Thursday, 10 April 2014

SusChem-Spain launches its Young Chemists Awards 2014!

For the sixth consecutive year SusChem-Spain has launched its prestigious Young Chemists Awards. With four different categories, the SusChem Young Chemists Awards 2014 aims to publicly acknowledge research activity carried out by Younger Chemists in Spain. To take part entries must be received by 6 May 2014. 

The Spanish Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry, SusChem-Spain, launched its SusChem-Young Chemists Awards this week in Madrid. The main objectives of the awards are to recognize, encourage and promote scientific activity among young researchers in Spain. And entrants for the awards must submit the required documents through the SusChem-Spain website by 6 May.

These awards, divided into four categories (Innova, Predoc, Postdoc and Futura - see below), are promoted by  SusChem – Spain , Foro QuĂ­mica y Sociedad, the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry (RSEQ), specialized RSEQ Young Researchers in Chemistry (JIQ), National Chemists Association (ANQUE), General Counsel of Chemists, Spanish Chemical Industry Federation (FEIQUE) and Tecnalia.

For 2014 the awards are sponsored by the companies Bruker and BSH.

Prize categories
SusChem Awards, aimed at young chemists aged under 40, are divided in four different categories –Innova, Predoc, Postdoc and Futura- and the winners of each category will be rewarded with a € 1 000 cash prize.

The categories are:

  • INNOVA: This award recognises the best work (patent, scientific publication and/or final degree or master’s Project) developed after collaboration between one or more companies and any agent of the technology system (Public Research Institutes, Universities or RTOs). The candidate’s work must have been developed in the last two years in one or several of the following areas related to sustainable chemistry: Industrial Biotechnology, Reaction and Process Design, New Materials & Nanotechnologies and Waste Valorisation.
  • PREDOC:  This award is for the author of the best scientific publication, published during 2013, in any area of chemistry and who had not finished their PhD studies before 31st December 2013.
  • POSTDOC: This award is for the author of the best scientific publication, published during 2013, in any area of chemistry and who had finished the PhD studies before 1st January 2013.
  • FUTURA: This award recognises the best academic record in Chemistry, or related Sciences, obtained in 2013.

The awards will be judged by a jury comprising six recognized members from each of the promoting organizations. The Jury’s decision will be announced no later than 16 June 2014 personally to the winners and via the SusChem-Spain website and the websites of the other promoting organisations.

The full Terms and Conditions of the competitions are available here (in Spanish).

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

SusChem is at Industrial Technologies 2014!

The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) has joined forces with the Greek Presidency of the EU to promote Smart Growth through Research and Innovation at the European Commission’s major Industrial Technologies 2014 event that is taking place in Athens from 9 – 11 April. 

The Industrial Technologies 2014 conference is part of the programme of the Greek Presidency of the EU and integrates nanotechnology, biotechnology, advanced materials and new production technologies; all areas where SusChem has a leading role in coordinating and initiating research and innovation projects and programmes.

SusChem will demonstrate its broad influence in pushing forward industrial technologies and competitiveness in Europe in collaboration with many partners.
Sustainable chemistry is a key enabler to ensure competitiveness in Europe and a vital component of almost all value chains across the continent.

Dr. Jacques Komornicki, Cefic Innovation Manager and SusChem Manager, will be leading the SusChem team at Industrial Technologies 2014 and says: “SusChem is at Industrial Technologies 2014 to continue to provide input into the Horizon 2020 programme as it evolves and to ensure that sustainable chemistry remains at the forefront of European innovation.”

Dr. Komornicki is a member of the external advisory group for the conference.

Visit Stand B6
The SusChem stand will be at Booth B6 in the exhibition area and will highlight how innovation and chemistry can help tackle societal challenges (see below).

