Ph.D. Candidate - Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London


Dr. Marco Aurisicchio

Dr. Elvin Karana

Dr. Valentina Rognoli

Anouk is a PhD Candidate at the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London. She received her BSc. and MSc. in Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Anouk developed an interest for materials and why materials that can last centuries, are often selected for disposable products used for minutes. Her MSc thesis was material-driven and aimed to investigate opportunities for the use of waste materials, such as waste coffee grounds [1]. After her graduation Anouk continued to work with a Material-Driven Design approach in the development of new materials in collaboration with Innventia. To better understand the mismatch of material lifetime and product lifetime, Anouk joined the Kraft Heinz Company to learn about materials in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. She worked in continuous improvement, packaging procurement and packaging R&D. 

Her PhD is EPSRC-funded and sponsored by Procter & Gamble. The research topic is materials for fast-moving consumer goods in a circular economy and it reviews how to close material loops in the contexts of design and product use. The objective is to manage flows of materials embodied in short-used products. The research focuses on lifecycles, in particular on how to flow materials between the different lifecycle phases, e.g. flowing from ‘use’ phase to ‘end-of-life’ phase (i.e. designing closed-loop systems, designing product-service systems, managing product obsolescence, collecting resources); and flowing from ‘end-of-life’ phase to ‘origin’ phase (i.e. identifying new material opportunities, designing closed-loop systems, design for biodegradability, design for recyclability, designing with waste materials, material experience of circulating materials). 

Current Project


Biodegradation of biodegradable materials depends on the conditions the material is exposed to that trigger and facilitate this process. Nutrients from bio-based plastics like PLA to growing design materials like mycelium-based materials can only be successfully extracted and returned if that process is controlled. When biodegradable materials embody fast-moving consumer goods with the intention to close material loops, it requires in-depth consideration of the ‘use’ phase, in which consumers interact with these materials on a daily basis until they become obsolete and require adequate transition to an ‘end-of-life’ phase in which they can be regenerated in the biological cycle. This project aims to investigate: how to design ephemeral products with biodegradable materials? We develop strategies for lifecycles of such materials, including (1) how materials experiences facilitate possession, use, biodegradation and disposal of the material, as well as (2) how to enhance regenerative characteristics of the material through design.  


  1. Karana E., Barati, B., Rognoli V., Zeeuw Van Der Laan, A., (2015). Material Driven Design (MDD): A Method To Design For Material Experiences. International Journal of Design, 9(2), 35-54. 

  2. Zeeuw van der Laan, A. and Aurisicchio, M. (2017) ‘Planned Obsolescence in the Circular Economy’, in PLATE conference 2017, pp. 446–452. doi: 10.3233/978-1-61499-820-4-446.