Friday, 20 January 2017

Presenting the BBI JU 2017 Annual Work Programme

The BioBased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) has published its 2017 Annual Work Plan (AWP) and Budget. This 79-page document outlines the scope and details of research and innovation activities prioritised for the 2017 Call as well as giving an overview of the governance and activities of the BBI JU for the year.

The 2017 AWP is the fourth AWP in a total of seven that are planned between 2014 and 2020. The critical path towards 2020 for the PPP is the acceleration of the development of (new) sustainable value chains from biomass feedstock supply via efficient processing, to the acceptance and application of biobased products in end-markets. The 2017 AWP refocuses on the need to better integrate biomass feedstock suppliers on the front end of the value chain to create a demand for biomass feedstock from biorefining processes.

Similarly, the AWP aims to stimulate the formation of partnerships with end market actors to create a ‘market pull’ for biobased products for identified applications. As initiated in last year’s AWP 2016, the AWP 2017 moves away from a strict biomass feedstock ‘push’ based on traditional value chains, towards a demand for biomass to enable processing to respond adequately to a ‘pull’ from the end markets.

Focus and impact
The identified priorities for the BBI JU continue to build on those for 2016, but add emphasis on products with new functionalities, and on supporting actions to better realise the associated expected impacts. In addition, the emphasis on sustainability, addressing the environmental, social and economic dimension, is increased.

The strategic orientations for 2017 and 2018 are:

  1. Fostering a sustainable biomass-feedstock supply to feed both existing and new value chains; 
  2. Optimising efficient processing for integrated biorefineries; 
  3. Developing innovative bio-based products for specific market applications; 
  4. Creating and accelerating the market uptake of bio-based products and applications.

The 2017 Call
The 2017 call will have the identifier: H2020-BBI-JTI-2017 and the anticipated official publication date is 11 April with a indicative deadline for proposal submission of 17h00 (Brussels time) on 7 September. The call will be a single stage call and the total indicative budget for the call is € 81 million with an estimated value of the in kind contributions by the members other than the European Union or their constituent entities of a minimum of € 40 million.

The full call topic list is below.

Research and Innovation Actions – Total indicative budget: € 36 million
BBI 2017.R1 – Valorisation of gaseous side streams from bio-based operations into chemical building blocks (Strategic orientation: Feedstock, Indicative project funding: € 2 million to € 5 million)

BBI 2017.R2 – Innovative technologies for the pre-treatment and separation of lignocellulosic feedstock and complex composition streams into valuable fractions while maintaining key characteristics (Strategic orientation: Process, Indicative project funding: € 2 million to € 5 million)

BBI 2017.R3 – Exploiting extremophiles and extremozymes to broaden the processing conditions to convert biomass into high value building blocks (Strategic orientation: Process, Indicative project funding: € 2 million to € 5 million)

BBI 2017.R4 – Proteins and other bioactive ingredients from side streams and residues (Strategic orientation: Products, Indicative project funding: € 2 million to € 5 million)

BBI 2017.R5 – Novel bio-based chemical precursors to improve the performance of mass consumption products (Strategic orientation: Products, Indicative project funding: € 2 million to € 5 million)

BBI 2017.R6 – Competitive biodegradable, compostable and/or recyclable bio-based plastics for a sustainable end-of-life phase (Strategic orientation: Products, Indicative project funding: € 2 million to € 5 million)

BBI 2017.R7 – Novel secondary bio-based chemicals without significant fossil-based counterparts but with high application potential (Strategic orientation: Products, Indicative project funding: € 2 million to € 5 million)

Innovations Actions – Demonstration Actions - Total indicative budget: € 22 million
BBI 2017.D1 – Valorisation of liquid and solid side streams from biobased operations into high added-value products to create new feedstock for bio-based products (Strategic orientation: Feedstock, Indicative project funding: up to € 7 million)

BBI 2017.D2 – Integrated multi valorisation of algae into advanced materials and high added-value additives BBI 2017. (Strategic orientation: Feedstock, Indicative project funding: up to € 7 million)

BBI 2017.D3 – Breakthrough primary bio-based chemicals without significant fossil-based counterparts but with high marketability (Strategic orientation: Products, Indicative project funding: up to € 7 million)

