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Homepage / Cranfield – the beginning and the end of 11 wonderful years in the UK

Cranfield – the beginning and the end of 11 wonderful years in the UK


Figure 1 MSc Graduation Day with my best friend

In 2008 I arrived in the UK to study my Master’s in design and Innovation for Sustainability at the Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D) at Cranfield. At that time, I never could have imagined that I would have the opportunity to lecture on the same course where my journey in the UK began.

My Master’s degree was a challenging step in my life. However, during this time I decided to take the route to follow an academic career. I would never have been able to take this decision without the support of some of the most amazing friends that I made at Cranfield.

After my Master, I had the opportunity to study my PhD in Sustainable Consumption and Design at Loughborough University supervised by to ex-Cranfield’s: Dr Vicky Lofthouse and Dr Debra Lilley. During my PhD, in 2011 I got married with my loving husband Pedro. I successfully graduated in the summer of 2013 and started my post-doc at Nottingham Trent University with Professor Tim Cooper. In 2015, I had the opportunity to come back to C4D to work as a Research Fellow with Dr Fiona Charnley at the EPSRC/ESRC Network of Re-Distributed Manufacturing, Consumer Goods and Big Data. As well as lecturing on the same course I originally came to study, I also used the time to learn to drive so that I could commute from my home in London.

I passed my driving test!

My interest in Data-Driven Innovation for the Circular Economy has been there throughout all of my academic career. However, it wasn’t until I came to Cranfield that I grew my expertise in this topic. I was lucky enough that the University has a long-standing relationship with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. A non-profit organisation that works with business, government, and academia to accelerate the transition towards an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. This partnership gave me lots of personal and professional opportunities including: the design and delivery of a multi-disciplinary and multi-national Circular Hackathon as part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival. This festival was hosted in three different universities in three different locations: Cranfield University, UK; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and the National Institute of Design, India. I attended the CE100 workshops in Berlin and Oxford; and the two Annual Summits in London. I mentored Tomas Wastling, in the last Schmidt-McArthur Fellowship Summer School, and together we wrote a publication in Design for Circular Behaviour. I got involved in a Co.Project called “keeping customer connections” led by Walmart, where I supervised a group of students which conducted the primary research for a report launched in 2017. This is to mention just a few!

I also progressed in my career at C4D from Research Fellow to Lecturer in less than three years. This has been the most rewarding step in my career because I could see my development thrived. In this process, as a research fellow, I successfully delivered two interdisciplinary feasibility studies; organised a Research Sandpit; organised the RECODE International Symposium at the Institution of Mechanical Engineering in London (UK); and led the Shoe Lab project (a collaboration with Cisco and the Clearing – a brand agency) to prototype a concept to demonstrate how the latest advances in technology could be used to enhance the design and manufacture of a pair of trainers, with circular economy in mind. I have also won 18 grants (over £1.1 million) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Royal Academy of Engineering and Industry, including my first UKRI research grant as a co-investigator in the Circular 4.0: Data driven intelligence for a Circular Economy.

Circular 4.0 – Industry engagement workshop and project launch

In addition, I faced my fears to speak in public and participated in more than 30 panels as an expert in data-driven innovation for a circular economy. I also got involved in developing e-learning programmes for 6 short courses in Circular Economy, where I lead the Circular Design short course. In addition, I have successfully supervised more than 20 master thesis and currently I’m supervising two PhD students.

Panel expert in the Positive Economy Forum

In 2018 my family was blessed with a little girl. After a year of deliberating, we decided to relocate in Lisbon, Portugal in September 2019. Therefore, it is time for me to follow new personal and professional adventures in a new country. Despite this decision, I will continue to be enrolled at Cranfield as a visiting fellow, and I hope that my relationship with Cranfield will stand for many years to follow.

Mariale Moreno

Written By: Cranfield University

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