These projects are the result of a participatory approach and reflection within the Network, striving to integrate the diverse facets and realities of its members. These flagship projects offer significant research opportunities by directing research towards the priority areas identified by the reflection and ideation committees within each axis. They promote interdisciplinarity and networking opportunities both among Network members and with stakeholder communities. Any new objective related to these themes that contributes to the scientific program of the RRECQ will be welcomed.

A unique networking opportunity

Browse through the map of Network members involved in the different Flagship projects to discover their capacity for networking and collaboration.

Discover all the flagship projects

Pole A – Goals and Milestones

A-1 – Circular Economy Roadmap


  1. Identify and prioritize the milestones to be implemented to achieve the transition towards the circular economy of Quebec, in conjunction with stakeholders, based on a 2040 vision.
  2. Establish a prospective diagnosis, which highlights the major or emerging trends, future nodes, and findings on the current situation.
  3. Develop 4 short narratives that embody different possible futures by combining the trends documented in the prospective diagnosis of each challenge.
  4. Develop a vision of the most desirable future possible.
  5. Chart a transition path by thematic blocks per stakeholder category.

Examples of research questions and issues

How to deploy a prospective approach towards a circular economy roadmap on a one-year schedule? How to bring together all categories of stakeholders in society (political parties, municipalities, organized civil society, representatives from the employment and labor sector, social economy, consumer associations, large companies and SMEs, industry, research, etc.) in a prospective approach? How to rely on a pragmatic vision, strong commitment, and open and transparent communication from stakeholders at all stages of a prospective approach towards the transition to a circular economy? This involves a process of synthesizing knowledge, participatory co-design, and expert meetings that will be sequenced and planned.

You want to get involved in this project and participate in the development of the RRECQ roadmap:

Pole B – Field Testing

B-1 – Territorial Perspectives of the Circular Economy: Diversity of Approaches


  1. Understand how the development of different types of territories (e.g. urban, peri-urban, rural, forested, etc.) could be planned based on circularity principles.
  2. Identify the parameters of an effective circular economy planning that ensures both global coherence and local specificity.
  3. Identify the best territorial practices and policies (local and regional) of the circular economy in Quebec and internationally.
  4. Understand the relationships between stakeholders and territorial organizations.

Examples of research questions and issues

How can the circular economy, through bottom-up approaches that involve local actors and resources, be a driver of social and economic development? How can citizens, civil society, and various stakeholders be mobilized to identify, design, and implement territorial circular economy initiatives? What combinations of skills and resources are required by public authorities to implement the designed initiatives or policies? How can the interconnection between different actors be planned and supported, and how can their roles and actions be coordinated to ensure synchronization of logistics and material flows?

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the integration of the circular economy in territories:

B-2 – Sectoral Analyses of the Circular Economy: Resource Management


  1. Evaluate Quebec’s resource needs to define a global strategy for planning resource extraction and optimizing resource use through circular strategies.
  2. Identify priorities, sectors, and drivers.

Examples of research questions and issues

How can a plurality of applied analyses in different sectors guide strategies, policies, and government actions? How can the Quebec strategy on resource management be improved? How can geopolitical aspects be taken into account? How can a collective integrative awareness of micro (circular behavior psychology, redistributive effects across different population groups), meso (organizations, cities, and regions), and macro (national circular policies) dimensions be developed and maintained in policies in Quebec to support the circular economy? What are the complementarities between the circular transition and other transitions? Should certain transitions be prioritized?

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the deployment of the circular economy in Quebec’s priority sectors:

B-3 – Circular Economy Practices in Organizations


  1. Identify levers, means, initiatives, and tools that promote the integration and consideration of circularity in businesses and organizations.

Examples of research questions and issues

How can organizations improve circularity? How can organizations be supported in transitioning towards more circular business models? What are the barriers and drivers for implementing circular economy in organizations?  What are the planning, coordination, monitoring, and measurement tools for the circular strategy of organizations? How to evaluate the economic benefits associated with circular initiatives? What are the potential undesirable effects (rebound effects, displacement of impacts, etc.) of circular business models? What is the adoption potential of business models such as collaborative economy or functional economy? How to encourage and support eco-design of products and services in companies (SMEs, large enterprises, etc.)? How to optimize product and service design to enhance conservation and circularity of natural resources, material resources and energy resources? How to measure the level of circularity achieved through eco-design of products and services? How to optimize operations and logistics along the value chain?

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the integration of the circular economy in organizations:

Pole C – Tools and Methods

C-1 – Scenario Development Tools 


  1. Develop a mapping of available tools and their operational characteristics (data, user profiles, etc.) in relation to user needs.
  2. Identify opportunities and limitations for deploying scenario development tools in relation to the challenges associated with product circularity and resource preservation (through case studies).