As well as highlighting SusChem and its European and national technology platform network, the stand will feature the two major SusChem inspired public-private partnerships under Horizon 2020:

BioBased Industry Consortium (BIC) JTI – using renewable resources and innovative technologies to create greener everyday products [link to IndTech2014 poster]
Sustainable Process Industries through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) contractual PPP – dedicated to resource and energy efficiency across multiple process sectors [link to IndTech2014 poster]

The stand will also showcase four on-going SusChem FP7-funded projects:

Bio-Tic – assessing the future of European industrial biotechnology [link to IndTech2014 poster]
CRM_InnoNet – substitution of critical raw materials [link to IndTech2014 poster]
MatVal – a value chain approach to materials research and innovation [link to IndTech2014 poster]
R4R – resource and energy efficiency in the regional chemical industry [link to IndTech2014 poster]

These projects exemplify SusChem’s strategic approach. “The FP7 projects show how the knowledge we gain from these projects then feeds into our strategic research and innovation agenda,” comments Dr. Komornicki.

You can download the SusChem poster for IndTech 2014 here.

Conference speakers
SusChem will also be taking a leading role in the conference sessions. Dr. Gernot Klotz, Cefic Executive Director Research and Innovation, will be speaking in the plenary session on ‘Horizon 2020, NMP and Regional Funds Research Strategies’. This plenary session will investigate how the mission of Horizon 2020 can help target regional growth and promote ‘SusChem’ enabling technologies, and how this will benefit everyday life and society at large.

Also at the conference Antonia Morales Perez, Cefic Innovation Manager, will be chairing the session entitled ‘Ensuring availability and security of water supplies – New business opportunities for European industry’.

Morales Perez says “ensuring the security of our water supplies is challenging in Europe because the water business is not considered to be very profitable and needs a broader perspective since water affects not only citizens and water sectors, but also has a strong impact on industry activity and growth.”

She continues: “the chemical sector is committed to collaborating with other sectors for the benefit of Europe and our focus here today is on how the chemical Industry can help boost sustainable water management.”

Other sustainable chemistry speakers can be found featured throughout the conference programme.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Check out RESIDE!

One of Cefic and SusChem’s latest FP7 project has just launched its website. The RESIDE project aims to boost innovation in the European Union’s building refurbishment sector through roadmaps for demand side policy measures. The project consortium includes Cefic, consultants Bax and Willems and CiaoTech (part of PNO Consulting Group), and the University of Utrecht and will focus on three EU regions: Noord Brabant in the Netherlands, Catalonia in Spain and Lombardia in Italy.

RESIDE aims to support the implementation of European Union strategies to boost demand for innovation in the building refurbishment market and complements SusChem activity in materials research in this area such as SusChem's award winning work on 'Innovative Chemistry for Energy Efficiency of Buildings in Smart Cities' and our work in the Smart Cities/ Smart Housing priority area in general. The project kicked of on 21 December 2013 and run for 18 months.

The project aims to achieve its objectives by adapting and applying a promising emerging scientific approach, Technology Innovation System (TIS), for an extended localised market assessment of refurbishment needs. RESIDE will define, implement and monitor multi-level strategic roadmaps for Demand Sides Policy Measures, based on the TIS market assessment and proactive engage with all target groups in the whole process, in order to guarantee that project’s results have a sound basis and good implementation chances in the ‘real world’.

Market assessment
RESIDE will assess the market and set up a robust baseline scenario for the EU refurbishment market with a focus on three EU regions (Lombardia, Catalonia and Noord Brabant), using the TIS methodology to identify the interactions among different parts of the system.

The best suitable mix of demand side policy measures for the three selected regions will be proposed based on a combined bottom-up regional approach together with an EU-wide market assessment and a clear implementation plan for region-specific and effective demand side policy measures will be developed.

Moreover, the Consortium will pro-actively engage with relevant authorities at all levels and other relevant EU stakeholders in the value chain with the aim of ensuring that the final roadmaps are formalised with maximum levels of realism, viability and impact potential.

