Thursday, 20 December 2012

EIP on Water: more action!

Following the second meeting of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water on 18 December that adopted the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) the partnership is now entering its operational phase and further details of implementation actions have been published by the European Commission.

At the steering group meeting on 18 December (see delegate picture below) stakeholders were invited to form Action Groups, which will be at the core of implementing the EIP on Water. Action Groups are invited to commit to work on one, or more, actions as described under the EIP Water priorities in the SIP. More information on the Action Groups is available on the EIP on Water website including the Call for Expression of Commitment.

The deadline for the Call for Expression of Commitment is April 4 2013, but the Commission has already announced that a first Action Group has come forward: a Dutch - Romanian cooperation on Modular Sustainable Waste Water Treatment Plants.

Web-based market
One of the tools that EIP Water will start developing in 2013 is a “web-based marketplace”. Its objective is to create and establish a community on and a place for “matchmaking” in innovation topics in the field of water in Europe and worldwide, connecting problem owners with solution providers, regardless of their geographical position. The market place will offer numerous features driven by the stakeholder interests.

A Stakeholder Survey to provide input for marketplace is now online. The survey is open until 18 January 2013 and the Commission is looking for feedback to support the specification and development of the EIP on Water marketplace that will start in mid-2013.

In addition the Information Day to be held on January 15 2013 for the Call for Proposals “FP7-ENV-2013-WATER-INNO-DEMO” in Brussels is now at maximum capacity and no further registrations can be taken, however the whole event will be web-streamed.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Sustainable Chemistry at Forefront of Water EIP Implementation

Today (18 December) the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water published its Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) at a meeting of the High Level Steering Group in Brussels. The chemical industry underlined its commitment to the EIP’s objectives to develop and deploy innovative solutions to the water challenges facing Europe and the world.

This second meeting of the Steering Group of the EIP on Water was led by European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik. The chemical industry’s commitment to the work and implementation of the SIP was voiced by Anton Valero, CEO of Dow Iberica, who is a member of the high-level steering group.

“The chemical industry fully supports the aims of the water innovation partnership,” said Valero. “We are ready to provide high-impact, cutting-edge solutions to one of Europe’s and the world’s most pressing problems”.

Janez Potočnik commented: "We need innovation to solve our water challenges, and to help deliver on the objectives of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources that we recently adopted. The Water Innovation Partnership brings together the private and public actors who can take ideas to the market. Implementing the Strategic Implementation Plan will not only ensure that enough good quality water is available to meet the needs of people, the economy and the environment, it will also strengthen the European water industry on the global market which is expected to double by 2030."

Intense cooperation
“Water issues go well beyond the boundaries of the water sector,” said Gernot Klotz, Cefic R&I Executive Director. “Our engagement in the partnership is a natural fit: the chemical sector is significantly innovating in its process to be more water efficient and is one of the biggest solutions providers addressing water challenges through new materials and technologies.”

To achieve implementation of the SIP will require intense cooperation between the EIP on Water and other knowledge-driven activities at the European, national and regional level. The platform intends to work directly with existing initiatives, such as FP7 and Horizon 2020, as well as other European and national activities such as Technology Platforms, including of course SusChem, and other EIPs of interest for the chemical sector: Critical Raw Materials and Smart Cities.

The candidate Public Private Partnership SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency), proposed by the chemical industry together with seven other industrial sectors, will also make a considerable contribution to many of the priorities highlighted by the EIP on Water including water recycling and reuse, and the water-energy nexus.

€40 million of FP7 research funding will be made available in 2013 to support projects that contribute to the aims of the EIP Water. A call for proposals is now open with a closing date of 4 April 2013 and an information day for potential applicants is being organised in Brussels on 15 January 2013 by DG Research and Innovation. Registration for this event is open until 10 January 2013 but there is limit on participation on-site of 250 delegates. The event will also be web-streamed.

A call for expressions of commitment to the EIP Water Action Groups is also open to stakeholders.

About the SIP
The SIP looks at nine previously identified priority areas and briefly analyses challenges, bottlenecks, market opportunities and objectives for each. From this analysis 27 Actions have been identified around which Action Groups will be formed. The Action Groups will be at the core of the implementation strategy and will be reviewed twice a year.

In addition to the action groups a number of Commission-led EIP initiatives are proposed including an annual EIP on Water stakeholder meeting, a web-based market place for water innovations plus other tools such as trade missions.

Water chemistry
The European chemical industry fully supports the objective of the EIP on Water as water is an increasingly valuable resource for the industry and a crucial element in the sector’s competitiveness.

Significant investments in water innovations will address societal and environmental issues in order to develop recycling processes and wastewater treatment that will deliver highest impact and provide opportunities. The EIP Water will also be the driver for future investments decisions that will create jobs and growth.

Innovations from the chemical sector could lead to a 20% reduction in water and water-related energy usage, as well as in industrial waste water production (reduction of 20-40% in water use, 30-70% in waste production, 15-40% in energy use).

For more information on the chemical industry’s commitment and input to the EIP on Water and other water-related innovation activities, please contact Antonia Morales-Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic.

Stakeholder event on BIO-PPP

On 9 January the European Commission will report back on the results of the stakeholder consultation on the Bio-based industries PPP (BIO-PPP). The event will take place in Brussels and be opened by Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of the Commission’s DG RTD.

