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Project SWAN

SWAN is an acronym derived from the project's title: "a digital Solid Waste reuse plAtform for BalkaN"

> The Challenge

The South-East Europe region is characterized by a distinct lack of sustainable innovative practices addressing the critical issue of waste management in the context of circular economy and the closing of the resources loops. In fact, most of the countries in this region are lagging behind the rest of Europe.


> The Objective

To address this challenge, the main objective of the SWAN project is business model innovation through the development of a unique business/service ecosystem in waste management. This ecosystem is centered around a digital platform that:

  • Maps the sources of waste and the potential users of the waste streams

  • Recommends national and transnational viable paths (i.e. strategic options for service value co-creation) for solid waste reuse, based on an innovative match-making algorithm that aligns supply and demand

  • Enables collaboration among the service ecosystem's stakeholders for service innovation.

> The Approach

To achieve the objective, the project partnership itself is structured as a business/service ecosystem, based on the quadruple helix concept. The latter assumes the involvement of academic institutes (University of the Aegean, Cyprus University of Technology), private sector organizations (the Bulgarian Industrial Association), public sector agencies (Association of Municipalities in the Attica Region, Greek Ministry of Environment & Energy, Albanian Ministry of Tourism & Environment), and the civic society (NGO Iliria).

> The Results

Key developments of the project include the design and development of the SWAN digital platform, the mapping of potential sources and sinks of solid waste in the Balkan region, and the development of the match-making algorithm. Data were collected from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Cyprus through a number of field studies. Best practices from across Europe were examined, with particular focus on the business models deployed, all leading to a new, service ecosystem-driven business model proposition and pilot implementation. In particular:

 1. Research

  • Provide assistance to waste management agents towards identifying joint business opportunities and promote academia-industry cooperation, through the application of algorithms for solid waste supply and demand matching;

  • Develop the SWAN Balkan Solid Waste Map, link national and transnational stakeholders and develop innovative approaches towards achieving circular economy benefits through the formulation of 8 survey reports.

2. Knowledge transfer

  • Project beneficiaries and the wider public will learn about circular economy and industrial symbiosis and familiarize themselves with the concept of waste reuse value chains through workshops, project website, newsletters, press releases, articles and press coverage. They will be encouraged to learn and use the SWAN Service Ecosystem (using the operational and training manuals and by attending the training sessions) and work towards achieving wider EU targets on waste reuse. Moreover, targeted policy making at national and transnational levels will be enabled through our policy recommendation reports.


Key facts

  • Industry: Energy & Environment

  • Theme: Business/Service Ecosystems

  • Related business issue: United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs #3, 9, 11, 12, 15, 17)

  • Grant: 1 million euros

  • Funded by: EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Directorate General – Regional & Urban Policy

  • Partners: European Universities, industry bodies, government agencies and civic organizations

Evaluation highlights

  • Competitive EU funding 

  • Submitted proposals: 151

  • Funded proposals: 20

  • Success rate: 13.2%

  • Evaluation rank: 3rd

Related presentations

Angelis, V. (Oct. 2019). Cyclical economy and applications. EU Regions Week, Brussels, Belgium.

Project team

Related publications

Angelis-Dimakis, A., Arampatzis, G., Pieri, T., Solomou, K., Dedousis, P., & Apostolopoulos G. (2021). SWAN Platform: a web-based tool to support the development of industrial solid waste reuse business models. Waste Management and Research, accepted for publication (Web of Science Impact Factor: 2.771)

Kutsikos, K., Bithas, G., Nasiopoulos, D., & Sardi, C. (2021). Managing multi-stakeholder environmental communication cervices: lessons learnt from service ecosystems. Sustainability, accepted for publication (Web of Science Impact Factor: 2.576)

Skiadi, O., Pantazopoulos, A., Angelis-Dimakis, A., Tsakalou, C, Vyridis, I., Doumi, M., Angelis, V., Alexopoulos, A., & Panagou, N. (2019). Balkan industrial solid waste reuse: the SWAN digital ecosystem developments. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Sustainable Solid Waste Management, Heraklion, Greece.

Solomou K., Arampatzis G., Dedousis P., & Angelis-Dimakis A. (2019). A database of existing solid industrial waste reuse schemes as the basis for an industry matching algorithm. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology, Rhodes, Greece.

Skiadi, O., Pantazopoulos, A., Angelis-Dimakis, A., Tsakalou, C, Kutsikos, K., Angelis, V., & Alexopoulos, A. (2018). A digital industrial solid waste reuse platform for the Balkan region. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Sustainable Solid Waste Management, Naxos, Greece.

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