Finally, RESIDE will develop appropriate methodologies to monitor and evaluate the roadmaps in their development and implementation, with links to the EU Innovation Demand Monitoring System (IDMS) and Business Innovation Observatory (BIO).

To find out more about RESIDE visit the website or contact the project via this link.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Sustainable energy needs sustainable chemistry

On 19 March Knowledge4Innovation organised a high-level round table meeting at the European Parliament on Europe’s Energy Future. Competitive, secure and sustainable energy is vital for a thriving European economy and the event, hosted by Jerzy Buzek MEP saw keynote speeches from Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger and contributions from Dominique Ristori, Director-general for Energy at the European Commission.  Potential solutions provided by sustainable chemistry were described by SusChem board member Gernot Klotz of Cefic.

In the aftermath of the ambitious European Commission goal-setting for 2030, the meeting addressed the current fragmentation challenges and the potential for innovative technologies in the energy sector to move policy targets to implementation.

Commissioner Oettinger summarised The European Union’s ambitions in energy policy: “Reduced emissions, increased use of renewables, affordable energy prices, increased efficiency, smart integrated networks, smarter use of energy and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 80% by 2050, all in a way that is sustainable and keeps our economy competitive and our supplies secure.”

He emphasised that there was no shortage of ideas in Europe, but that the major challenge was to turn these ideas into “manufacturable” and “marketable” products and services.

SusChem solutions
Gernot Klotz, Executive Director for Research and Innovation at Cefic, took up this point saying that investment in technologies per se was not sufficient.

“It is also about doing things differently at both private and public level,” he said. “On one side, policy makers need to ensure the integration of policy approaches along the value chain – for example using Key Enabling Technologies from process industries towards advanced materials and consumer solutions.. While on the other side, we need to integrate the various instruments – for example European Technology Platforms (like SusChem) and Public Private Partnerships (like the SPIRE PPP) – and other technological advances within a solid, prioritised and viable Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan roadmap for Europe.”

But Klotz (above) also argued that Europe needed to keep its options open and allow for new technological breakthroughs where Europe could capitalise on a competitive advantage – such as the emerging technologies for turning carbon dioxide (CO2) into useful products such as chemicals, materials and fuels.

“It is vital for Europe to seize this opportunity to get global technological leadership,” he continued. “Because CO2 is the only source that Europe has in abundance and global technology leadership would allow us to export to other regions, thus creating jobs and growth.”

Director-General Ristori agreed that there was a requirement to work together across Europe both at industry and private level to gain the critical mass needed for change. Although excellent progress had been made in renewable energy technologies there was still a great challenge to move from world-class research and innovation to viable smart energy solutions.

Innovative technology
The round table participants agreed that key factors for achieving the EU’s ambitious energy goals include a full and productive interaction between policy makers and those able to produce, sell and use innovative products; a strong holistic approach to the energy field; and the creation of strong PPPs to link industry and national and European programmes to invest in future technologies and create a truly smart energy system in Europe.

A common understanding was reached on some important issues: innovation is indispensable for driving a future low-carbon economy; funding has a key role: in terms of energy taxes, CO2 pricing and energy subsidies; energy intensive industries and SMEs need access to affordable energy efficient technologies; the intermittent nature of renewable technologies that needs to be addressed by innovative smart energy storage and grid management solutions; and, above all else, to achieve a long-term, sustainable energy strategy required innovative technology solutions.

Both SusChem and SPIRE have and will continue to contribute chemical and other innovations to the sustainable energy sector and will plat a leading role in developing the new low carbon technologies that Europe and the World needs.

The Knowledge4Innovation Forum will take the main issues discussed forward to future forums and the Sixth European Innovation Summit that will take place in Brussels form 17-20 November 2014.

For more information about the Europe’s Energy Future event, please visit the K4I website.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

SusChem Stakeholder Event 2014 – Registration open now!

This year SusChem will be celebrating its tenth anniversary. And to mark a decade of sustainable chemistry research and innovation leadership in Europe the twelfth SusChem Stakeholder Event will be extra special! Our 10 year anniversary celebration will take place over two days in Brussels - on 11 and 12 June 2014 – and registration is now open!