Following the launch of an online public consultation on 21 September on "Bio-based industries, towards a public-private partnership under Horizon 2020", DG RTD is organising a one-day stakeholder meeting on 9 January 2013 in Brussels. The aim of the meeting will be to present industry's vision and objectives for this partnership together with the strategic innovation and research agenda and the results of the online public consultation, which is now closed.

The meeting will be opened by DG RTD Director-General Robert-Jan Smits, followed by speakers from industry and research organisations. The meeting will provide ample opportunities for discussion of the proposals.

All those directly or indirectly connected with the bio-based industries, including representatives of public authorities, farmers and foresters, businesses and associations, academics and technical experts, civil society organisations and individual citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting and to provide their views and feedback on the planned partnership.

A final report on the outcome of the online public consultation will be published later in 2013, taking into account the conclusions from this stakeholder meeting.

Registration
Meeting will take place in the Gaspari meeting room in the Charlemagne Building at Rue de la Loi 170, Brussels. Registration for the meeting is open until 4 January 2013. To register you need to send an email to RTD-KBBE-Experts@ec.europa.eu including your first and last name, date of birth, country of origin and professional occupation.

For more information on the BIO-PPP proposal and the consultation process, please contact the consortium secretariat at CEPI.

BIO-PPP is a proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) on the Bio-Based Industries which aims to lead the transition in Europe towards sustainable alternatives to our current petroleum/ fossil fuel-based society. The aim of the initiative is to help establish a new European bioeconomy encompassing all stages in the value chain from biomass harvesting and logistics via efficient conversion processes to the manufacture of bio-based products. The industry group behind the initiative comprises major companies from a cross-section of sectors including forest, agricultural, paper, chemical, energy, fuels and biotechnology.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

BIO-TIC Video

BIO-TIC, the SusChem supported FP7 project examining how to overcome barriers to the optimum exploitation of industrial biotechnology to address major global challenges such as climate change and the need to develop a more sustainable and resource-efficient economy, has just released a new public video. The video can be viewed below - please share the link with your colleagues.

The video features project coordinator Jasmiina Laurmaa of EuropaBio explaining the aims of BIO-TIC and the major hurdles that it aims to address. These hurdles include technological bottlenecks, market entry and institutional barriers as well as funding challenges. An integrated approach is needed to overcome these hurdles, with a clear perception of their nature and the way they interrelate.

BIO-TIC was launched in September 2012 and is a three-year project offering “a solutions approach” centered on a solid roadmapping exercise that will involve a broad stakeholder base from industry, knowledge organisations, governments and civil society. Three intermediary roadmaps will focus on market assessments and projections, research and innovation as well as non-technological barriers such as feedstock.

A series of stakeholder workshops will take place at national and European level to reach a comprehensive view on solutions BIO-TIC can offer to accelerate market uptake of industrial biotechnology.

The final aim of the project will be to draw up a blueprint document with a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for overcoming the identified innovation hurdles within a selection of European business and societal opportunities.

In addition, the project will develop and market test a methodology to measure the growth of biomass use and industrial biotechnology in the market as metric to evaluate the impact of the project.

Get involved with BIO-TIC
BIO-TIC aims to be a truly dynamic open innovation network and will engage with all relevant value-chain partners, promoting and facilitating active discussion groups across all industrial biotechnology sectors.

You can find out more about the project at the BIO-TIC website which also includes a project partnering platform. In addition there is an active BIO-TIC Linked In group with over 60 members that is open to anyone interested in the transformative potential of industrial biotechnology.

The BIO-TIC project is funded via the European Commission’s FP7 research programme and its full project title is ‘The Industrial Biotech Research and Innovation Platforms Centre – towards Technological Innovation and solid foundations for a growing industrial biotech sector in Europe’. The project is coordinated by EuropaBio.

Monday, 10 December 2012

2013 SusChem Stakeholder Event

The dates for the 2013 SusChem Stakeholder event have just been announced. The event entitled ‘The root of EU Growth and Jobs: Innovative Materials and Processes’ will take place on 14 – 15 May 2013 in Brussels. The meeting will primarily address the benefits of partnerships to boost EU growth and improve its competitiveness and how SusChem will play a part in this. Join us at our eleventh stakeholder event and get the latest insights!

SusChem has evolved into a Europe-wide platform that captures the full benefit of Europe’s strengths in research and provides a well-connected network for innovation in the chemical and biotechnology value chain. As a result, its strategy has evolved too.

The new SusChem 2020 strategy retains research, innovation and education actions at the heart of our activities. These three activities are important to engage with policy makers and partner organizations to shape research and innovation policies and deliver truly sustainable innovation that creates value in and for European society.

To achieve its ambitious objectives, the platform’s partnership activities will also need to expand strategically. This means a substantial increase in multidisciplinary and cross-sector working along value chains. The new strategy is also designed to strengthen cooperation between SusChem Europe and our network of National Technology Platforms.

With this new strategy and its broad and growing stakeholder base, SusChem aims to ensure that research is effectively turned into innovative products and services that will shape Europe’s future.

Where and when?
Join us at the SusChem Stakeholder Event next year in Brussels to see examples of the new strategy in action!