BBI 2017.D4 – Innovative bio-based fertilising products to increase the sustainability of fertilising practises in agriculture (Strategic orientation: Products, Indicative project funding: up to € 7 million)

BBI 2017.D5 – Advanced bio-based fibres and materials for large volume applications (Strategic orientation: Products, Indicative project funding: up to € 7 million)

Innovation Actions – Flagship Actions - Total indicative budget: € 21 million
BBI 2017.F1 – Integrated ‘zero waste’ biorefinery utilising all fractions of the feedstock for production of chemicals and materials (Strategic orientation: Process, Indicative project funding: up to € 21 million)

BBI 2017.F2 – Large scale production of proteins for food and feed applications from alternative, sustainable sources (Strategic orientation: Products, Indicative project funding: up to € 21 million)

Coordination and Support Actions Total indicative budget: € 2 million
BBI 2017.S1 – Establish cooperation and partnership with brand owners and consumer representatives to improve market access of sustainable bio-based products (Strategic orientation: Market Uptake, Indicative project funding: up to € 1 million)

BBI 2017.S2 – Identify opportunities for ICT to increase efficiency of biomass supply chains for the bio-based industry products (Strategic orientation: Market Uptake, Indicative project funding: up to € 1 million)

More information
You can download the BBI JU 2017 AWP here. On 28 April 2017, the BBI JU will organise its fourth Open Info Day and Brokerage event in Brussels, following the official launch of the 2017 Call for proposals. The venue is planned to be the Commission's Charlemagne Building. The Open Info Day aims to bring together potential applicants and provide information and networking opportunities in time for the 2017 Call for proposals. For more information visit the BBI JU website.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

BBI JU Science Committee looking for new members

The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) has opened a Call for Expressions of Interest for independent experts to be appointed as members of its Scientific Committee. The deadline to submit an expression of interest is noon on 26 January 2017.

The BBI JU is organising this open Call to appoint additional Scientific Committee members with expertise in one or more areas relevant to the work of the BBI JU. The BBI JU is looking for highly skilled, open-minded and independent experts with an innovative vision for the bio-based industries in Europe, who could join the current Scientific Committee.

More information on the Call is available on the BBI JU website in the Scientific Committee webpage.

People who are employed by an organisation that is full member of Biobased Industry Consortium (BIC) are not eligible candidates for this Call.

The Scientific Committee
The BBI JU Scientific Committee consists of no more than fifteen members who are appointed for three years. The appointments can be renewed once for a second three-year term following a recommendation of a pre-selection panel and confirmation by the BBI JU Governing Board. Each member of the committee serves in an independent scientific capacity and does not represent countries, employers nor other similar interests. Currently the committee has 10 members.

The Scientific Committee acts as an advisory body of the BBI JU established in accordance with the BBI Regulation and assists the BBI JU in providing scientific advice on the areas of work undertaken by the BBI JU. The Scientific Committee has two major tasks:

  • Advise on the scientific priorities to be addressed in the annual work plans 
  • Advise on the scientific achievements described in the annual activity report 

Moreover, the BBI JU Governing Board can ask the Scientific Committee to provide advice on a specific matter of interest to the BBI JU such as adjustments to the Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA).

What is the BBI JU?
The Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) is a Public-Private Partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). BBI JU is operating under Horizon 2020 rules and its activities are driven its Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA), which was developed by industry. The BBI JU was established on 6 May 2014. The mission of BBI JU is to implement the SIRA.

The BIC is a non-profit organisation that was created to represent the industry group that supports the BBI JU. The members of BIC cover the entire bio-based value chain and consist of large industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), regional clusters, European trade associations, and European Technology Platforms. The aim of BIC is to ensure and promote the technological and economic development of the bio-based industries in Europe.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

SusChem responds to Horizon 2020 Interim Consultation

SusChem has submitted a position paper and a completed questionnaire to the Horizon 2020 Interim consultation. The results of the consultation will feed into planning for Horizon 2020’s successor programme (currently with the working title ‘FP9’) for 2021 and beyond. The Commission will publish a summary of views from the consultation by mid-2017.

