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Personal profile

Research Interests

The Circular Economy has been heralded by many as a viable vision to overcome the challenges of rapid population growth, economic stagnation and environmental destruction. Yet, the scale of transition is akin to the industrial revolution and the required timescale is in the order of decades. One of the most promising policy instruments for accelerating such a transition is the formation of ‘protected spaces’ for radical and sustainable niche innovations; a method that the Scottish Government is currently pursuing. Such spaces should not be considered to take the form of an organisational body or administrative platform, but as a ‘societal network of innovation’. 

My research aims to understand how best we can harness these networks of innovation to grow strategic circular economy sectors, such as bio-refinery and re-manufacturing, and accelerate a system level transition to a sustainable society.

Industrial Relevance

My research is highly relevant to industry, government and academia alike.

Due to it's alignment with current Government goals to build a circular economy through increased innovation - my research will help to inform policy makers of key mechanisms required to stimulate such innovation as well as instruments to increase the level of reflexivity of governance. 

The output of my research also applies directly to industry as it outlines the msot effective strategies for harnessing the power of innovation networks and utilising open innovation to ensure they remain competitive in a rapidly evolving global market.

Finally my research is helping bridge the gap between current governance practice for promoting sustainability transitions and academic literature.


Academic / Professional qualifications

Jack is currently a Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. He has obtained two Masters degrees with Distinction, an MEng Civil and Environmental Engineering Engineering from the University of Edinburgh and and MPHil Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge

He has worked in a range of different sustainability sectors including water supply and solar energy. He has worked accross East Africa building supply chains for solar home systems as well as Western Afrcia and Asia investigating the challenges of delivering clean water in rural regions. Additionally, he has two years experience as a design engineer on large scale water and wastewater infrastructure projects in the UK and Africa.

His current PhD research focuses on understanding how best we can harness innovation to accelerate a transition to a circular economy. 

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Systems thinking
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Innovation Systems
  • Open Innovation
  • Circular Economy
  • Sustainble Development


Personal Statement

Circular Economy Thinker. Sustainability Entrepreneur. Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow.

Jack's expertise in engineering for sustainable development, innovation and systems thinking is perfectly aligned to solve the challenges faced when transitioning to a circular economy. Having worked on a range of technological and engineering projects across Europe, Africa and Asia and holding two Masters degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh - Jack now holds the prestigious position of Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow. His PhD research seeks to explore how we can re-align our national innovation systems to accelerate the circular economy transition. 

In addition - Jack is the founder of the company Hakysak - a peer-to-peer rental platform that aims to helps us swap consumption for experiences. Hakysak has been awarded several national awards including the Scottish EDGE Wildcard Award, Entrepreneurial Spark and Enterprise Campus. 

Jack also lectures on the Circular Economy for the 'Leading Issues in the Circular Economy' postgraduate masters course at the University of Strathclyde. 

Skills: Entrepreneur, Circular Economy, Freelance Consulting and Journalist, Innovation, Systems 
Thinking, Disruptive Business Models, Holistic Thinking.

Seeking new opportunities - feel free to reach out at jack.barrie(at)strath.ac.uk or @thinkcircles

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

1 Oct 20131 Jun 2014

Award Date: 17 Jul 2015

Master of Engineering, University of Edinburgh

1 Sep 20061 Jul 2011

Award Date: 22 Jul 2011

External positions

Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow, Ellen McArthur Foundation

30 Jun 201623 Jul 2017


  • Circular Economy
  • Innovation
  • innovation management and policy,
  • Governance
  • Sustainability


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