The theme of the 10-year celebration is: 'Sustainable Chemistry: At the Forefront of Innovation.' At the event SusChem stakeholders will be able to contribute to defining our new Strategic Research Innovation Agenda (SIRA) for the next decade and we will be celebrating SusChem successes stories from the past ten years.

This special SusChem Stakeholder event takes place on 11 -12 June at the Renaissance Hotel in Brussels. Join us in celebrating this important occasion for SusChem and sustainable chemistry in Europe, and help to pave the way forward for future SusChem success!

The draft agenda for the event is now available and includes updates on SusChem activities and the opportunity to help shape important new developments for the SusChem community, including:
  • Presentations and discussion on the new SIRA which will cover SusChem's priorities, as well as the new opportunities for funding schemes for SusChem projects over the next decade!
  • A showcase of the role and the impact of SusChem’s National Technology Platforms  and the many ways they contribute to SusChem's mission and activities now and into the future.
  • Presentations on Future and Emerging Technologies in Horizon 2020 and the 'why, how and when' of Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs).
  • A celebration of ten years of achievements in sustainable chemistry and a forward look to another decade of breakthrough innovation in sustainable chemistry!
SusChem history
The SusChem European Technology Platform was officially launched in Brussels on 6 July, 2004 by the European Commission, together with Cefic and EuropaBio, with the aim to "increase the attractiveness of investments in chemical R&D and innovation in Europe."

SusChem was launched as a multi-stakeholder forum to develop a European strategic research agenda in three prioritised technology areas: industrial biotechnology, materials and process. It was also designed to address non-technological barriers to chemical innovation. A launch document highlighting the rationale, scope and organisation of the Technology Platform (see below) acted as a thought starter for the development of the initial Strategic Research Agenda and action plan.

“Research is the primary source of innovation in the knowledge-intensive chemical industry and is driving the sector forward,” says European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin at the 2004 launch event. “The European chemical industry has an impressive track record of developing new products and manufacturing processes, but the challenge is to improve the transformation of laboratory ideas into new sustainable products and services to boost EU competitiveness.”

“The Platform offers a great opportunity to merge industry’s and the EU’s ambitions by focusing and aligning collaborative research in support of a more competitive and more sustainable industry,” says Jan Dopper of DSM’s Managing Board and the chair of Cefic’s Research and Science Board in 2004. “Engagement with all stakeholders will be key to stimulate and focus the innovation process”.

The launch document was developed by Cefic and EuropaBio in consultation with the European Commission and showed that the Platform was (as now) a timely concept based on the Cefic study “Horizon 2015” that outlined the risk to the competitiveness of the European chemical industry and highlighted innovation as a main driver for the sector’s future competitiveness.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Showing the benefits of chlorine chemistry

Euro Chlor, the Brussels-based business association representing chlor-alkali producers in Europe, has just launched a new website featuring the many advantages and benefits of chlorine-based chemistry. The site describes chlorine-based chemistry applications in ten areas of everyday life, from feeding the planet to transportation solutions and home comfort.

Many people know the role of chlorine in disinfecting drinking water and swimming pools, but the wide variety of other uses of chlorine chemistry is relatively unknown. This will change with the new Euro Chlor website.

On the ‘Chlorine Things’ site you can learn how to swim faster than a fish, the way solar cells are produced and how pavements can clean polluted air – all thanks to chlorine chemistry. You can watch videos about how chlorine reacts with metals, and how virtually all communication relies on chlorine chemistry.

The site is also a portal to dialogue with Euro Chlor. The organization is eager to know what its website visitors think about chlorine chemistry. The homepage presents a range of interactive buttons that offer different possibilities for dialogue with the Euro Chlor. Visitors can post links to chlorine-related videos or just ask any chlorine-related question and there is the possibility to win a prize in the process! Click-through links allow visitors to connect with all major chlorine industry websites worldwide.