Examples of research questions and issues

What tools are available to facilitate the identification of the best circularization measures for products and resources? What are the characteristics (data, methods, equipment, expertise) of these tools? What are the gaps in the available tools in relation to the users’ needs?  How can new tools be developed, if required? How can existing and emerging tools be used to accelerate the transition to a circular economy (digital twins, artificial intelligence, etc.)? What are the data gaps that hinder the operationalization of these tools? To what extent do these gaps impede the identification of circularity pathways and the measurement of their effects?

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the development and improvement of scenario development tools:

C-2 – Circular Economy Analysis and Monitoring Tools


  1. Categorize and improve existing circular economy analysis and monitoring tools (e.g. MFA, MFCA, LCA, carbon footprint, etc.).
  2. Develop new effective methods for acquiring, processing, visualizing, and analyzing key information associated with the circular economy.

Examples of research questions and issues

What existing tools are available for circular economy analysis and monitoring? How can new tools be developed to improve circular economy monitoring? How can existing tools be improved/ adapted to the specific context of stakeholder communities (scale (territory, organizations, etc.) and sector of activity (agri-food, manufacturing, construction, services, etc.)? What are the potential rebound effects associated with these tools? What are the limitations of existing and developed tools? How can the performance and quality of developed tools be evaluated? How can the deployment and use of the most suitable tools be accelerated in stakeholder communities? How can tool alignment with social planning be ensured? How can data collection be optimized? How can tool utilization be optimized while considering uncertainties and rebound effects? How can data be represented in an integrated and effective manner?

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the development and improvement of monitoring tools:

C-3 – Circular Economy Indicators and Databases


  1. Define a taxonomy of impact evaluation indicators associated with the implementation of circular measures.
  2. Develop a data structure adapted to the various contexts and scales in which circularity measures are implemented.
  3. Develop case studies to test and facilitate the dissemination of lessons learned.

Examples of research questions and issues

How can indicators for monitoring and measuring circularity and its effects/impacts be categorized? What are the attributes and defining parameters of the data? How can data standardization be ensured to enable comparability and compatibility across resources? How can a searchable data sharing platform be developed to ensure data availability? How can the long-term viability of the platform be ensured (data maintenance and updates)?

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the development and structuring of data and indicators in circular economy:

C-4 – Measures, Indicators, and Tools – Public Policies


  1. Provide an overview of the situation in Quebec.
  2. Identify management tools and measures for circularity.
  3. Identify best practices and policies framework and use, here and internationally.

Examples of research questions and issues

How can multiscalar and multidimensional analyses (social, economic, entrepreneurial, environmental) contribute to the internal and external coherence of circular economy policies? Beyond measuring circularity, what indicators, data, and tools can be used for the design, redesign, optimization, implementation, and evaluation of public policies? How can public needs and values be considered in the development of indicators? How can objectives be identified? How can access to key data be managed to promote research and utilization?

You would like to get involved in this project and participate in the discussion on public policies:

Pole D – Resources and Support

D-1 – The State of the Circular Economy at the Local, National, and International Level


  1. Establish and maintain an up-to-date assessment of the state of the circular economy at the local, national, and international level.
  2. Develop reliable and robust tools for establishing and maintaining these assessments.

Examples of research questions and issues

Where should circularity calculations be performed? What are the existing circularity calculation methodologies at the international level? What relevant circularity resources are associated with different levels of analysis? What are the limitations of existing measurement and quantification methods? How should a state of the circular economy be conducted and on what criteria should it be established? What are the relevant boundaries for circularity analyses? How can the comparability of existing methods be estimated? How can existing methodologies be improved considering the available data? How can local initiatives be integrated into territorial circularity analyses to assess their systemic impact? What are the needs and opportunities for developing new methods?

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate assessment of the state of the circular economy:

D-2 – Rebound Effects of Circular Economy Initiatives


  1. Ensure the coherence and desirability of policy drivers
  2. Promote coherence and a holistic vision
  3. Evaluate redistributive and undesirable effects

Examples of research questions and issues

What rebound effects can be measured or anticipated? Does recycling reduce the extraction of virgin raw materials? What conditions must be met for the circular economy to achieve its environmental promises? Considering social justice objectives, do certain strategies tend to marginalize already vulnerable groups? How to assess risks related to new policies, identify rebound effects and anticipate their redistributive impact.

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the identification of rebound effects and their consequences:

D-3 – Terminology and Epistemology in Circular Economy


  1. Carry out a systematic and comprehensive mapping of concepts related to the circular economy (definitions and relationships between concepts).
  2. Identify and/or create analytical frameworks based on these concepts.
  3. Contribute to the development of a common vocabulary for the circular economy in collaboration with various stakeholders
  4. Develop and maintain a series of webinars aimed at deepening the understanding of associated themes and providing diverse and innovative insights

Examples of research questions and issues

How can we clarify the vague terminology that characterizes the circular economy, revealing difficulties in 1. the relationships between macro-concepts (umbrella concepts or paradigms) that conceptualize the links between the economy, society, and the environment; 2. the connections between the circular economy and schools of thought that constitute it, such as industrial ecology, the blue economy, cradle-to-cradle approach, functional economy, and collaborative economy; and finally 3. the concepts inherent to circularity, such as unintended effects? Work will be carried out on a lexicon and at the epistemological level.

