Els Du Bois - Faculty of Design Sciences


Els Du Bois has an MSc in Product Development and PhD in Industrial Design Engineering. She is a member of the Product Development research group, in the Faculty of Design Sciences that has the mission to empower the creation of innovative products to improve human well-being.


Prof. Els Du Bois established the research line on design for sustainability. Single-use products are hard to rethink in a circular perspective. Her mission is to upset the status quo of our throwaway society and build bridges between academics, industry and society. She has an innovative holistic design approach that integrates high-tech, human-science and economic expertise. Her strong network makes her a game changer. Co-creation with all  value chain actors brings innovation to market: producers (e.g. Borealis, Total), manufacturers (e.a.deSter, Tupperware), recyclers (e.a.Suez, Eco-oh!), service providers (Tomorrowland, MIVAS, UZA), policy (Flanders Circular) and networks (Ubuntoo).

She has a first patent granted, an active role in multiple funded & bilateral projects (industry, EU, regional), a team of 6 PhD students, and is member of the consortium Enviromics. Moreover, she is also member of Capture Plastics, an innovative consortium of researchers from UGent, VUB, VITO and UAntwerp who joined forces to support circular use of plastics.

Currently she is working on the development of a new service lab in which she wants to use the knowledge from research projects to support companies in the implementation of reusable alternatives in the transition from single-use products to a circular economy. At the new campus Paardenmarkt a new service lab will be built in which, together with the industry, new knowledge on qualitative and desirable reusable alternatives will be systematically searched for.

Through a combination of technical quality analysis (material, contamination, reusability), research into quality perception, trust in reuse but also ease of use, and support in the search for the most optimal chain solution, this service lab will support the full implementation of reusable products and help remove barriers to a system innovation of reuse.  This is in line with the upcoming Green Deal Anders Verpakt and the legislative bans on single use products.