The event will take place at the Hotel Sofitel Europe on Place Jourdan in the heart of the European Quarter in Brussels.

More information on speakers and the programme will be available in the New Year. In the meantime reserve the dates in your diary!

For more information on SusChem activities, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Leading Industrial Biotech in the UK

With the pace of development of the global bioeconomy growing almost daily, a two day event in the UK on 22-23 January 2013 will illustrate the progress made in exploiting industrial biotechnology (IB). The ‘Leading IB: A UK Showcase’ is hosted by the UK’s Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum (IBLF) and will also be the venue for a BIOCHEM Accelerator event.

The Leading IB event will showcase recent examples of commercial success in the bio-based sector and key speakers will describe UK industrial biotech success stories including exemplar projects, processes and products and give an overview on the national strategy for industrial biotech to 2015 and beyond. There will also be panel discussions to provide delegates with the opportunity to hear from senior industrialists and other stakeholders.

The event, which takes place at Church House in Westminster, central London, will be opened by Michael Fallon UK Government Minister of State for Business and Enterprise. The showcase is expected to attract business leaders, technology providers, investors, leading academics and policy makers from the UK and across Europe.

The event aims to:

  • Showcase UK success in Industrial Biotechnology and Bio-based Products
  • Inspire new manufacturers to explore the potential of IB
  • Build new collaborations within the UK and beyond
  • Demonstrate the impact of current government support and commitment for the future
  • Set out the IBLF strategy to 2015 and beyond

An exhibition will provide further information on funding, partnering, skills, facilities and capabilities for the bioeconomy. For more information on the UK showcase event visit the dedicated website or you can register direct here.

BIOCHEM accelerator
In parallel to the Showcase event the SusChem supported EU INNOVA project BIOCHEM will be running an Accelerator Forum. Previous fora have been successfully run in Bilbao, Milan and Frankfurt (at ACHEMA).

If you are a researcher, entrepreneur or SME keen to become part of the growing bioeconomy by changing to biobased products and processes, then this event is for you. The outline programme for the Forum can be found here.

To find out more on BIOCHEM take a look at the BIOCHEM video (below) or consult the BIOCHEM website. For specific information on the BIOCHEM Accelerator Forum in London contact Kate Nickson at the UK Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN).

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Consultation supports SPIRE Roadmap

The revised roadmap for the proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) for Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) has been recently published on the SPIRE website. This document was the result of over 450 responses to the consultation on the draft roadmap and showed highly positive support for the initiative from a wide range of industry sectors, value chains and stakeholder communities.

The initial roadmap was first presented at the European Commission Info Days on 9 – 10 July and was widely disseminated with the official launch of the consultation on 27 July. The consultation period was open until 1st October 2012.

This public consultation allowed opportunities for submission of comments, requests for clarification and to suggest additional ideas not only from members of the process industry community but also from other bodies and actors across the European Research Area (ERA).

Positive feedback, high acceptance
More than 450 responses were received to the online questionnaire part of the consultation and showed a wide coverage along many different value chains (upstream industry included) as well as across the SPIRE core sectors and other organizations including SMEs, large industry, research and technology organizations, academia and NGOs.

Analysis of the responses from all the different sectors and communities showed high levels of acceptance of the SPIRE roadmap with particularly high scores for the contribution that SPIRE’s vision can make to tackling the challenges listed in the European Commission’s Europe 2020 strategy and its ability to address sustainability issues in the process industries. The responses also indicated that SPIRE will add value to sustainable innovation across the various sectors.

“Overall the consultation process showed an overarching positive feedback across many actors in the ERA,” commented A.SPIRE aisbl Executive Director Loredana Ghinea. A.SPIRE is the legal entity established to manage and implement the SPIRE PPP.

“The highly positive acceptance levels for the contents and structure of the SPIRE roadmap shown in the consultation demonstrates that it reflects the main challenges and interests of the process industry stakeholders,” she added.

More information
The revised post-consultation Roadmap is available to download now on the SPIRE website and will also be published on the European Commission PPP website. A period of validation will now take place until 15 December before formal submission to the European Commission.

For more information on the SPIRE initiative and how you can get involved please visit the SPIRE website or email the SPIRE secretariat.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A.SPIRE GA hears SPIRE Progress

The first full General Assembly of A.SPIRE aisbl, the legal entity established to manage and implement the proposed Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), was held on Tuesday 20 November at the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Brussels.

Member companies and research and technology organisations (RTOs) heard about the development of the organisation, progress on the SPIRE initiative, including work on the SPIRE Roadmap document, and future plans.

SPIRE roadmap
Following the recent public consultation the new version of the SPIRE Roadmap has been published on the SPIRE website. A period of validation will now take place until 15 December and will be the last chance for input to the document before formal submission to the European Commission. The new post-consultation Roadmap is available now on the SPIRE website and will also be published on the European Commission PPP website.

SPIRE needs you!
A.SPIRE President, Klaus Sommer, and Executive Director, Loredana Ghinea, emphasised the tight schedule for developing the SPIRE PPP and making sure it made the desired impact with decision-makers. The six working groups established to develop the roadmap would continue to work on detailed proposals and support the work of the A.SPIRE board and the Ad-hoc Industry Advisory Group (AIAG).

