• Milica Stanković The Academy of Applied Technical and Preschool Studies, Republic of Serbia
  • Jovana Džoljić The Academy of Applied Technical and Preschool Studies, Republic of Serbia
  • Branislav Dimitrijević The Academy of Applied Technical and Preschool Studies, Republic of Serbia


circular economics, STEM, engineering, linear economics


The concept of the circular economy is high on the political agenda at EU level and globally, as this new
economic system provides solutions to urgent problems caused by overproduction and consumption. Solutions used
in traditional or linear economic systems are not sustainable. The advantages of switching to a circular economy far
outweigh the disadvantages. However, a lot of effort is needed to move from conceptualization to implementation.
This, of course, requires prioritizing investment in innovation, using new technological solutions and an adequate set
of skills and competencies. Engineers and STEM professionals are at the forefront of new technological
development and innovation. Therefore, it is assumed that the transition to a circular economy will increase the
demand for new skills within the engineering and STEM sectors. However, there is very limited knowledge about
what skills are needed for this transition and whether these skills are provided in the STEM field of education.
Business leaders, policy makers, academics and NGOs argue that it is necessary to turn to the circular economy in
order to address global environmental, climate and economic challenges. Global trends are moving towards a
circular economy to replace linear economy and waste management. The transition to a circular economy implies
significant changes in current industrial systems and business models. Transitions are defined as shifts from one
socio-technical system to another, and require multiple changes in technologies, markets, legislation, and common
practices. Technological innovations are at the core of such transitions where system changes occur through the
intertwining of technology and society. STEM professionals and engineers therefore have a key role to play in
developing the necessary innovations and initiating the transition to a circular economy. Studies emphasize that in
the future, every STEM professional should be able to implement circular thinking in their work. STEM
professionals are key stakeholders in the circular economy, due to their central position and role in the design and
development of technology. It is important to develop the competencies of STEM professionals in order to use the
full potential of the circular economy. Circular thinking should be incorporated into engineering practices. All
STEM professionals should have at least knowledge of technical and analytical frameworks related to circular
design and business models, as well as digitization that supports the creation of circular solutions. Interdisciplinary
cooperation is fundamental to circular transition. The paper presents the framework of circular economy
competencies (CEC). The aim of this paper is to point out the importance of circular economy and the competencies
of STEM professionals.


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How to Cite

Stanković, M., Džoljić, J., & Dimitrijević, B. (2022). CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND STEM PROFESSIONALS COMPETENCIES. KNOWLEDGE - International Journal , 52(1), 65–71. Retrieved from

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