Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Key Enabling Technologies for sustainable European industry

The inaugural meeting of the European Commission’s High Level Group (HLG) on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) took place in the Berlaymont building in Brussels today (13 July 2010). The chemical industry, and the wider chemistry community, is committed to playing an active role in the deliberations of this vital strategic initiative for European competitiveness and innovation policy.

The HLG is an initiative of Commission vice-president Antonio Tajani (enterprise and industry) with the active support of vice-president Neelie Kroes (digital agenda) and commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (research and innovation).

At the opening meeting Antonio Tajani said: “Most of the goods and services that will be available in 5 to 10 years are yet unknown, but surely they will be based on key enabling technologies. The advice of the high-level expert group as to how to deploy these key enabling technologies is crucial for the renewal of our industrial base.”

The Group consists of representatives of key Member States and various industry high level executives, including Wolfgang Plischke, Cefic Vice-President and Bayer Board member. “We are committed to actively contribute to shaping and implementing concrete actions for the deployment of these technologies into value for society”, he commented.

Suschem board member Gernot Klotz (second right above), executive director of Cefic R&I, who attended the initial meeting for Dr. Plischke commented: “Looking at the value chain from the chemical industry perspective brings you different angles and new opportunities for breakthrough solutions that can benefit innovation in many sectors, for instance flat screens, imaging, lighting, data storage, sensors, lightweight cars or self-cleaning surfaces.”

As SusChem is already showing, new innovative ways of working together between various industry sectors and public bodies are key to turning these technologies into competitive advantage for Europe.

The HLG exercise should ease the path for other emerging technologies. What is valid for nanotech or biotech today could be deployed to ensure rapid market application for all future technologies.

KET HLG role
Establishing the KET HLG was the main recommendation of the Commission’s Communication ‘Preparing for our future: Developing a common strategy for key enabling technologies in the EU’ published at the end of September last year. The importance of Key Enabling Technologies was also underlined in the recent Europe 2020 strategy communication.

The group will assess the competitive situation of the relevant thematic technology areas, including nanotechnology, micro and nanoelectronics, photonics, advanced materials, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing systems, with a particular focus on industrial deployment and their potential to contribute to addressing the major challenges facing society.

The HLG will then analyse the available public and private R&D capacities for KETs in the EU and propose specific policy recommendations for more effective industrial deployment. The group is expected to consider many policy aspects including innovation, technology transfer, joint programming, state aid, climate change, public procurement, international cooperation, trade policy, financing and skills. A report outlining policy recommendations will be the main deliverable of the Group.

A list of members of the HLG is available.

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