Tuesday, 22 December 2009

European Sustainable Chemistry Award 2010


SusChem is supporting the European Sustainable Chemistry Award (ESCA) recently launched by the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS).

The €10 000 first prize will be awarded at the 3rd EuCheMS Chemistry Congress that will take place in Nürnberg Germany from 29 August to 2 September 2010. The award is designed to:

  • recognize individuals or small research groups who make an outstanding contribution to sustainable development by applying sustainable chemistry
  • promote innovation in chemistry and chemical products that deliver clear sustainable improvements
  • demonstrate that chemistry is playing a central role in delivering sustainable solutions to society

The deadline for submission of applications is 15 February 2010. For more information visit the EuCheMS website or contact the EuCheMS secretariat. Good luck!

December 2009 Editorial - Rodney Townsend

A very warm welcome to the latest issue of our SusChem Solutions newsletter.

As we approach the latter period of FP7, much is changing in terms of the Commission’s research and innovation priorities. It is important that SusChem should respond to these changes in order to ensure that the substantial progress we have made so far is consolidated. Long before the Commission initiated its “Strategy for Recovery”, SusChem had recognised that we needed to update and perhaps re-focus our Implementation Action Plan (IAP) on a regular basis. Consequently, over the summer and autum SusChem’s technology work groups have been putting the finishing touches to the 2009 IAP update. A comprehensive and consolidated IAP document will soon be available for all stakeholders and will be widely circulated for comment. Please have a look at this document and let us know your views!

As you know we announced at the 2009 Stakeholder conference in Prague that the IAP Update would now be an annual process. The comments, additions and inputs from SusChem stakeholders and others on the 2009 IAP document will form the basis for this new process and enable us to respond to Commission initiatives in an up-to-date and authoritative manner.

In addition, the regular IAP Update is designed to make sure that our research and innovation agenda is always relevant to the research needs of society. A similar focus on the issues facing society will be one of the main approaches for planning the next European Research Framework Programme, FP8, which will begin in 2014.

FP8 is expected to focus on Grand Challenges and Great Ideas. The first of these comprises a process to convert problems, questions and concerns of citizens into a series of Grand Challenges and then act to meet them through research – examples being social cohesion, global security, education, climate change, environment and energy. Grand Challenges is very much a “top-down” exercise. By contrast, via a “bottom-up” process, Great Ideas looks to universities, research institutes, companies in pan-European teams to develop new ‘higher risk’ research concepts with a focus on cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional research.

SusChem already has defined its SRA by looking at general societal areas of concern. We are therefore very well placed to help shape FP8 and respond to policy developments. For the future prosperity of sustainable chemistry and biotechnology in Europe it is essential that we do influence FP8 effectively. With the very recent announcement by President Barroso that he wants to appoint a Chief Scientist to “deliver proactive, scientific advice throughout all stages of policy development and delivery” it looks like true science-based policy may at last become a reality across the European Commission.

If we are to improve our innovative capabilities within Europe and enhance our competitive capabilities in the future, especially in sustainable technologies, it is very important that we enhance the skills capabilities of not only young people passing through universities and into the job market, but also all members of the current European work force. SusChem is taking a lead here in assessing the skills needs of the future and I was delighted to be invited to speak on skills needs, and what we are doing to deliver them, at the recent ECTN Conference in Dresden in early September. On that occasion, it was good also to learn of the achievements and future plans of the European Research Council, through an excellent lecture from Prof Hans Joachim Freund. ERC support for chemistry has been encouraging but we must not be complacent as the ERC reviews progress to date and formulates future plans.

As many of you will know my term as SusChem Chairman was nearing its end and I was expecting to stand down at the end of this year. A process was agreed by the SusChem board earlier this year to nominate and select my successor. The process has gone well and some possible successors identified, but with all the changes taking place in both the management structures and objectives of SusChem at present, it is very important that whoever succeeds me should “hit the ground running”, so to speak. For these reasons, it was felt that to effect the transition at the end of this year might be a premature move and I have been asked if I would be prepared to stay as Chairman for a further period of six months. This means that we now expect to welcome a new Chairperson in July 2010. Whoever that new person is, I do hope you will all show him the support and enthusiasm that I have been fortunate to receive from you. As the recent brokerage event shows, SusChem continues to be a great success and has a tremendous and valuable future in front of it.

As ever, if you have any comments on SusChem activities or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us via suschem@suschem.org. And please note the date for our next Stakeholder event in Lyon on 4 May 2010 – we look forward to seeing you there!

Prof. Rodney Townsend
Chairman SusChem Board,
Director Science & Technology, Royal Society of Chemistry

In this issue of SusChem Solutions

SusChem Brokerage Event

EU Recovery Package

PNO Consortium building

SusChem Chair Succession

Stakeholder Event 4 May 2010 - Lyon

1st SusChem France Stakeholder Event

SusChem/DPI Polymers Event - March 2010

EuCheMS SustainableChemistry Award 2010

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Joint Brokerage Event 15 September 2009, Brussels

To help stakeholders to respond to the most recent FP7 calls published in July SusChem organised a joint brokerage event in Brussels on 15 September. A packed meeting at the Hotel Bloom! was briefed on the latest calls under the NMP, KBBE, Environment and Energy themes and the integrated calls under the EU 2010 Recovery Plan.

