Thursday, 16 February 2017

Biobased Live: Innovation for Sustainable Products

From 31 May to 1 June the BioBased Live Europe event will be taking place at the Amsterdam Science Park. BioBased Live aims to take biobased innovations from laboratory to market through best practice sharing and making biobased products a key part of sustainable strategies.

BioBased Live and its organisers, BioBased World News, believe there has never been a more exciting time to work in the biobased industries - and SusChem agrees! Global production of biobased chemicals now exceeds 60 million tonnes with the global market for biobased chemicals expected to increase to at least $12.2 billion by 2021. We want to support this sustainable shift towards the circular economy and bio-based products.

What is BioBased Live Europe?
This second annual meeting offers an interactive and intimate environment to make biobased innovations a key part of future sustainable strategies. Bringing together CEOs, senior R&D,and Process Heads with the sustainability professionals, brand marketing specialists and end users, the event creates a unique platform to do business and create practical takeaways to ensure long-term sustainable success.

As an emerging industry the journey from lab innovation to commercialisation for biobased products can be a difficult one. It is a convoluted ecosystem and all actors are required to collaborate and work together to ensure a productive future for the bio-based industry. This is where Biobased Live comes in.

Focus of the event, in which SusChem will participate is on two themes:
  • Process Innovation & Technology - developing biobased and green innovations that are cost-competitive at commercial scale.
  • Sustainable Products - improving the triple bottom line for brands and retailers by placing biobased and green adoption at the heart of sustainability strategies.
You can find out more at the BioBased Live website, where you can look at the event's agenda, download a brochure for the event and, of course, register. SusChem stakeholders are being offered a 15% discount on registration fees using the code SUS15.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Green and Sustainable Chemistry in Berlin

Following a very successful first edition in April 2016, the second Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference will again bring together international researchers from academia and industry, from authorities and other institutions, to communicate and share the latest developments across the broad and diverse fields of Green and Sustainable Chemistry. The conference takes place on 14 - 17 May at the Hotel Intercontinental in Berlin. 

SusChem board member and Director of the Institute for Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Prof. Klaus Kümmerer (pictured below), is the Chairman of the Conference organising committee. In a welcome message to conference delegates he says:

"Research has shown that reduction in waste, energy and resources not only contributes to a more sustainable growth of industry in developing countries and also improves sustainability of the chemical industry. In addition to improvements in synthesis and issues directly linked to the chemicals themselves it also has been learnt that sustainability issues throughout the life cycle of chemicals and other chemicals products should be taken into consideration. This holds not only for developed but also for developing countries."

Submissions for oral and poster presentations at the conference were particularly welcome on aspects of green and sustainable chemistry that directly relate to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Topics that will be covered at the conference include:
  • Mineral resources and recycling
  • Resources for organic molecules
  • Synthesis and catalysis
  • Energy conversion
  • Green and sustainable pharmacy
  • Legislation and sustainable chemistry
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals and sustainable chemistry
  • Developing countries and sustainable chemistry
  • Industry and sustainable chemistry
  • Education
You can access more details on the programme for the conference here and registration details are here. Early registration fees are available until 17 March. The twitter hashtag for the conference is #greenchem2017.

Sustainable Chemistry Challenge
Another unique feature of this conference will be the Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. Projects can be in any field of Green or Sustainable Chemistry, but must be applicable for use in developing countries. The top five candidates will be invited to the conference to make presentations and winners will be selected with an awards ceremony at the end of the conference. The winning project receive EUR 50 000; with a second prize of EUR 25 000 also available.

Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry
The Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference is also being organised in cooperation with the inaugural conference of ISC3 and ISCnet: “Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry” on 17-18 May in Berlin. The conference programme will cover:
  • International political and economic issues of importance for the development of sustainable chemistry
  • Results of studies from a project to frame the area of future research by the ISC3
  • Drawing up the organisational structure for ISCnet (see below)
  • The introduction of the ISC3 executives
This conference also provides an opportunity to meet members of the ISCnet global network, which is open to everyone engaged in sustainable chemistry. The International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) wants to support the global breakthrough of Sustainable Chemistry. The project for the establishment of ISC3 was launched in March 2015 by the German Federal Environment Agency.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Date announced for 2017 SusChem Stakeholder Event!

