Dr Ruth Cherrington
Lecturer in Sustainable Futures
+44 (0) 1326 255029
University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE
Ruth's research addresses the intersecting topics of innovation, circular economy, and skills development. Her research focuses on the relationship between resources, business, and the environment, with the aim of expanding knowledge and understanding in these areas. Her work aims to bring together business engagement activities and regional initiatives in order to build and implement innovative teaching and learning approaches. She is an affiliate member of the Exeter Centre for Circular Economy and the Centre for Entrepreneurship and her research sits within these overlapping themes to consider the future of business.
Ruth joined the University of Exeter in February 2017. In her previous roles she was responsible for several industry funded research projects which focused on the environmental, social and financial implications of the materials and manufacturing processes within sectors such as automotive, energy and aerospace.
Ruth has a BSc in Renewable Energy from the University of Exeter, is an Associate of the Camborne School of Mines (ACSM) and has a PhD in Engineering from the University of Warwick. She was selected to take part in the GW4 Crucible 2021 which offers the opportunity for future research leaders to come together to generate innovative, multifaceted responses to tackle global challenges. She is a trained facilitator of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method , which she regularly uses to engage with businesses and students in learning. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), demonstrating a commitment to teaching, learning and the student experience through the Academic Practice (PCAP) Apprenticeship.
Ruth faciltates the 'Help to Grow' management course for SMEs in Cornwall, where she builds connections and serves as a crucial contact throughout the programme. She also teaches on the BSc Business and BSc Business and Environment courses on the Penryn campus in Cornwall.
- BSc (Hons) Renewable Energy
- PhD in Engineering
- Circular Economy
- Knowledge exchange
- Skills development
Open Innovation Platform Link Funding - Global Circular Open Data Sharing Network
Jun 2023 - Jun 2026
This project will enable the launch of a 3-year initiative to link Early Career Researchers (ECRs) at the Univeristy of Exeter and across a network of 3000 scholars covering more than 50 countries, to a network of over 2000 industrial partners from around the world. The project will mobilise a small team of ECRs to attend and support the launch of the Global Circular Data Sharing Network, where event costs and publicity and ongoing hosting and facilitation of the network will be provided as match-funding by the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM).
Innovation Caucus Thought Leadership Project ‘Future of Innovation: Design; Social Capital; Green Growth’
Aug 2022 - Dec 2022
This study takes up the call for further research by considering how social innovation in a specific regional context and a particular industry (namely fashion and textiles) can support progress toward a circular economy. The fashion and textile industry is an area of strategic national importance to the national economy as a key input to multiple commercial sectors, value chains and products. It is a sector that presents an opportunity to transform and deliver substantially better economic, societal, and environmental outcomes. It is hoped that this research will help to further consider how placed-based approaches can be implemented across other regions to enable local businesses and communities to thrive. This study is intended to provide new insights to inform further work, shape industrial strategy and influence future regional and national policy and practice, whilst aiming to identify and analyse innovation-led growth.
EPSRC IAA Circular Textiles
May 2022 - Jul 2022
Working in partnership with Cultivate Communities and UpCycle Kernow on a combined vision to serve the needs of the local community (and projects), education providers, independent crafters, fashion brands, manufacturing companies, industry experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders from to explore innovations and practices in circular textiles.
TeX Innovation Big Lottery Fund
Jan 2022 - Jan 2023
TeX Innovation started as a group of crafters making patchwork hats to combat social isolation, quickly gaining momentum to gain the support of key stakeholders in the region who see value in the project. The project has evolved to work in collaboration with a number of partners, combining resources to minimise duplicated effort, with greater impact. This funding provides well-needed resources to invest in our community and extend our impact to the wider society. Since the launch in 2017, we have learned how to further engage our community and have applied this to our collaborative work in setting up a studio, which has helped us to establish a team of passionate doers and volunteers committed to the project's vision. The univeristy provides access to renowned research and academic expertise. Their time is made available to support the project and the project team in achieving their vision.
Accelerating Circular Skills for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly (ARCA)
Mar 2021 - Dec 2023
Led by the University of Exeter Business School, working in partnership with Truro & Penwith College, Arca supports businesses to transition to the circular economy. Workshops and training programmes are aimed at SMEs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Combining the latest business research with the hands-on experience of local entrepreneurs to deliver practical and engaging training programmes. The project is part-funded through the European Social Fund (part of the European Strategic Investment Framework for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly).
SMART and Sustainable Coatings (funded through the UKRI EPSRC Circular Economy Network+ in Transportation Systems)
Aug 2020- Mar 2021
In the move towards light weighting and the circular economy (CE), thermoplastic composites in transport are becoming increasingly attractive. However, the thermoset coatings traditionally applied for these applications cause subsequent problems for thermoplastic recycling systems. Therefore, to address this issue, this research collaboration between the University of Warwick and the University of Exeter looks at both academic developments in the coating industry and potential implementation strategies for industry in the circular economy.
Meeting Smart Specialisation business needs through Higher Level Skills (SS-HLS)
Sept 2020 - Aug 2023
This European Social Fund programme brings together five educational institutions (Truro & Penwith College, the University of Exeter, Falmouth University, Plymouth University and Cornwall College) to engage with businesses and identify training gaps and course development opportunities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It delivers a co-ordinated employer-led approach to facilitate and expedite greater engagement in higher level skills through the co-development and trialling of innovative new provision, alternative delivery models and high quality work placements. It focusses on the five smart specialisation theme(s) E-Health and Wellbeing, Digital Economy, Marine Technology and Renewables, Space & Aerospace and Agritech.
Future Focus 2
Mar 2020 - Jun 2023
The University of Exeter and Unlocking Potential have joined forces to deliver Future Focus. The ERDF funded programme for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly with fresh ideas, new thinking and inspirational people combined to enable established businesses to identify opportunities, trends and threats. As part of this programme, the University of Exeter aims to help Cornish businesses explore the relationship between business and the environment, to move to a more environmentally sensitive, ethically responsible and circular way of running business.
Through the programme, provides learning on how a business can change it’s impact for the better through academic lead workshops; engaging events on sustainability, the environment, net zero and circular economy; funded research and development unique to each business and one-to-one support plus grants, jobs support and more.
Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research hub: ExeMPLaR (EP/S025529/1)
Jan 2019 – June 2021
In a circular economy, clean growth is achieved by increasing the value derived from existing and planned economic infrastructure, products and materials which in turn significantly reduces or eliminates negative externalities. Increased value can be achieved by maintaining the integrity of a product or material at a higher level, using products longer, cascading their use in adjacent value chains and designing pure, high quality feedstocks (avoiding contamination and toxicity). A circular economy approach to plastics addresses simultaneously the accumulation, impact and costs in the environment whilst maintaining applications for multiple high value purposes.
Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year