In addition to formal presentations on the calls during the morning, participants were encouraged to make short presentations during a series of afternoon workshops. To help with project initiation and networking there were also opportunities to engage in discussion with potential partners during poster sessions, add offers or ideas to topic “bill-boards” and complete a questionnaire to indicate each participant’s main research interests.

SusChem future
Opening the event, Cefic Innovation Manager Ger Spork gave a brief overview of SusChem’s current status and future plans. He stressed the continuing central role of SusChem’s RTD pillars to provide the driving force for the platform - such as the recently completed IAP update. An IAP update will now be a regular annual process to ensure that SusChem’s work remained relevant to society’s most pressing issues.

SusChem would also work to create more effective collaborative partnerships and stimulate chemical industry participation in projects. Efforts would be made to synchronise the activities of SusChem’s national platforms including a new approach via the reorganised Member State Mirror Group.

Ger also emphasised SusChem’s wish to work along the value chain to drive towards real solutions for society. This would involved more cross-platform work such as the recent agreement to collaborate with the Water Supply and Sanitation ETP (WSSP). SusChem is also working closely with the EUMAT technology platform on advanced materials and technologies, and initiating collaboration with the Dutch Polymer Institute on FP8 and innovation issues.

There would also be more support for open pre-competitive innovation activities including the new services offered by PNO Consultants in this area for consortium building.

FP7 calls
Current calls under the NMP theme were described by Frederic Gouarderes. He highlighted potential SusChem interest in organic-inorganic hybrids for electronics and photonics, the development of standard scaffolds for the rational design of bioactive materials in tissue regeneration, new materials for catalytic reactors, modelling of the degradation and reliability of crystalline materials, new industrial models for a sustainable and efficient production, and manufacturing systems for 3D- shaped, multilayered products based on flexible materials. He also noted new ERAnets proposed on nanotechnologies (including nanotoxicology), manufacturing and in catalysis. In addition to these calls Frederic outlined the joint calls proposed under the EC’s 2010 Recovery Plan.

In the Environment area Andrea Tilche noted some specific areas that could be productive for collaboration between SusChem and WSSP on water management and other areas of interest in the Environment & Health (Indoor air pollution, and human health and exposure to pharmaceutical products). Other areas include work to facilitate recycling or reuse of construction and demolition waste, novel ideas for minimising municipal waste management, brownfield site remediation or regeneration concepts, and very long-term / large-scale carbon sequestration technologies.

A range of SusChem opportunities were outline by Maria Fernandez Gutierrez in the KBBE areas. These included the novel use of marine organisms in industrial processes and products, innovative aquatic biosensors, biocatalysts and biotechnology for “greening” the chemical industry, biotechnology for soil and water treatment and bioremediation.

DeChema’s Alexis Bazzanella completed the survey of open calls with a review of the Energy theme. He highlighted calls for thin wafer-based photovoltaic (PV) materials, two co-ordinated calls with India for novel materials for thin-film PV applications, materials for large offshore wind turbines, concentrators for PV materials, the production of biofuels from algae (including a demonstration component), fuel production using direct bio-conversion of solar radiation, demonstration projects for advanced CO2 capture concepts, and research to utilise low temperature “waste” process heat.

Follow-up
As a follow-up all participants at the brokerage will receive copies of the presentations on call topics, all information gathered on interests per call, a set of full contact details for participants, collated “bill-board” offers and ideas, and the workshop presentations made by participants. Participants were also reminded about the online SusChem Brokerage Database which could be used as a virtual brokerage event on a 24/7 basis.

For more information, please contact the SusChem secretariat. More information on open FP7 calls, application criteria and other relevant topics can be found at the Cordis FP7 home page.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

2010 Recovery Package

At the end of November 2008 the European Commission adopted an Economic Recovery Package to help Member States and European industry during the current financial crisis. As part of that package three major Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) focusing on research and innovation activities to develop clean technologies for the automotive (Green Cars), construction (Energy-efficient buildings – EeB) and manufacturing sectors (Factories of the Future – FoF) were announced.

The aim of the PPPs was – in part – to stimulate “smart investment” in research and support innovation that can contribute to the transition to a “green economy”. Their objective is to promote the convergence of public interest with industrial commitment and leadership in determining strategic research activities. SusChem already has significant research initiatives that are relevant to all three sectors and is keen to play its part in supporting the initiatives.

The FP7 calls in July contained the first joint calls from the PPPs. All the calls were funded individually or jointly under appropriate FP7 themes and many offer opportunities for SusChem-led collaborations.