SusChem is proud to announce that its 2017 Stakeholder event will take place on
Thursday, 8 June in Brussels.

Mark the date in your diary now! As usual attendance at the event will be free of charge for all SusChem stakeholder, but registration will be required.

More details will be published soon on the SusChem website. In the meantime if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the SusChem Secretariat.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Help shape the Future of European Industry

You can help the European Commission shape the industrial agenda of tomorrow at the Industry Day Conference that takes place on 28 February 2017. Some 400 participants, including key industrial players, global trend shapers and high-level policy makers, will inspire a full-day of debate on the future of European industry at the European Commission's Charlemagne Building in Brussels at the end of February.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, and Commissioners Elżbieta Bieńkowska (Internal Market, Industry, SMEs and Entrepreneurship) and Carlos Moedas (Research and Innovation) will all participate in the event.
Representatives of traditional and new, disruptive sectors will present their views on the future of their business. Entrepreneurs, innovators, start-ups and the tech community will share the stage with key EU political leaders.

There will also be speakers from the Committee of Regions, the European Investment Bank, the European Parliament, Business Europe, the European Roundtable of Industrialists and the European Trade Union Confederation.

Industry is changing
The nature of industry is changing, driven by rapid technological change. The evolution of industrial activity is characterised by digitalisation, clean and circular technologies, and a higher reliance on services. SusChem is actively engaged in shaping policy in all these industry-relevant areas – and others such as Key Enabling Technologies.

The Commission supports industry and makes a strong contribution to jobs and growth in Europe. Major policy initiatives for industrial competitiveness range from the Investment Plan and Horizon 2020 to the Single Market Strategy, from circular economy to Digitising European Industry. The Commission’s strategic approach to industrial competitiveness aims to empower businesses, citizens and entire regions to be fit for the future.

The European Industry Day event will take stock of existing actions and stimulate debate on a joint vision for the long-term future of European industry. Questions to debate include:
  • What has been achieved by mainstreaming industrial competitiveness into EU policy?
  • How will people find their place in the new industrial revolution?
  • What is the role of regional ecosystems for industrial transformation?
  • What are the key technologies for the future of industry?

The event will also aim to identify barriers preventing further progress towards  smart, clean and innovative industry that creates employment and high living standards for our citizens.

Registration for the event is via the event webpage. For more information contact the EU Industry Day team.

Friday, 27 January 2017

More rebel thinkers required for 2017 LRI Award!

Are you a real rebel thinker? Do you have a great idea for novel research in human health or environmental risk assessment? Then apply now for the Cefic-LRI Innovative Science Award 2017. But be quick - the closing date for applications is 19 March 2017.

The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), in conjunction with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), ), the Association of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX), and the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES) is offering a €100,000 award to support promising new research in the field of dose-response of synergy in combined exposure to humans or environmental species. But you must apply by 19 March 2017!

New approaches to synergy needed
The risk assessment of combined exposures to multiple chemicals is largely based on the assumption that effects of chemicals acting via the same Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) / Mode of Action (MoA) can be estimated based on dose-addition, and that different AOPs/MoAs can be accounted for by response-addition models. The interaction of multiple chemicals that result in more-than-additive adverse effects (‘synergy’) is assumed to be rare and is mostly described for toxicokinetic interactions of pharmaceuticals at high doses.

Beyond the question of whether synergy can occur or not, the synergy dose-response is highly relevant for the risk assessment of moderate to low co-exposures to either humans or environmental species. But today our knowledge on the relevance of both exposure levels and mixture ratios on the occurrence and degree of synergy is limited.

