Dr. Julian Kirchherr

Dr. Julian Kirchherr

Assistant Professor
Dynamics of Innovation Systems

“Scenarios can help policymakers and companies to provide clearer direction and to better understand and anticipate the consequences of a transition to a circular future.”

Research focus: Circular economy, Sustainability transitions

Dr. Julian Kirchherr is a researcher at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (CISD) at Utrecht University and Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company. He started his work at CISD as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2017. Julian holds a doctorate from the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.

Focus on sustainable transitions

Much of Julian's research investigates sustainability transitions and the role the private sector can play in these. Most of his current work investigates the circular economy concept as a vehicle for such transitions. For instance, he’s the Principle Investigator (PI) of the NWO-funded research project Transitioning Towards a Circular Economy: The Role of Circular Start-up Hubs. He also supervises several PhD projects on the circular economy.

Articles and interviews

Julian has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles in academic journals such as Global Environmental Change, Ecological Economics, World Development and Energy Policy. He has authored some of the most influential and highly cited works in the circular economy literature and was recently also recognized as being among the top 2% of scientists worldwide, according to the Stanford University database of most cited scientists. In addition, his work on sustainability transitions has been featured in media outlets such as BBC, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal

Author of The Lean PhD

He’s the author of the book The Lean PhD which is about maximizing research's impact beyond academia. The book has been featured in news outlets such as The Guardian Times Higher Education (THE) and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Previous work

He ran a (rather unsuccessful) early stage start-up in London and Singapore and he’s served as a City Councilor in Werl, Germany.