Energy efficiency
Under the EeB PPP six calls were made with an indicative total budget of €65million. The topics cover: New nanotechnology-based high performance insulation systems for energy efficiency; New technologies for energy efficiency at District level”; Compatible solutions for improving energy efficiency in historic urban buildings; Demonstration of Energy Efficiency through retrofitting buildings; and two calls under ICT for energy-efficient buildings and spaces for public use. These calls are now closed.

A total of five calls are made under the FoF call with a total indicative budget of €95 million. The calls cover Plug-and-Produce components for adaptive control; Supply Chain approaches for small series industrial production; Intelligent scalable manufacturing platforms and equipment for components with micro- and nano-scale functional features; and two calls under Smart Factories: ICT for agile and environmentally friendly manufacturing. These calls are now closed.

For the Green Cars PPP one topic is described with a budget of €25 million on Materials, Technologies and processes for sustainable automotive electrochemical storage applications. The deadline for this call is 14 January 2010.

Commission advice
According to Frederic Gouarderes from DG Research the PPP FP7 calls under the Recovery Package should be treated exactly the same as normal FP7 calls. However, he recommends that applicants should read the call documentation carefully: “These calls are not for long-term research,” he says. “Projects must be near market and make a clear link with concepts such as sustainable production. Remember that the call is part of a policy response from the European Community to the current financial crisis.”

For more general information on research aspects of the Economic Recovery Package can be found here.

Friday, 18 December 2009

PNO help Consortium Building

A new service to support consortium building and FP7 call applications involving the chemical industry was announced at the September Brokerage event in Brussels.

The service follows an agreement between Cefic and PNO consultants, which aims to reinforce SusChem and grant-related innovation activities for the chemical industry. PNO Consultants are one of Europe’s leading full-service independent grants consultancies. The PNO remit with Cefic includes:

• An on-line Grants Information service and project screening service;
• Strengthening the implementation of the SusChem IAP through brokerage follow-up, EU project and consortium development; and
• Helping to design, set-up and implement the SusChem Innovation Action Plan.

Brokerage follow-up
PNO will be able to assist consortia to develop project ideas, build appropriate consortium membership and progress project proposals within EU Grant programmes: in particular FP7. The available support includes validation of project ideas, assessment of grant potential, consortium building and initial project development. The support extends right up to the “go” or “no-go” decision to prepare a grant proposal.

The PNO service is initially available to Cefic member companies or organisations and therefore requests for assistance from SusChem potential project groups should be directed via Cefic-member entities involved in the initial consortia.

For more information please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

SusChem Chairman Succession Process

Current SusChem Chairman Rodney Townsend will now retire in July 2010. A process for selecting the next chairman has been agreed by the board and a number of possible candidates to replace him are being considered. A small committee consisting of two representatives each from the industrial and academic stakeholders on the board, together with the Chairman, and with support from the SusChem secretariat, is meeting regularly to initiate, evaluate and nominate a candidate to succeed Prof. Townsend.

The aim will be to provide a nomination by the beginning of 2010. This small committee is also to be tasked with a review of the roles and responsibilities of board members. This will ensure that the board has the necessary clarity and skills to properly address SusChem’s future strategy and progress its programme. A similar review of the SusChem Management Team composition is also to be undertaken, in particular to ensure a smooth initiation of the annual IAP update process.

For more information please contact the SusChem secretariat.

First SusChem France Stakeholder event


The first Stakeholder event for SusChem France (“Les Rencontres de SusChem France”) took place in Paris on 26 November. This one-day event jointly organised by UIC (the French Industrial Chemical Federation), DGCIS (the French ministry for the economy, industry and employment) and OSEO (the French innovation support agency for smaller enterprises) gathered together all the principle actors in sustainable chemistry in France to discuss ongoing initiatives and to exchange views on the future roadmap for activities by SusChem France.

Six videos
Coinciding with the official launch of SusChem France six short videos have been produced featuring a variety of stakeholders from the French National Platform. The videos describe the future plans and programmes for sustainable chemistry in France.

For more information please contact Valérie Lucas at UIC. A post-event press release (in French only) is also available.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

8th Stakeholder Event 4 May 2010 in Lyon

Tuesday 4 May 2010 has been set as the date for the next (8th) Stakeholder event which will be held in Lyon, France. The venue will be the Sofitel Lyon Bellcour hotel.

The proposed themes for the event are extending SusChem’s interaction with the chemicals value chain and Innovation. These themes build on the outcomes from the recent HLG process, the new SusChem innovation initiative and the drive to enhance collaboration with other ETPs. The 8th Annual Stakeholder event will also coincide with the conclusion of the first annual update process for the IAP.

Lyon is the base for the French ‘Pôle de Competitivité’ AXELERA that aims to boost environmentally friendly chemistry and integration of eco-design approaches.

The SusChem secretariat is now involved with detailed planning for the event. For more information please contact the SusChem secretariat.