Right to repair
Last modification : Thursday, October 7, 2021
The research group on Life Cycle Engineering of KU Leuven consists of a broad
multi-disciplinary team focused on the study of different phases of the
product development cycle: from creativity stimulation and problem solving at
a design level till conceiving the end-of-life treatment systems for discarded
products. An important objective for the research group is to quantify and
minimise the environmental impact in each of these product life cycle phases
in a total life cycle perspective. The Life Cycle Engineering research group
has built up considerable expertise in business model development and impact
reducing measures for the design and life cycle management of products. The
research group has excellent links to product developers, consumer
organisations and governmental agencies working on new policy development
leading to impact reduction in the manufacture of consumer products and
household appliances. The facilities of a well-equipped FabLab and the
involvement of Maakbaar Leuven as a quickly growing citizen driven repair
community are part of the experimental environment in which the envisaged
research can be conducted.
The ever shorter functional lifetime of products is often not in proportion to
the energy input and material resources invested in their manufacture. Early
failure of products is a source of frustration for end-users who would prefer
better repair opportunities than commonly offered by manufacturers and
distributors for most product categories today. The limits of willingness to
accept a lifetime reduction seem to be reached more and more often. The ‘right
to repair' is a concept that is gaining visibility in this context. New
information access options and logistical solutions for spare part supply, as
well as distributed manufacturing capabilities offered by 3D printing
techniques, create new perspectives for repair strategies. Exploring these
with partners from product developers/manufacturers, representatives from
consumer organisations and from repair oriented citizen initiatives provides a
new research challenge.
In the context of an Interreg project, Sharepair, the KU Leuven Life Cycle
Engineering research group has the opportunity to launch a new PhD project
focusing on repair of products as a strategy for reduced environmental impact
and improved profitability of enterprises. Factors that allow to more
systematically achieve product life time extension by appropriate repair
activities will be studied. We want to focus on the different mechanisms in a
business to consumer relation that obstruct or facilitate repair and the
measures that can be considered to make extended product life cycles a more
evident scenario. Innovative business model opportunities and technical
bottlenecks that may be overcome by new manufacturing capabilities will be
explored in close cooperation with consumer organisations, manufacturing
companies and repair communities. Already identified relevant factors to
consider are internet facilitated diagnosis systems, innovative logistic
supply systems for spare part supply and distributed manufacturing
capabilities as facilitated by 3D printing.
Besides the Sharepair project environment, this research can also benefit from
ongoing projectssuch as the ‘Smart Region' initiative on ‘Internet of Washing
Machines'. Remotemonitoring of washing machines by means of sensor units will
be explored withimportant market players and derived business opportunities
will besystematically modelled to assess their feasibility.
Candidates should have a strong background in product development and a solid
interest in eco-design and life cycle engineering. They hold a relevant
engineering degree and have distinguished themselves during their studies.
Good knowledge of Dutch is an important asset taking into consideration the
required interaction with the different regional interest groups.
The research group offers an insipring work and study environment, a chance to
contribute to societally relevant developments and an extensive network, both
regional and international, of relevant partners as required for data
collection, feedback and concept validation.
Remuneration is comparable to the start salary of an engineering graduate in
For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Joost Duflou, tel.: +32 16
32 28 45, mail: email@example.com.
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish,
regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If
you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us