation is not a magic trick. It is a process of learning by doing!

APPLY HERE before 12 January 2024 to become a true expert who uses its full potential to develop new business opportunities for your company.


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