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the development of a common understanding of the circular economy:

D-4 – Training, Employment, and Circular Economy


  1. Identify best practices and development opportunities for training.
  2. Map the best practices of educational institutions.
  3. Specify potential collaborations for promoting sustainable development in higher education and propose the creation of courses and programs in circular economy in Quebec.
  4. Promote and support collaborations among participating colleges and universities.
  5. Identify best practices in research, particularly focusing on co-creation and mobilization of relevant knowledge to support the transition towards a circular economy.

Examples of research questions and issues

At the university level and in management and engineering trades, how to rethink concepts, economic measures, management and business models and the creation of materials, processes and technological solutions in the light of the conditions for circularity in a circular economy, in a context where as a meta-concept, the circular economy challenges certain discipline fundamentals such as those of economics, management and engineering? How to value and revalue, at the professional level, blue-collar trades and the know-how related to the implementation of circular strategies such as the functional economy, repair and extension of the lifespan of products, among others?

Would you like to get involved in this project:

D-5 – Consolidation and Dissemination of Knowledge


  1. Maintain an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders to guide research and training in circular economy towards their needs.
  2. Inform government discussions.
  3. Develop a program of events (forums, symposiums, workshops, congresses, etc.) and knowledge dissemination activities, exchanges, and training aimed at reaching different audiences.

Examples of research questions and issues

 In a context of circular economy, which is inherently interdisciplinary and inclusive, how can we contribute to Quebec’s transition towards an innovative, more productive, resilient, and autonomous economy, while simultaneously addressing the ecological, climate, and post-pandemic crises? How can we widely promote the circular economy to different stakeholders, including the business community, cooperative movement, social and solidarity economy, trade unions, consumer associations, environmental sector, academic societies, philanthropic sector, circular economy experts in Canada and internationally, and various levels of government? How can we establish a fruitful collaboration with the network of circular economy living labs (ELEC) as a research-action and knowledge transfer channel? A program of events (forums, conferences, workshops, symposiums, etc.) and knowledge dissemination, exchange, and training activities will aim to reach diverse audiences, including socio-economic actors.

Would you like to get involved in this project and participate in the dissemination of knowledge across all spheres of society:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the objectives of the flagship projects and themes (FPTs)?

The flagship projects and themes have three main objectives:

  • Implement the scientific programming submitted to the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ)
  • Bring together researchers around a specific theme to create connections.
  • Create reflection forums to identify new projects and develop knowledge related to the identified issues.
How were the FPTs defined?

The projects were developed through a collective reflection with members of the Network over the past few months. Several workshops and discussion groups were facilitated by the organization to identify the priority research issues in the circular economy and those of interest to the members. The projects funded by the Network also helped shape the definition of the flagship projects and themes.

Do you have a research idea but are unsure which project it fits into?

How will the FPTs work?

The FPTs allow members to be better integrated into RRECQ’s research activities. To this end, there is no set operating procedure, and each FPT team will be able to decide on the most appropriate arrangements.  In any case, the RRECQ organization will provide support to the research teams involved, and additional resources may be allocated to these projects.

How do the FTPs align with the Network’s calls for projects?

The FPTs are not meant to replace the Network’s calls for projects. They offer a distinct framework for research aimed at reaching as many members of the RRECQ research community as possible while diversifying involvement opportunities.

The calls for projects will continue to fund research teams to develop innovative projects in the circular economy. Therefore, submitted projects may or may not be integrated into one of the 13 flagship projects and themes of the Network.

However, there must be numerous interconnections between these two modes of operation in order to increase the impact and influence of research. To this end, additional funding will be made available to projects that demonstrate significant alignment with one of the flagship projects.

What level of involvement is expected from researchers?

The Network and its management team are aware of the busy schedules of Network members, and therefore wish to offer a flexible and diversified framework for involvement. Thus, depending on the operating procedures defined by each FPT team, researchers can participate in the project in the following ways:

  • As a FPT leader, to work in teams of 2 or 3, accompanied and supported by the permanent staff of the RRECQ, with possible additional resources. They ensure the coherence of the projects integrated into their FPT.
  • As a participant, to connect with other members, discuss identified issues, and actively contribute to the research within the FPT.
  • As a collaborator, to cross-reference their own research projects with those of other participants in the FPT, and to benefit from the knowledge developed and the challenges encountered.
How to participate in the Network’s FPTs?

A form is available on the RRECQ website to express your interest in participating in an FPT. Completing the form in no way commits you to taking part in the FPT, and you are welcome to come and find out how the TPS works and what projects are underway. 

After completing the form, the Network’s team will keep you informed about the upcoming meetings and steps for the various flagship projects you have chosen. Please note that not all flagship projects will be launched simultaneously.

With over 40 funded projects, research is at the heart of the Network’s activities.

The RRECQ is supported by the Fonds de recherche du Québec.
Fonds de recherche - Québec