About ARA Innovation Space


The ARA Innovation Space is a place where civil society, artists, researchers, creatives, students, industries and all those who are curious about topics related to circular economy can connect, exchange knowledge and together realize innovative and creative ideas.

We hope that through close interdisciplinary cooperation we can achieve real progress for Austria and Europe on the way to a circular economy.
In the coming months we will organize workshops, discussions, lectures as well as networking and creative events including an exhibition. Through our work we hope to develop new solutions for a more efficient use of our resources.

Whether you just want to listen or rather engage in discussions and even hands-on work, the ARA Innovation Space will have something to offer to you.


The overall focus of the ARA Innovation Space is circular economy and resource efficiency.

In the coming twelve months we will shed light on different aspects of what it takes to succeed in creating a circular economy. During our work, we want to pay special attention to:

  • Future wastes: our anthropogenic stocks and construction 
  • Resources: plastics, aluminium and the textile industry
  • Circular Design
  • Circular Economics

Future wastes: our anthropogenic stocks and urban mining

We are living in a society of accumulation. Every year each one of us accumulates an additional 10 tons of material made up of goods, buildings and infrastructure adding up to an average of 340 tons of material in stocks per capita. Sooner or later all of this will turn into waste material.

What are these materials? When will how much of it become waste and how can we then make use of it? How are we going to deal with problematic materials?

Our special focus will be on the construction industry, aiming to find out what it takes to make construction a circular business.

Resources: plastics, aluminium and the textile industry

Plastics and aluminium are finite and energy intensive yet very useful and important resources which still pose a range of serious challenges in the attempt to redesign their material flow into a circular one. We want to find out what these challenges are and design solutions to the questions of efficient use and recyclability. The textile industry is confronted with similar challenges mainly due to our increasingly fast and quantity intensive use of clothes. How can the production of clothing become more sustainable? And what role does the consumer play in all of this?

Circular Design

What is circular design? How can we design products so that they last longer, can easily be reused and finally efficiently be recycled? Under the umbrella of circular design we want to look into packaging, electronics as well as the concept of dematerialization of products. Circular design asks for new modes of communication and cooperation between all levels of the value chain.

Circular Economics

In what ways do we need to rethink our economic and business models to facilitate a truly circular economy? What kind of economic instruments would be desirable? And what kind of business models will help closing the loop? Let’s look and assess what is currently out there and try to think one step further by working out new approaches.

Target Groups

The ARA Innovation Space is dedicated to civil society, artists, researchers, creatives, students, industries and all those who are curious about topics related to circular economy. We wish to put a special focus on bringing together creative people with professionals from all segments of the value chain, hoping to include a larger spectrum of thought processes into the overall rethinking process of our economy.


Laura Glasberg

Laura Glasberg MSc – Project Manager and Spacegirl

Laura is the project manager and “spacegirl” of the ARA Innovation Space. She is the one to contact if you want to participate in any of the activities or collaborate with the ARA Innovation Space. You will either find her at ZIMMER or at the Angewandte Innovation Lab. She studied International Politics in London for her undergraduate and read a Master’s Degree in Environmental Technology and International Affairs at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and Vienna University of Technology. During her studies she developed a keen interest in waste and resource management which only got keener during her travels through India and South East Asia.

DI Dieter Schuch

DI Dieter Schuch – Head of Technical Services / R&D

Dieter Schuch is a graduate of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences of Vienna. He began his working career as project manager in the field of remediation projects for contaminated sites. In 2004 he joined ARA AG, one of Europe‘s leading EPR schemes for packaging wastes as project manager in the Technics and Consulting department.

Since 2008, Dieter Schuch is head of the department Research and Development/Technical Services. He is responsible for analysis and monitoring of material flows of packaging waste, internal and external reporting, classification of packaging materials and WEEE as well as R&D with focus on optimization of collection, sorting and recycling of packaging waste and on anthropogenic resources.

In 2017 he participated in the development of the ARA Innovation Space which is under his responsibility since then.

Dr. Christoph Scharff

Dr. Christoph Scharff – Project Initiator

Christoph Scharff has been dedicated to waste management in both research and practice since 1984. He holds a doctoral degree in economic science and was instrumental in setting up the nationwide separate collection of packaging in Austria.

Since 2008, Christoph Scharff is CEO and President of ARA AG, one of Europe‘s leading EPR schemes for packaging wastes. He is honorary professor for waste management at the Vienna University of Technology and author of several national and international publications in the field.

From 2000 – 2002, Christoph Scharff was President of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). Today, he is Honorary Member of ISWA.

In 2015, Christoph Scharff was the initiator and founder of the Circular Economy Coalition for Europe (CEC4Europe) and has been serving as chairman of CEC4Europe since then.

Christoph Schaff is the initiator of the ARA Innovation Space.


  • Raphael Kanfer

    Raphael Kanfer

    Raphael Kanfer is our clip producer, filmer and cutter. He studies “Digital Film & Animation” at SAE Institute Vienna. Having gained some experience in production, filming and postproduction, he has a special interest in documentaries, animation and image films.

  • Raphael Volkmer

    Raphael Volkmer

    Raphael Volkmer is design generalist and visual communicator particularly interested in design processes and the transformative power of design-led undertakings. He follows, explores and tinkers with topics related to policy design, social change, activism and collaborative project developments. Website

  • Lea Mühlhauser

    Lea Mühlhauser

    Lea Mühlhauser is our event photographer and youngest artist. She studies photography at the "Höhere Graphische" in Vienna and has a special interest in studio work.

  • Zuzanna Zajac

    Zuzanna Zajac

    Zuzanna has a background in Interior Design and is particularly interested in Participatory Design and material science. She is currently studying MA Social Design, where she focuses on mappings, urban innovation and collaborative projects.