Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Brokerage breaks records, sets standards

The SusChem Brokerage 2011 event today (September 14) saw a record number of registrations as delegates presented their research ideas and started to build the basis for consortia to bid for the latest SusChem relevant FP7 calls. In addition to this invaluable networking, delegates learnt about the importance of incorporating standardisation issues into their project proposals – a vital element for market entry.

The opening plenary session at the Hotel Silken Berlaymont in Brussels was literally standing room only as Ger Spork, SusChem coordinator at Cefic (below left) and Ron Weerdmeester of PNO Consultants (below) described SusChem objectives for the day and took participants through the programme.

Following a presentation on integrating standards into project proposals from Ségolène Martin of CEN-CENELEC (see more below) a dozen prospective project proposals were presented in rapid-fire succession before lunch.

After lunch Ron Weerdmeester demonstrated the SusChem brokerage database – an online tool open to all SusChem stakeholder on request – that promises to be a valuable addition to project formulation and consortium building. This was followed by a series of presentations outlining expressions of interest or available expertise from a variety of research organisations.

Before the final wrap up session an hour of ‘speed dating’ and pre-consortium meetings was facilitating with 80 one-to-one meetings arranged prior to the day and many more set up on the day. A poster session was available through out the day.

“The day was a great success,” commented Ron Weerdmeester of PNO. “With so much interest we knew that a ‘military-style’ operation was needed and it all went very well. We look forward to a seeing some great ‘SusChem inspired’ FP7 projects emerging from today’s work.”

Standardisation – a vital market issue
The CEN-CENELEC Management Centre in Brussels was established in 2010 and coordinates the activities of the two EU-funded standards bodies: CEN (the European Committee for Standardisation) and CENELEC (the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation). Both bodies coordinate the relevant National Standards authorities from 31 European countries.

Ségolène Martin (right) from the Management Centre described the importance of including work on standards into project proposals. Many FP7 calls explicitly include a reference to work on standardisation as a key deliverable, but all research projects should consider including work packages in this area.

Early consideration of standardisation issues can yield benefits including:
  • Faster and easier access to market
  • Enhanced economic value of the research
  • Easier access to public procurement market
  • Possible licensing revenue
  • Interoperability
  • Codifying the ‘state of the art’
  • Reassurance to consumers and customers
Standardisation issues can be included at all steps of project development to implementation. Standardisation work packages are often placed within the dissemination element of project strategies.

A CEN-CENELEC Research Helpdesk has been established to provide support to the research and innovation community on standards issues. The Helpdesk has a dedicated website and also can also be contacted directly by email.

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