“It is imperative that all of SPIRE’s members and supporters are fully engaged in developing the PPP and promoting it whenever the opportunity arises at European, national and regional level,” said Klaus Sommer.

Membership of A.SPIRE now stands at 59 member companies, associations or institutions from eight process sectors and 14 countries. New members of his important European initiative are always welcome.

For more information on the SPIRE initiative and how you can get involved please visit the SPIRE website or email the SPIRE secretariat.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

SusChem finalises strategy for Horizon 2020

SusChem has just published its enhanced strategy document: ‘Meeting the Challenges of Europe 2020’. The new refined strategy for the European Technology Platform (ETP) is squarely aimed at enabling SusChem to be fully equipped to meet the challenges that are implicit in the Europe 2020 strategy for growth. It sets a consistent basis for SusChem’s engagement with the forthcoming European Commission Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation.

The enhanced strategy is the result of a consultative process launched at SusChem’s 10th Stakeholder Conference in April and was led by former SusChem Chairman Prof Rodney Townsend (below).

SusChem Chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer comments: “This document will set SusChem strategy for the next few years and will guide our efforts to make a very significant contribution to achieving smart, sustainable growth in Europe. SusChem will be fully engaged in Horizon 2020, and other elements of the Europe 2020 agenda, to ensure that chemistry and biotechnology continue to drive the innovative, truly sustainable technology solutions that are needed to address the challenges facing society today.”

“I thank Rodney for his hard work and dedication in leading the consultation process and preparing the strategy,” continues Dr. Sommer. “The final document also fits very well in terms of both content and in timing with the recent position paper from the European Commission of the future of ETPs.”

The consultation process on the document was exhaustive. “Over the past six months the strategy has evolved as the result of a wide range of inputs from stakeholders,” says Prof. Townsend. “Like so many of SusChem’s activities this has been a highly collaborative effort and the result is a strategy which provides a clear path forward for the platform.”

Key elements
The key elements of the SusChem 2020 strategy can be summarized in two paragraphs:

The new SusChem strategy retains research, innovation and education actions at the heart of its activities. There is a new commitment to engage with policy makers and partner organisations to shape research and innovation policies and deliver truly sustainable innovation that creates value in and for European society.

To achieve its objectives the platform’s partnership activities will be expanded strategically, by increasing substantially multidisciplinary and cross-sector working along value chains. In addition, cooperation between SusChem Europe and its National Technology Platforms will be strengthened.

To download the new Strategy document, please visit the SusChem website. For more information on the new SusChem strategy, please contact the secretariat.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

SusChem: Skills for the Bioeconomy

SusChem presented its Educate to Innovate ideas to the European Commission’s conference "New Skills for a European Bioeconomy" on 20-21 November in Brussels. Gernot Klotz from Cefic outlined SusChem's new strategic approach and the role of education in the platform’s activities.

SusChem is a new form of Technology Platform which fully integrates researchers, academia, industries and skills argued Gernot Klotz. This integrated approach is needed to build a distinct European distinct innovation system that can compete in a global market.

Innovation requires not only technical and scientific skills, but also business and personal skills. Cefic and SusChem initiated studies to determine the critical skills (business, personal, scientific and technical) that scientists and engineers will need to boost innovation in the European chemical industry – a major driver of the future bioeconomy.

The study found a need for a broader scientific skill set that goes beyond traditional single discipline teaching: a multidisciplinary and broad skill set base, also business and personal skills for efficient interdisciplinary work and easy adaptation to new tasks, and strategic awareness of business and innovation management issues.

Educate to Innovate
But how can this be achieved in Higher Education Institutes (HEIs)? In many ways it is a matter of a different approach to teaching rather than teaching something different (in terms of content) suggested Gernot.

Business and personal skills can often be addressed through different teaching methodologies rather than additional courses or new curricula, and opportunities for context- and problem-based learning should be considered when developing new courses. Promoting multidisciplinary working is also important.

This needs a sound industry-academia collaboration to help fill the skills gap. Collaboration between industry and academia on research topics is already well developed. The SusChem Educate to Innovate programme seeks to exploit innovation outputs from SusChem’s Research and Innovation projects to enhance the innovation skills of future generations of scientists and engineers through effective engagement of industry and HEIs.

The programme is developing a framework that will capture examples of innovation and innovative approaches emerging from the SusChem projects and identify and engage with key stakeholders in European industry and academia.

The programme can facilitate constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas on the best ways to introduce key innovation themes into academic teaching. It will also design educational resources that can be used at undergraduate and masters level to develop the skills needed to enhance innovation in the chemical and industrial biotechnology sectors.

Bioeconomy
The recently adopted European Commission Communication "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe" aims to shift the European economy towards greater and more sustainable use of renewable resources, building on research, innovation and investment. Anticipating and upgrading knowledge and skills and better matching of skills and jobs are key to the success of the bioeconomy strategy in delivering growth and new employment opportunities in Europe.

The "New skills for a European Bioeconomy" conference organised by DG Research and Innovation brought together bioeconomy and education and training stakeholders to discuss skills development needs and employment opportunities rising from the transition to a bioeconomy.

