Friday, 29 July 2011

Call for increased support for chemical innovation

SusChem board member, Gernot Klotz from Cefic R&I, has called for increased support for chemical innovation in an interview for an article published in Chemistry World today (July 29).

Klotz welcomed the boost to total funding for calls in FP7 for 2012 (up 9% compared to 2011), but indicated that chemistry-related funding for basic research in the new package will remain at about the same proportional level as for previous FP7 calls. The main chemistry-related beneficiaries will include key enabling technologies such as nanotechnologies, advanced materials, biotechnology as well as environment and energy.

However, although he is pleased that the European Commission has emphasised the importance of innovation as the end goal of basic research in the 2012 call and in the thinking for the next Framework Programme now named Horizon 2020, Klotz feels that more concrete support for innovation is needed in terms of funding, policy alignment and coherence.

More support needed
‘Research does not equal innovation,’ he states. ‘We (Europe) have to work on innovation to be a world leader. Compared to the Asia-Pacific region and the US, Europe is not good at commercial deployment of knowledge, so we would like to see more action, not just more words. But the chemicals sector is ready to make big contributions.’

One area of innovation support that Klotz says is lacking is the ‘processing side,’ which includes conversion of feedstock into chemicals, pulp and paper, and metals. He says the chemicals sector is taking the lead in cooperation with other sectors in developing key technologies and is currently working on concrete proposals to improve resource and water efficiency, for using raw materials, and in creating so-called ‘smart cities’ of the future in a public-private cooperation.

He hopes that the Commission will strive to support the long process from basic research to innovation and commercial deployment. ‘Innovation is a chain that breaks at its weakest link and we have to speed up,’ Klotz says. ‘In addition (we) need to have very efficient research: no double research, working closely together, with explicit priorities.’

Call information, brokerage
Full information on all new FP7 calls, including the 2012 call, can be found at a new dedicated Participant Portal. This is now the entry point for all electronic administration of EU-funded research and innovation projects, and hosts the services for managing proposals and projects throughout their lifecycle.

Currently the portal covers mainly actions under FP7. In the future, its coverage will be extended to other programmes in the area of research and innovation.

The site has experienced some teething troubles, but technical issues are now said to be completely resolved.

And don't forget the SusChem Brokerage event that is taking place in Brussels on 14 September. This will be a great opportunity to get involved with SusChem-related FP7 projects in the latest call.

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