The SusChem position paper has three key messages for the Commission:

PPPs are important for impact
The paper states one of the main aspects in Horizon 2020 is the drive for Innovation. It notes that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), such as SPIRE and BBI, are important instruments that promote competitiveness, participation of partners along the value chain and foster a networking balance between SMEs and large industries. SusChem believes that this combination of SMEs, public partners and large companies is critical to cross the “technology valley of death” and this combination should be targeted as a long term committed initiative for Horizon 2020 and its successors.
Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are key
The chemical industry provides sustainable and innovative solutions (KETs) that address the Societal Challenges identified by the European Commission under Horizon 2020. SusChem believes that innovative technologies and processes are the way to overcome the growth stagnation of European Industry. The platform thinks that National Technology Platforms (NTPs) have a fundamental role positioning their geographical strengths and needs to build a strong European technological and political network.
Project Success Rates can be improved
SusChem notes the almost halving of the success rate for project proposals in Horizon 2020 compared to FP7. SusChem believes this can be improved by more accurate call definitions with funding focused on a short list of major breakthrough innovation topics, with higher funding for more high quality projects. More precise call definitions will also enable better quality reviews of proposals.  
In addition the SusChem Position Paper highlights support for the two-stage call approach in Horizon 2020 and but highlights intellectual property (IP) concerns with the move to an Open Science approach as too hasty publications may hinder IP protection and therefore value creation.

The paper also stresses the importance of attracting a mix of SMEs and large industries to participate in Horizon 2020 and its successors seeking a continuation of the balance of public funding for SMEs and large chemical companies that is crucial to improve competitiveness in Europe.  

The paper argues that Improved Time to Grant for project funding is critical to maintain and increase industrial participation in Horizon 2020. In addition appropriate funding levels for projects is required with higher funding needed in particular to bridge upfront technologies and processes over the ‘valley of death’. Higher funding for innovation projects (TRL 6-8), demonstration and flagship actions is necessary. The paper also highlights that administrative costs for project consortia formation have increased in Horizon 2020.

SusChem recommends
SusChem’s position paper includes with the following specific recommendations:

  • A substantial coverage of topics in lower TRLs (Technical Readiness Level 3 – 5) and few topics at demonstration and pilot levels (TRL > 7) with appropriate levels of funding is required.
  • Strengthen the Public Private Partnership concept as a long term committed initiative; increase their attractiveness for large industry by higher funding for more flagship-oriented projects.
  • Focus the Horizon 2020 programme on fewer/bigger topics related to Europe’s strengths that can receive more funding to enable mission focused Flagship Project(s) for the chemical industry.
  • Focus on fewer topics but fund at least four high quality proposals, allowing a holistic approach for a specific scientific challenge.
  • To achieve a better participation balance in Horizon 2020 between large industries, SMEs, academia, and Member States (EU-13 and new Member States) an improvement of call topic selection is strongly required.
  • Earlier publication of call topics allowing possible partners to align themselves with their business planning is desirable
  • All the calls for proposals should be based on a two-stage process: this would allow a simplification of the workload of the involved consortia. Criteria: (i) the time for evaluation of the first stage should be faster with a shorter deadline between stages one and two; (ii) the coherence between the evaluations in both phases can be improved.
  • Better and more precise feedback for rejected projects is highly desirable.
  • Horizon 2020 is an important R&I funding mechanism, but overall may represent only a portion of total R&I funding/support available in the EU through other programmes and/or member state instruments. A better integration between different funding mechanisms is highly desirable.
  • High-level support in the Member States and the European Parliament is required to achieve the rejuvenation of the process industry in Europe.

SusChem impact
The SusChem Position Paper concludes by discussing the preliminary impact of selected FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects by highlighting a range of SusChem inspired projects in five relevant fields covering sustainable chemistry contributions in process industries, circular economy, and energy efficiency amongst others. The fields highlighted are:

  • Water Management 
  • Catalysis and Processes
  • ICT/Digitisation and Processes
  • Sustainable Bioeconomy
  • Materials for Energy

You can download the full SusChem Position Paper here and SusChem’s completed questionnaire here. For more information on SusChem activities visit the SusChem website or email the SusChem secretariat.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Springtime in Lille for Plant Based Summit

April 2017 will see the Plant Based Summit launch its 4th edition in Lille, France. With an even sharper positioning on the innovation, co-development and operational implementation required to deploy biobased products, the Plant Based Summit 2017 (PBS 2017) will be a great opportunity for participants to contribute to the evolution of plant-based, green and sustainable chemistry.