For information on Educate to Innovate see the Education section of the SusChem website or contact Sophie Wilmet at Cefic.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Council endorse Raw Materials EIP, KETs

Yesterday (11 October) at its meeting in Luxembourg the Council of the European Union on Competitiveness endorsed the launch of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials and called on the European Commission to develop and finalise the partnership’s Strategic Implementation Plan by the end of 2013. SusChem is part of the consortium that developed the proposal for the EIP. The Raw Materials EIP will support the development of innovative technologies, possible regulatory measures and standardisation and public procurement initiatives.

“SusChem is very happy to see the endorsement of the EIP,” said Antonia Morales Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic, who has coordinated the ETP’s work in this area. “SusChem has been heavily involved in the process of the preparation of the EIP, in particular leading the work package on substitution of raw materials. However many other aspects of the partnership are also of great interest for us including extraction and recycling activities. Policy and international cooperation complement the topics to be further developed in the Strategic Implementation Plan.”

SusChem is also a member of the Alliance 4 Materials (A4M) organisation that brings together a number of European Technology Platforms with a strong materials agenda to collaborate and coordinate activities.

Conclusions
The Council conclusions welcomed the European Commission’s Communication entitled "Making raw materials available for Europe’s future wellbeing ─ Proposal for a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials" that was launched at the end of February this year.

The EIP is seen as a key contribution to the successful implementation of the Innovation Union, the Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era, and the Resource-Efficient Flagship initiatives.

The Council is also looking for the Commission to appoint representatives to the High-level Steering Group that will oversee the Raw Materials EIP that represent a good balance between industry, environment and research, including all relevant fields of expertise in the raw materials value chain. The Commission will report on progress in developing the Raw Materials EIP by the end of July 2013.

Chemical innovation is key
Our modern society is dependant on a range of raw materials, including industrial minerals and metals used in high technology applications that support our lifestyle and infrastructures. But many of these raw materials are not easily available or only found in areas geographically remote from Europe. All are an essentially finite resource: we only have one planet to live on.

Four sustainable solution strategies can contribute to improving the future security of supply for these raw materials. The activities are collectively known as the ‘4Rs’:

  • Reduce – use less of the material to deliver the same product effect
  • Reuse – enable the recovery of a material to deliver the same effect repeatedly
  • Recycle – enable the recovery if a material to be reprocessed with no loss in value
  • Replace – substitute with a material, process, technology or business model that delivers the same (or better) effect

Any new solution should also reduce the overall environmental impact and be safe to users and consumers.

All these solutions will require sustainable chemistry to achieve them and will contribute to the medium to long term security of supply for raw materials in Europe. They will also boost resource efficiency and develop new business areas such as advanced recycling processes.

KETs
The Council conclusions also strongly endorsed the Commission’s strategy on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and its Communication entitled "A European strategy for Key Enabling Technologies ─ A bridge to growth and jobs". This policy area is also of intense interest for SusChem and a critical element for the future competitiveness of Europe.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Sustainable Chemistry Future in an Uncertain Europe

SusChem board member and former Chairman Prof Rodney Townsend has written a feature article on SusChem, research, innovation and the future of Europe for the Finnish chemistry magazine Kemia.

Prof Townsend was invited to write the article following lectures at Helsinki University and at the Helsinki Chemicals Forum earlier in the year.

The article entitled ‘Building a Sustainable Chemistry Future in an Uncertain Europe’ was published in Kemia (the Finnish Chemical Magazine) and can be accessed here. The article covers the increasing importance of sustainable chemistry and the way new chemical technologies can make a tangible difference to all our futures. According to Kemia’s editor the article has attracted a lot of reader response and interest already.

Readers of the article are strongly encouraged to learn more about SusChem and to actively join in with SusChem’s activities. Prof Townsend hopes that the article will prompt interest in Finland forming its own National Technology Platform – a development that SusChem would welcome.

Kemi is a professional magazine dedicated to chemistry and first published in 1974. It is the membership magazine of the Association of Finnish Chemical Societies and the Biobio Society with a total readership of over 10 000.

Water Task Force Priorities

The Task Force set up to draft the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water met for the first time on 25 September in Brussels.

The Task Force has 45 members covering a wide representation of stakeholders al with great interest in solving, through innovation, the current water challenges that Europe and the rest of the world are facing. The chemical industry is represented by Gernot Klotz (for Cefic and SusChem) and Markus Bush (of Dow Water Solutions and also representing Cefic).

“This first meeting of the Task Force was a very productive meeting, mainly dedicated to discussing the priorities to be selected as a further step to those already proposed by the Steering Group,” commented Gernot Klotz.

Priorities
The three priorities already selected by the EIP High-Level Steering Group were:

  • Water-energy nexus
  • Water governance
  • Financing for innovation.

Following a ranking exercise two further priorities stood out and the Task Force consensus was to add these as EIP on Water priorities. These priorities are:

  • Water re-use and recycling
  • Water and wastewater treatment

Three further priorities were also selected by the Task Forcefollowing an in-depth discussion at the meeting. They are:

  • Risk management of water-related extreme events (floods & droughts)
  • Management models and monitoring
  • Ecosystem services

Out of the eight priorities chosen by the Task Force, some have clear cross cutting characteristics, whereas others are priorities in themselves.

