Spotlight Feature – Qianqian Ma
Business School, Heriot-Watt University
I am currently a doctoral student at Heriot-Watt University with a background in finance and insurance. I am actively engaged in research within Theme 3 at the Circular Chemical Economy Centre, where my primary focus is investigating the financial aspects of circular economy (CE). Investment plays an indispensable role in promoting CE and is a key enabler promoting the growth of emerging technologies in this domain. Particularly for the chemical sector, which is a capital- and tech-intensive industry, it is challenging to acquire sufficient funding from public and private sources to get through the “Valley of Death”. Although an increasing number of investors integrate CE projects into their investment portfolio, the core of their decision-making lies within conventional risk-reward assessment.
To tackle the lack of funding hurdle, my research attempts to investigate the underlying causalities in the financing mechanism of financing CE projects and key factors that determine the interaction between financiers and businesses through conducting case studies with various financiers and entrepreneurs in the circular chemical sector. We will also discuss where policy intervention should be made to accelerate investment into the CE area and speed up the transition. My study adopts a qualitative methodology, centering on case studies, and using cognitive mapping, causal loops, and system dynamics to analyse this comprehensive and multi-actor system.