Maria Tomai


PhD fellow

Research group(s):
5. Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainability Transitions

Maria Tomai is a PhD Fellow at UNU-MERIT since September 2019. In her PhD thesis, she focuses on sustainability transitions and circular economy in developing economies. More specifically, she looks at the transition processes, dynamics and pathways for cities to develop more sustainable waste management systems. She follows a transdisciplinary research approach, employing participatory scenario planning and system dynamics modelling, along with socio-technical transitions theories.

Her research interests also lie in the field of environmental education as a driver of sustainable behavioural change. She currently explores the impact of a transformative social innovation on sustainability education in Ghana (the Green Schools Academy) on school students’ attitudes and behaviour towards circular economy.

Maria holds a MSc. in Global Innovation Economics from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and a BSc. in Business Administration from Athens University of Economics and Business in Greece. 

She is also a member of SITE4Society, coordinating local and international workshops, training and action research on sustainable development challenges.




Selected publications by Maria Tomai


Articles (journal, professional, popular)
Tomai, Maria, 2019, Leave no waste behind: Exploring bottom-up initiatives in Ghana, UNU-MERIT, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2019, ‘Squaring up for a Circular Economy’ at the 2019 Global Festival of Action, UNU-MERIT, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2019, Where will the Circular Economy drive Europe and the world?, UNU-MERIT, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2019, Re:thinking / Re:working higher education: SDG Conference Bergen, UNU-MERIT, More information


Other (editorship, media appearance, keynote, etc.)
Tomai, Maria, 2020, When Mother Earth sends a message: We must respond!, Short blog on International Mother Earth Day, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2018, How to pin down and spin the ‘Circular Economy’ — before it’s too late?, A joint post by Prof. Shyama V. Ramani and Maria Tomai, More information


UNU-MERIT