From 25-27 April the Plant Based Summit presents the latest developments and solutions to more than 700 international public and private decision-makers at the Lille Grand Palais. Participants to the conference typically include end-users, producers of biobased intermediates, biomass producers and transformers, R&D specialists, business angels, investment funds as well as European and national decision makers.

The focus of the PBS 2017 Conference is to stimulate biobased product development through a market driven approach. The conference program demonstrates how a higher uptake of biobased solutions in everyday products will benefit consumers.

In particular PBS 2017 will address the markets of home and personal care, pharmaceuticals, construction, packaging, transportation, coating, adhesives, as well as a dedicated cross-market stream on biobased solutions for infants and children.

SusChem is an active supporter of the Plant Based Summit and participated in previous events including running a session at the last summit in Lille providing a vision of how biobased chemistry is part of the wider world of sustainable chemistry.

SusChem is working to reinforce the links between the mainstream chemistry and the biobased sector and, of course, the bioeconomy features in the SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA).

Plant based programme
The PBS 2017 programme includes three plenary sessions, 20 thematic sessions and an exhibitors workshops.

To speed up the development process, all operators in the value chain need to deal with environmental issues, industrial and investment challenges by:
  • Bringing companies together to move towards an integrated plant based chemicals supply chain
  • Achieving technology scale up
  • Exploring business opportunities (industrial formulation, packaging, bio-cosmetics, plastics etc.)
At the Plant Based Summit, stakeholders in the biobased economy will be able to share their experience, find the best solutions to fit its own specific place and development stage, enabling them to make the decisive leap forward and contribute to empowering the biobased economy.

What is the Plant Based Summit?
PBS 2017 is the dedicated European exhibition, covering some 2.300 square metres, for the plant-based sector with more than 75 exhibitors covering manufacturers of biobased products, agricultural cooperatives and raw material traders, agro-industrials, suppliers and distributors of biobased products, equipment suppliers for the chemical industry, chemicals companies, engineering, Consulting and Investment companies, and public and political institutions

PBS 2017 is also the leading biobased products congress with 30 targeted conferences sessions and more than 100 international key speakers, providing first-hand insights and updates. The 2017 congress focus is on stimulating biobased product development through a market driven approach.

For more information visit the PBS 2017 website. PBS 2017 is organised by L’Association Chimie du Vegetal.

Monday, 9 January 2017

European Polymer Federation Congress, Lyon, July 2017

The 16th European Polymer Federation Congress (EPF 2017) takes place in Lyon from 2-7 July 2017. The Congress promises to be an exceptional rendezvous for all polymer scientists and engineers belonging to universities, institutions, and companies from around the World. The Congress theme is ‘From last trends in polymer science to cutting-edge industrial innovations’. 

With invited plenary talks and some 40 keynote presentations given by renowned speakers from leading international teams EPF 2017 will present the latest trends, results, and applications for polymers and polymer science.

With the highly relevant selected topic areas and the anticipated high participation from all areas of the polymer science world and related fields, the EPF 2017 congress will be an important place for inspiring international and interdisciplinary exchanges at the forefront of polymer science and technology. The EPF 2017 Congress aspires to be the place to identify the hottest topics in polymer science and the latest applications of polymers, to meet all the polymer community, to discuss,  and design new collaborations, … and to discover Lyon as well!

The EPF 2017 Congress topics include:

  • Macromolecular Chemistry
  • Polymerisation Processes
  • Physics of Polymers & Polymer Materials
  • Polymer Characterisation Methods
  • Modelling & Simulation

Sessions will also cover Polymers as Answers to Societal Issues including topics such as Energy, Transport and Mobility, Resources and Environment, Global Health, Information Society, Polymers and the Industry of the Future

On Tuesday 4 July, EPF 2017 will also be hosting , the second Australian-European Workshop that will illustrate connections, interactions and collaborations between European and Australian polymer researchers.