From the chemical industry point of view all the priorities reflect the value of a “Symbiotic approach” based on the integration of the Urban-Rural and Industrial areas that will achieve faster implementation of innovative solutions and obtain the maximum benefit from the synergies among them. The priorities, their innovation potential, market opportunities and concrete actions will be described in the EIP on Water (SIP) that will be drafted by the Task Force

A summary report on the outcomes of the Task Force meeting is available on the Water EIP website.

The Task Force proposal has to be approved by the Steering Group during October. The Task Force will then start writing a first draft of the SIP, including concrete activities related to the full set of priorities.

The Task Force reports to the EIP’s High-level Steering Group which provides strategic guidance for the development of the SIP. The SIP document should be finished by the end of November and approved by the Steering Group before the end of this year.

Background
The background to the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water is outlined in the European Commission Communication of May 2012. The EIP will be a tool to support the Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources, which will be presented by the Commission in November 2012 as the water milestone of the European Commission’s Resource Efficiency roadmap.

For more information on SusChem activities in the water sector contact Antonia Morales Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic.

Note this is an update to an article first published on 3 October 2012.

Friday, 5 October 2012

SusChem and SPIRE thank Ger and Ed

At the latest SusChem Board meeting (October 5) SusChem Chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer thanked Ger Spork and Ed d'Hooghe for their contributions to SusChem's achievements and wished them both good luck on their return from secondment at Cefic R&I to Dow. And the entire SusChem team wishes them all the best for the future.

Klaus Sommer thanked Ger for being the "good spirit of SusChem" for the past four years. He praised Ger's self motivation, loyalty and ability to coordinate the diverse stakeholder community that was SusChem - a task he described as being akin to "herding cats". Klaus also thanked Ger for being "great fun to work with" and hoped that he would "not be a stranger" to SusChem in his role as New Business Development Manger in Dow Benelux.

Klaus Sommer introduced Dr. Jacques Komornicki as Ger's successor at Cefic. You can read an extended interview with Jacques and Ger here.

SPIRE success
Klaus was also full of praise for Ed d'Hooghe who is returning to Dow to be Human Resources Director for the Benelux region. Klaus described Ed as the very "visible spearhead for SPIRE" and thanked him for his drive, tenacity and stamina in establishing, what he believed to be, "the basis for success for SPIRE" going forward.

Klaus Sommer is President of A.SPIRE aisbl the legal entity established to develop the SPIRE Public Private Partnership.

Ed's duties as Executive Director of A.SPIRE have now been assumed by Loredana Ghinea from the Cefic R&I team who has been working on the SPIRE concept since its inception. Klaus, Loredana and Ed are pictured above.

Consultation closed
Loredana's main task at the moment is the analysis of the responses to the SPIRE Roadmap Consultation document. The consultation period closed on 1 October and several hundred responses were received.

These will be used to inform a final version of the Roadmap which should be available by the end of October.

For more information on SPIRE activities or to become a member of the PPP consortium, please contact Loredana or visit the SPIRE website.

SusChem: Some Future Perspectives

Jacques Komornicki is taking over the reins of the SusChem secretariat now that Ger Spork is returning to Dow after a successful four year secondment as the ‘face’ of SusChem. SusChem News caught up with Ger and Jacques, pictured below with SusChem chairman Klaus Sommer (left), to review the recent achievements of the platform and discuss what the future may hold.

Dr. Jacques Komornicki has a chemical and materials research background and is joining Cefic from French company Arkema where he was recently R&D Director for oxygenated products. His career to date has been very much in research areas working with various materials development initiatives including high performance polymers. He describes himself as a “Research and Innovation fan”, which is why he was attracted to the secondment to Cefic and SusChem.

“It is a very different job, with a steep learning curve,” he admits. “I will need to understand the context and environment in which SusChem works in Brussels – understand the acronyms and language used in the European Commission and Parliament. I need to get to know who the key people are - who does what. My understanding, which corresponds to my personal philosophy and gives me a high motivation, is that we are working in a highly collaborative mode whether we are talking about industry partners or European Institutions.”

Fortunately he and Ger have had some time for a handover period that has helped introduce Jacques to the world of SusChem.

Value chain
Jacques comes from an area of the Chemical industry, Performance Products, where working along the value chain is natural. “To be successful the chemical industry you cannot work in isolation,” says Jacques. “You really have to collaborate with partners – both downstream and upstream – to get the best solutions. In general within the chemical industry to get the best out of R&D you need to embrace open innovation.” He also has good experience of working in EU projects and has experienced first hand the value of pan European collaborative research.

Improving the public’s perception of chemistry and the chemical industry is also very important to Jacques. “Generally in France the chemical industry is still seen by many people as polluters - the bad guys,” says Jacques. “The image does not match reality and people do not value the industry enough. I hope that working in Cefic I can help to put chemical industry back in its right place as a genuine solution provider for societal needs.”

Ger agrees and his experience indicates things are moving in the right direction. “SusChem has made a great evolution in the last years, bringing it in much better position for public and private partners,” he says. “The industry has got a stronger profile and the current environment gives a better position for our solution provider role: and a great opportunity for SusChem.”

Platform for sustainability
Looking back Ger sees many changes during his time with SusChem. “Suschem was well established as a research platform and we could build from that,” he says. “I was impressed with how things were run but had one question: what is our impact?”