So for 2017 the LRI Award is looking for new approaches and techniques that, in characterising synergy dose-response, will improve risk assessment of chemical co-exposures at environmentally relevant exposure levels. These could include:
  • Experimental approaches to examine the dose-response of more-than-additive interactions of chemicals in relevant models of environmental or human health effect assessment
  • Structure-activity modelling
  • Mathematical modelling to integrate mechanistic and/or kinetic knowledge and experimental data from different models
Award objectives
The objective of this LRI Award is to stimulate innovative research, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and new approaches which will advance the development and application of new and existing approaches in the assessment of chemical safety.

The research should be complementary to the Long-range Research Initiative’s (LRI) objectives. LRI is a chemical industry funded programme that aims at enhancing scientific knowledge to help protect health and the environment.

The award is intended for a European-based scientist with less than ten years post-doctoral experience. Active involvement in interdisciplinary research, current academic track record, and access to appropriate networks will be considered in the selection. There is no age limit for applicants.

Applicants must submit a two-page project proposal by mid- March. Short-listed researchers are then requested to send in a more detailed description of their work, after which the three finalists are selected to present their proposal before a jury panel in Brussels. This year the final selection in Brussels will be on June 2017.

The winning proposal of the LRI Innovative Science Award will be officially presented at the LRI Annual Workshop on 15 November 2017. The 2017 Awardee will be expected to present the results of the research supported by the Award at the LRI Annual Workshop in November 2018.

The Cefic-LRI Innovative Science Award was established in 2004 to inspire highly innovative and industry relevant projects in biomedical toxicology and ecotoxicology led by promisingly early career scientists. The prize of € 100 000 has been awarded annually ever since - boosting the careers of twelve younger European scientists in the challenging fields with which LRI is engaged.

For more details on the Cefic-LRI award and how to apply visit the awards web page or email the Cefic-LRI secretariat.

What is LRI?
The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) programme is a major voluntary initiative of the European chemical industry to support the long-term sustainability of its sector and European society. Through the programme we hope to identify the hazards posed by chemicals and improve the methods available for assessing the associated risks.

The LRI sponsors high-quality research of a standard publishable in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, and seeks to provide sound scientific advice on which industry and regulatory bodies can draw-on to respond quickly and accurately to public concerns.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Bioeconomy: Challenges and opportunities

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has just issued a briefing paper on the Bioeconomy. The eight page document, entitled ‘Bioeconomy: Challenges and opportunities’ provides a background to the European bioeconomy before outlining a range of opportunities and challenges this present, the EU’s policy on bioeconomy, the European Parliament’s position and a range of Stakeholders' views. An edited summary of the paper is below. The full briefing can be downloaded here.

The bioeconomy refers to the production and extraction of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food and feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. The current notion of the bioeconomy emerged recently as a knowledge-driven concept aimed at meeting a range of today's challenges. In the European Union (EU), the bioeconomy sectors have an annual turnover of about €2 trillion and employ between 17 and 19 million people. They use almost 75% of the EU land area.

The briefing highlights the strong research and innovation dimension of the bioeconomy, which may be applied to improve the production of food, feed and fibre as well as to develop new applications and products in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals and energy. This dimension, generally referred to as the 'knowledge-based bioeconomy', is in part driven by recent developments in bioscience and biotechnology, related in particular to bio-based materials and genetic engineering of crops. Recent applications include materials, textiles, cosmetics, furniture and food. A variety of products could be produced in integrated units, for instance integrated biorefineries producing fuels, chemicals, plastics, heat and electricity.

A stronger bioeconomy could trigger growth and jobs, and reduce dependency on imports. It could contribute to optimising the use of biological resources, which remain finite although they are renewable. However, it could also create competition between uses and technologies at various levels. Besides, the amount of available biomass remains disputed. A bioeconomy could contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving public health. However, it could also trigger new greenhouse gas emissions and induce adverse impacts on the environment.