The extensive list of plenary speakers for EPF 2017 includes Prof. Jean-Marie Lehen, Université Strasbourg; Dr. Floryan De Campo, Head of Technology Specialty Polymers Solvay Company; Prof. Emmanuel Giannelis, Cornell University; Prof. Gaetano Guerra, Università degli Studi di Salerno; Prof. Laura Kiessling, University of Wisconsin - Madison; Prof. Joao Mano, University of Aveiro; Prof. Rolf Mulhaupt, Freiburg University; Prof. Anthony Ryan, Sheffield University; and Dr. Søren Kristiansen, LEGO Group Sustainable Materials.

Get involved!
All participants are invited to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations. Submitted abstracts will be peer reviewed for their acceptance by the International Advisory Board and the Organising Committee. If the organisers cannot accept an oral presentation, presenters will be invited to present their research via a poster presentation.

Online registration and abstract submission are open now, but be quick as the deadline for abstract submission for an oral presentation is 31 January and notification of acceptance of the abstract is 15 March. The deadline for abstract submission for a ‘last-minute’ poster presentation is 31 March.

Find out more on the EPF 2017 website. For further details contact the EPF 2017 Congress Secretariat via email.

Friday, 30 December 2016

SusChem Greece kick-off ends 2016 on a high

SusChem Greece, the Greek National Technology Platform (NTP) for Sustainable Chemistry, whose Secretariat is operated by IPSEN, scored its first success on Friday 16 December with a successful inaugural Kick-off event in central Athens.

SusChem Greece Founding Members, most of whom are industrial associations, sustainable chemistry professionals or consumers, were present en masse, together with individual company delegates.  Also represented were non-member associations, whose sectors are related to sustainable chemistry.

The enthusiastic crowd came to listen to Ms Anne-Chloe Devic, Innovation Manager at Cefic and representing the European Technology Platform SusChem (pictured below second from the right), Ms Cristina Gonzalez, chief of the Spanish NTP SusChem Espana (on the left below)and Ms Leda Ampatzi, a specialist in EU-funded projects. Also pictured below (on the right) is Prof. Antonis Kokossis from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).

The Greek industry had its voice heard in a round table discussion, moderated by experienced journalist John Rizopoulos.  The event was addressed by supportive politicians, including Messrs Tsironis, Alternate Minister for Rural Development and Food, Mr. Zafeiris, General Secretary for Industry, Mr. Kostopoulos, Secretary of the opposition party New Democracy for Scientific Organisations and Ms Kafantari, Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Production and Trade.

SusChem Greece aspires to leverage EU research and development funds and alliances in aid of Greek-originated sustainable chemistry priorities. More information on the event and the SusChem Greece can be found here:

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

2016 SusChem End of Year Message

Dear colleagues and members of the SusChem community,

The year 2016 represented a significant milestone for SusChem. Together we defined five main priority areas for our research and innovation activities in sustainable chemistry -  Sustainable bio-economy, ICT for processes, Water, Catalysis and Processes, and Materials for Energy  -  and developed a comprehensive plan for following up other important topics.

During the year a number of SusChem inspired projects delivered significant results, most notably the E4Water project, that demonstrated the very tangible impact of our research and innovation agenda. 2016 also saw SusChem act to facilitate enhanced collaboration and cooperation between the two SusChem inspired Public Private Partnerships: the BBI Joint Undertaking and SPIRE.

We successfully held our annual Stakeholder event in June, as usual in Brussels, and a very successful Brokerage event in Seville in September during the 6th European Chemical Congress. New Working Groups were created and substantial and significant input, based on the needs of our sector, was gathered, delivered to the European Commission and well received by them. Moreover, our network of National Technology Platforms expanded to include a record number of fourteen Member States.

Towards the end of the year we launched our new SusChem identity at a reception in the European Parliament. This rebranding campaign will continue into 2017 including a revision of the SusChem website.

But above all, the greatest success factor for SusChem in 2016 was YOU! Your commitment, trust and involvement strengthened SusChem and motivated the platform in its mission to represent the significant sustainable chemistry research and innovation efforts of the Chemical Industry within the chemical science community, to the European Institutions, and beyond.

On behalf of the SusChem Board and the SusChem secretariat, I would like to thank you for your continuing engagement and we wish you all very happy and relaxing holidays and a healthy, happy and “sustainable” New Year. 2017 will be another important year for SusChem and we look forward to working with you on new SusChem inspired initiatives over the next 12 months.

Best wishes,

Dr Klaus H. Sommer
Chairman of the SusChem Board