Finding out what the impact was a revelation and allowed SusChem to step up a gear and consider a wider ambition. “When the early impact analysis was done in 2009 the numbers were fantastic: €600 million worth of granted projects that were SusChem inspired in the first 18 months of FP7,” boasts Ger. “And on average we are still looking at around €300 million per year. These sorts of figures made the industry take notice of the value position of our Industry platform.”

And chemistry and the chemical industry can still do better than this. “If you look at relative contribution to GDP then our sector should get nearer one billion Euros,” claims Ger. "This level of funding would be in line with our fundamental contributions to society and help to bring the support together to create full programme proposals like in a Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) with large-scale collaborative research and elements of demonstration. Now that is real impact to my mind.”

These concepts will be important in the new framework programme (Horizon 2020) to ensure that innovation gives Europe a real competitive edge.

SusChem has moved from a pure research platform to become a research and innovation platform targeting societal needs. The chemical sector has a lot to do as the solution provider for societal challenges such as producing novel lightweight materials, improving resource and energy efficiency. Challenges such as using CO2 as a feedstock for useful products are areas where the chemical industry will be the key solution provider.

Leading collaboration
Ger is keen to highlight another change in SusChem's approach. "Previously we always stepped away from the content of projects," he says. "SusChem acted as a catalyst enabling others to build projects. Now SusChem is also involved in the process of contributing to projects and driving initiatives where necessary."

This trend is highlighted over the past four years by the willingness of Cefic and other SusChem partner organisations to make a greater content contribution to projects and programme. “This is very positive,” says Ger. “The willingness to do more than just run the technology platforms is a big plus. Cefic is now willing to become a concrete partner in projects, for example E4Water, which adds great value.”

“So change is very important," continues Ger. "It is important to regularly get a new perspective."

Jacques recognises the value of these initiatives. “SusChem is now involved with a lot of other platforms and projects: for example A4M, E4Water and of course SPIRE. The industry is an actor in all value chains: an important actor, but not the only one. This means that collaboration is essential,” he says. “And it goes beyond research. To do good research, get good results, to set up a pilot line is useful but how does this translate into jobs in the EU? That is the essential question today.”

Ger agrees. “Public engagement to cross the so-called innovation ‘valley of death’ is key to address societal challenges, which are excellent growth creation opportunities and what we are doing is important here,” he believes. “This will ensure we achieve something truly sustainable and again this means that we need to know what is the impact. We need to be able to demonstrate that we are creating a sustainable future. We must be able to demonstrate the capability to generate jobs by 2020.”

Both Jacques and Ger are enthusiastic about the role of the platform leading open innovation in the chemical industry. “This is an area of great future interest for the industry,” concludes Ger. “At present a lot of people talk about open innovation, but not many actually do it. SusChem has a huge potential role to promote open innovation.”

You can contact Jacques Komornicki at the SusChem secretariat.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Water Task Force Launched

The Task Force set up to draft the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water met for the first time on 25 September in Brussels.

The Task Force has 45 members covering a wide representation of stakeholders al with great interest in solving, through innovation, the current water challenges that Europe and the rest of the world are facing. The chemical industry is represented by Gernot Klotz (for Cefic and SusChem) and Markus Bush (of Dow Water Solutions and also representing Cefic).

“This first meeting of the Task Force was a very productive meeting, mainly dedicated to discussing the priorities to be selected as a further step to those already proposed by the Steering Group,” commented Gernot Klotz.

The Task Force proposal has to be approved by the Steering Group during early October. After this approval, the Task Force will start writing a first draft of the SIP, including concrete activities related to the full set of priorities.

The Task Force reports to the EIP’s High-level Steering Group which provides strategic guidance for the development of the SIP. The SIP document should be finished by the end of November and approved by the Steering Group before the end of this year.

Background
The background to the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water is outlined in the European Commission Communication of May 2012. The EIP will be a tool to support the Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources, which will be presented by the Commission in November 2012 as the water milestone of the European Commission’s Resource Efficiency roadmap.

For more information on SusChem activities in the water sector contact Antonia Morales Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

French go Dutch in Lyon

In early September the Dutch Top Chemistry sector was the guest of the French ‘pôle de compétitivité’ Axelera in Lyon. Axelera is a French innovation cluster for companies and knowledge institutes in the field of sustainable chemistry. This first example of Axelera's ‘International Thursday’ event welcomed representatives from the Netherlands and Belgium with a particular interest in the biobased economy. The meeting was facilitated by the SusChem national platforms in France and the Netherlands and held at the prestigious Hôtel de Région Rhône-Alpes Confluences on 6 September.

The event was introduced by Jean-Jack Queyranne, President of the Rhône-Alpes region, while Jean-Louis Gagnaire, Vice President of Economic Development, Industry and SMEs, concluded the plenary session focusing on the anticipated role of the Axelera cluster in the creation of economic value, especially for SMEs.

The Netherlands chemistry sector was represented by Janneke Carpenter from the Dutch government and co-secretary of the Dutch ‘Chemistry Top Sector’ team. She presented the Dutch top sector policy, the top sector chemistry and in particular the country’s ambitions for the Biobased Economy.

SusChem management team member Nelo Emerencia from VNCI is the other co-secretary of the Dutch top team chemistry and he presented the vision from the chemical industry viewpoint.

