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REWACE: The management of waste and resources

Smart use, reusing and recycling of resources is getting more and more important. A new programme at the TU Wien Academy for Continuing Education will focus on this crucial matter.

[Translate to English:] Die Lehrgangsleiter des neuen ACE Masterprogramms REWACE: Johann Felnner und Christoph Scharff (von links); beide Herren sitzend auf blauen Sesseln

[Translate to English:]

In February 2024 the TU Wien Academy for Continuing Education will start the new programme REWACE for professionals and students on circular economy. Academic directors Johann Fellner and Christoph Scharff explain what the acronym stands for, what the programme focuses on, and why right now is the best time to launch this new programme.

REWACE stands for REsource and WAste Management for Circular Economy. The new modular programme tackles the challenges of and the solutions for circularity along the value chain from product design to collection logistics, reuse and recycling with a focus on how to bring used resources back into the material cycle.

Most people have by now understood that climate change is happening with unmistakable consequences such as floods, heatwaves or droughts. Regulators in the EU and all over the world are finally addressing this salient issue with energy transition and circular economy serving as key pillars for change. Companies must prepare now to comply with new regulations like the EU New Green Deal or just to remain competitive.

A recent study (GfK for ARA, 2023) shows that 7 out of 10 companies invest in the circular economy, but at the same time two thirds of the companies have difficulties recruiting qualified staff. This shows the enormous demand in the industry for experts in the circular economy. REWACE can impart this competence.

Christoph Scharff explains the circular economy as an “exercise in anticipation”: “Participants will be introduced to a new way of thinking about products and resources. Already in the design phase, they will ask themselves what will happen to their products after use. They will be introduced to cutting edge technologies for resource efficiency, reuse, recycling and thus keeping raw materials in the loop.”

Johann Fellner outlines the scope of the first 2-week-module in February 2024: “We will address three areas with very specific challenges for companies: fast-moving packaging made of plastic and paper, the built environment of construction and infrastructure with its immense resource consumption and finally the sector of electronics, e-mobility and digitalization. We cover all of this in the lectures given by speakers from science and business and in technical excursions for instance to treatment plants.”

Obviously, the challenges to design and produce a resource efficient product differ significantly between a plastic bottle, an office building or an e-bike. Change will only be possible, if producers understand the requirements for reuse and recycling after use.

But “circular economy has its limitations, it is only one piece of a bigger picture, it won’t be able to solve all problems we are facing at the moment.” explains Johann Fellner. “There are other areas to be considered as well such as the management of pollutants in order to achieve clear cycles or the trade-offs between convenience or functionality and the energy and resource consumption.”

Both academic directors agree that better education will lead to different thinking in companies and to a better understanding of sustainability. Austria already has a leading role in waste management within the EU. A great place to learn and to learn from.

About the programme

The programme addresses Master and PhD students as well as professionals. Participants will have to complete 6 modules in 2 years. It is a very flexible programme, enabling professionals to acquire competencies that they can actively implement in their jobs. The programme consists of two weeks teaching followed by visits of industrial sites as well as a project report at the end of each module.   

It is also possible to book the single modules separately, in case only one aspect is interesting. However, to receive certification is only possible when the whole programme is completed.

Key facts programme

  • Certificate: 15 ECTS credits
  • Location: TU Wien
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Tuition Fee: Students: € 3.500 | Professionals: € 5.200 (not including travel & accommodation costs or visa fees)
  • 15% discount for ISWA & FEAD members | 10% discount for TU Wien ACE alumni


For further information visit the REWACE-website, opens an external URL in a new window or take part in the online info session, opens an external URL in a new window on November 23rd 2023, 10-11am.


About Johann Fellner

Johann Fellner is Associate Professor for Waste Management at TU Wien and has an educational background in Environmental Engineering. He is heading the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Anthropogenic Resources since 2012. Johann Fellner is the director of the Vienna Institute for Resources and Waste since 2022.

About Christoph Scharff

The former CEO of Altstoff Recycling Austria (ARA) has more than 35 years of experience in economy, waste management and recycling. He is honorary professor for waste management at TU WIen. Christoph Scharff was the initiator and founder of the Circular Economy Coalition for Europe (CEC4Europe) and has been serving as chairman there since 2015.