Why not visit the Chlorine Things website and start a fascinating journey through the chlorine universe!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Advancing Manufacturing can pave way for Industrial Renaissance

The role of manufacturing industries in Europe has declined in recent years. Over 3.8 million jobs have been lost in manufacturing in Europe since the beginning of the recent economic crisis. The European Commission is acting to reverse this trend and the Report of the Task Force on Advanced Manufacturing for Clean Production, just published, presents an overview of measures to foster the adoption of advanced manufacturing, including sustainable processes, to increase European competitiveness.

Europe is looking to enable an Industrial Renaissance and to increase the contribution that European industry makes to EU GDP to 20% by 2020. Sustainable chemistry and the process sectors represented by the SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource Efficiency) PPP, have a clear role here.

In 2012, the manufacturing sector in the EU employed 30 million people directly and provided twice as many jobs indirectly manufactured goods amount to more than 80 % of total EU exports and manufacturing accounted for 80 % of private research and development expenditure.

Manufacturing currently faces a number of challenges such as the increasing scarcity of resources, the availability of big data, and mass customisation that have the potential to modify the global industrial landscape. Anticipating and reacting to these trends will be a major challenge for the European manufacturing sector.

"The chemical industry has been, is currently, and will continue to be a major driving force for innovation through its materials and processes," commented Gernot Klotz, executive director research and innovation at Cefic. "However, Europe also needs strong leadership and a commitment to create an integrated manufacturing policy that can drive a significant increase in job creation and prioritises growth without jeopardising the environment."

Advanced manufacturing
Advanced manufacturing includes all production solutions that can improve the productivity and/or to improve waste and pollution of manufacturing production both in traditional sectors and emerging industries. For example sustainable manufacturing technologies can increase manufacturing efficiency in the use of energy and materials and drastically reduce emissions.

Advanced manufacturing technologies are of a cross-cutting nature, providing a crucial input for process innovation in all manufacturing sectors. Their greater uptake in production processes would increase the competitiveness of the EU’s manufacturing industry.

The global market for industrial automation solutions is estimated at $ 155 billion in 2011, 35 % of it in Europe, and is forecast to reach $ 190 billion by 2015. In addition, the market volume for resource-efficiency technologies – an area of significant focus for SPIRE - is estimated at € 128 billion per annum.

Faster commercialisation, finance
Horizon 2020, the new Research & Innovation Framework Programme of the EU, will offer funding opportunities for research and innovation in advanced manufacturing. Public-private partnerships have been established such as Factories of the Future with an indicative budget of €1.15 billion and SPIRE with a €0.9 billion budget from the EU and matching contributions from private sources. New public-private partnerships in the area of Robotics and Photonics will also play a role for advanced manufacturing technologies.

A new emphasis on technology transfer and demonstration activities will bring research results quicker to the European market.

The European Investment Bank has introduced new measures that provide financing for advanced manufacturing. The Structural and Investment Funds also provide significant opportunities for European regions to modernise their industrial base via smart specialisation.

Incentives schemes on the EU level to foster the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies by EU industry such as SILC (Sustainable Industry Low Carbon) and I4MS (ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs) could serve as sources of inspiration for Member States and their regions.

The Commission will present information campaigns to industry on business opportunities for sustainable manufacturing opened by the Energy Efficiency Directive. A technology-neutral internal market legislation and enhanced cooperation with standardisation organisations on advanced manufacturing will also help to avoid obstacles for the uptake of advanced manufacturing technologies in European industry.

Links between industry, education and training institutions will be strengthened, notably with the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on added-value manufacturing that will be launched in 2016.

Future activities
During 2014 the Commission services will continue their partnership with Member States, Regions and industry to discuss potential measures in the medium-term that would contribute to improving the productivity and competitiveness of EU manufacturing industry.

For more information on the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies initiative visit the dedicated website where you can also download the full report.