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 circular economy transitions and urban transformations, their governance and planning, with a focus on developing countries context. Her research also focuses on the transition design and governance of solid waste management systems for contributing to more environmentally sustainable, just and prosperous economies. She follows a transdisciplinary research approach, employing participatory scenario planning and system dynamics modelling, along with socio-technical transition theories.

Maria is teaching on graduate levels and supervising master theses. Since 2020, she is tutoring in the Master of Science in Public Policy and Human Development of the Maastricht University’s Graduate School of Governance, while her teaching portfolio includes courses such as Public Policy, Policy and Programme Evaluation, Innovation for Sustainability, Research Design, Solution Design and Policy Communication.

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. 

Selected publications by Maria Tomai

Articles (journal, professional, popular)
Tomai, Maria, Shyama V. Ramani & Georgios Papachristos, 2024, How Can We Design Policy Better? Frameworks and Approaches for Sustainability Transitions, Sustainability, DOI:, More information

Book chapters
Ramani, Shyama V. , Cristina Garcia Santos, Maria Tomai & Eduardo Urias, 2022, Insights for Policy Design to Attain SDG 11: A critical review of the literature, in: Edited By Shyama V. Raman, Hiroshan Hettiarachchi, SDG11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Routledge, India, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2022, Elevating consumer engagement in a circular economy: a framework for cities to plan the process, in: Shyama V. Ramani, Hiroshan Hettiarachchi, SDG11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Routledge, India, More information

Other (editorship, media appearance, keynote, etc.)
Tomai, Maria, 2022, The Policy Action Lab accelerates sustainable transformations through knowledge co-production, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2020, When Mother Earth sends a message: We must respond!, Short blog on International Mother Earth Day, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2019, Re:thinking / Re:working higher education: SDG Conference Bergen, During the first week of February, the University of Bergen in Norway hosted the 2nd National SDG Conference, DOI:, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2019, Where will the Circular Economy drive Europe and the world?, n March 2019, Maria Tomai joined an event on the Circular Economy, where she was able to brief EU policymakers on the work done at UNU-MERIT, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2019, ‘Squaring up for a Circular Economy’ – at the 2019 Global Festival of Action, UNU-MERIT’s team joined the conference on 3 May 2019, in partnership with our sister institute UNU-FLORES, More information
Tomai, Maria, 2019, Leave no waste behind: Exploring bottom-up initiatives in Ghana, Our team led a site visit and interdisciplinary workshop to understand the issue from various angles, before proposing a range of new and truly sustainable solutions, 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