The EU policy framework for the bioeconomy is spread across a number of policies (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, climate, circular economy and research). Although a bioeconomy strategy from 2012 aims to ensure policy coherence, inconsistencies remain. The EU provides funding to innovative bioeconomy activities through Horizon 2020 and a range of other instruments.

The European Parliament has been supportive of the bioeconomy strategy, while highlighting the need for sustainability and policy coherence.

SusChem and the Bioeconomy
A sustainable bioeconomy features in the SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) encompassing the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and associated waste streams into value-added products such as feed, food, biobased products and bioenergy.

Integrated biorefineries are central to the development of the bioeconomy and were one SusChem’s original flagship innovation concepts. They can deliver new sources of chemical building blocks that are either structurally similar to fossil-based feedstock or new with novel functionalities and improved properties. In order to unlock the full potential of a sustainable biomass supply, it is essential to consider all possible sources including second generation biomass and waste streams (such as municipal wastes). The bioeconomy can improve resource efficiency and is a key element in achieving the broader concept of a circular, integrated, renewable economy.

Innovation is also a key solution provider for the transition to a more Circular Economy and the development by the chemical sector of innovative advanced materials and process technologies is essential to enable a better use of existing resources along the whole life cycle, to develop new production and recycling paths.

About EPRS
The European Parliamentary Research Service is the European Parliament's in-house research department and think tank. Its mission is to assist Members in their parliamentary work by providing them with independent, objective and authoritative analysis of, and research on, policy issues relating to the European Union. It is also designed to increase Members and European Parliament committees' capacity to scrutinise and oversee the European Commission and other EU executive bodies.

The EPRS website is here and you can also follow EPRS on Twitter.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

New WssTP Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda published

How can we realise the true value of water for our environment, economy and society? Is it possible to reduce the impact of Europe’s society on our natural water resources? In what way can we boost the European water market? How can we secure long-term resilience, stability, sustainability, and security of the society with regard to water? These and many more questions are answered in the European Water Platform (WssTP) Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (WssTP SIRA) which has just been published!

Following the release of the new WssTP Water Vision 2030 ‘The Value of Water: Towards a Future proof model for a European water-smart society’ in October 2016, WssTP has followed up with its new SIRA, The Value of Water; Multiple Waters, for multiple purpose and users, demonstrating an innovative route to implement the WssTP Water Vision.

SusChem works closely with WssTP and supports the platform's work including major joint collaborations such as the E4Water FP7 project that presented its results last year.

Key components
The WssTP Water Vision 2030 has been built on four Key Components (KC) of innovations, all contributing to increasing and better realising the Value of Water, and jointly defining the WssTP future-proof model for a water-smart and resilient society. These four components are:
  • The Value of Water
  • New Digital and Water Technologies
  • A Hybrid Grey and Green Infrastructure
  • An enabling inclusive multi-stakeholder Governance
To realise the WssTP Water Vision, the WssTP SIRA aims to combine real-life experimental environments (Living Labs) with dedicated research and innovation actions targeted at developing the 4 layers of the European model for a future proof water-smart society. The research and innovation actions, suggested by the WssTP Water SIRA are organised in six main components which are presented in the figure below:

WssTP is now in the process of translating the new Water Vision to all the EU’s official languages, promoting the understanding and use of the Water Vision not only at European level but also at national, regional and municipal level.

What is the WssTP vision?
The WssTP vision aims to show the routes towards a better exploitation and stewardship of our water sources by society and businesses while developing resilient and sustainable solutions for our key global water challenges. It describes how these challenges can be turned into opportunities for Europe, to develop new technologies, solutions, business and governance models for the water-smart society of the future. The vision imagines a future, where water scarcity and pollution of ground- and surface water in Europe are avoided, water, energy and resource loops are closed to a large extent to realise a circular economy, the water system is resilient against climate change events and European water-related business thrives as a result of forward-looking research and innovation.

For more information on WssTP activities and the new SIRA, please contact Durk Krol at the platform.