Jean-Marie Bassett, business development manager at TNO presented on sustainable process and Green Chemistry activities, while Andreas ten Cate of the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT) presented the work of this public-private research institute whose activities are closely linked to those of Axelera.

Research centre
Prior to the presentation the Dutch team visited to the joint CNRS/ Rhodia research centre where they saw work on innovation in the fields of process and material technology.

The cluster Axelera focuses on eight markets and presented its current interests in areas such as Clean Processes, Water, Air, Soils and Agri-Agro, Sustainable Buildings, Bio-Resources, Materials, Recycling and Waste, Transportation, Renewable Energies, and Electronics.

A speed dating session worked very smoothly and helped to establish some useful individual contacts.

Both sides hope that this initial ‘International Thursday’ event will lead to the beginning of more intense regular collaboration between France and the Netherlands on sustainable chemistry activities.

Friday, 28 September 2012

SPIRE supports Generation Awake

The A.SPIRE aisbl, the industry association behind the SPIRE Public Private Partnership (PPP) has become an official supporting partner of the European Commission’s “Generation Awake” Campaign. This DG Environment campaign is working to raise awareness on issues around using current resources sustainably.



“SPIRE is proud to be associated with the ‘Generation Awake’ campaign,” said Loredana Ghinea, Executive Director of A.SPIRE. “The campaign emphasises that all our futures depend on the choices we make about resources now. The SPIRE PPP is all about improving energy and resource efficiency within industry and through that for our entire society. And individual choices are as important as those made by corporations and institutions. Only together can be we reach our sustainability objectives.”

Resourceful Campaign
The Generation Awake campaign makes it clear that the choices you make individually can make a world of difference. The campaign is all about opening people’s eyes to the consumer choices they make and the consequences these have on the earth’s natural resources. By engaging with Generation Awake, citizens become more aware that these choices not only change their world, but our planet too.

Our future depends on how we use resources now and the campaign highlights the impact of our behaviour on natural resources such as water, fertile soils, clean air and biodiversity: as resources become scarcer, we put our future welfare at risk.

A.SPIRE's mission is to ensure the development of enabling technologies and best practices that will contribute to a resource efficient process industry. The ultimate goal is to promote the deployment of the innovative technologies and solutions required to reach long term sustainability for Europe and its process industries.

Resource efficiency
Resource efficiency is about using resources sustainably – doing more with less and minimising impacts on the environment. It is about making the right choices to ensure a good quality of life, not just for now, but for the generations to come.

Becoming resource-efficient means changing our way of thinking and patterns of behaviour and taking account of how our choices affect natural resources. It’s not about consuming less – it’s about consuming differently.

For more information on the ‘Generation Awake’ visit the website or download the ‘Generation Awake’ Guide that covers a wide range of topics including air, water, soil, minerals, timber, biodiversity, waste, reusing, recycling, transport/ travel and energy efficiency.

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fourth European Innovation Summit

The Fourth European Innovation Summit (EIS) will take place on 9 and 10 October in the European Parliament in Brussels. Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) and its partners are organising the EIS under the motto “Building Bridges – Creating Synergies” and SusChem will be playing an active role.

The meeting will provide an excellent opportunity for innovation stakeholders from the public, private and academic sectors to meet with Members of the European Parliament, Commissioners and other high-level EU-officials. EIS is the ideal occasion to discuss the main challenges to Europe’s innovation performance and work towards an improved mutual understanding of goals and needs to the benefit of the EU and its citizens.

Lambert van Nistelrooij, MEP, President of the Knowledge4Innovation Forum of the European Parliament says: "Please join us in the 4th European Innovation Summit and share your ideas about Europe’s innovation policies. Together with the Council and the Commission, we look forward to discussing and analysing the future of Innovation in Europe, continue to build bridges among the different actors and create synergies between the various programmes and policies."

The Knowledge4Innovation Forum will continue the success story of the last three years, when more than 250 speakers, including the Presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission, and some 2500 innovation stakeholders, from Europe and beyond, discussed how Europe can successfully build and improve its Innovation Ecosystem.

Programme
The K4I EIS programme can be downloaded here and you can register for the Summit here.

This year’s high profile speakers include the Commissioner for Innovation and Research Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, Chair of the “Friends of the EIT Group” MEP Maria Da Graca Carvalho, Director General of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) Dominique Ristori, COST President Ángeles Rodríguez-Peña, and representing Cefic and SusChem Gernot Klotz Executive Director Research and Innovation at Cefic.

The debates will bring together innovation practitioners, including those that participated in the ‘Innovation Reality Check’ online survey, and EP Rapporteurs currently dealing with innovation-related Commission proposals including “Horizon2020”, the Cohesion Policy Framework, the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

The Closing Reception on Wednesday 10 October will address in particular the “Challenge of Aligning Needs and Means, Policies and Instruments.” This will be a great opportunity to check whether the new instruments really meet practitioners’ needs. Gernot Klotz is one of the speakers in this closing debate.

For more information on K4I EIS please contact the K4I secretariat.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Swiss SusChem seeks Stakeholders

During the SusChem Brokerage event on 18 September a proposal for a SusChem Switzerland National Technology Platform (NTP) was launched. The important role for National Technology Platforms was highlighted by Ger Spork from the SusChem secretariat in his introduction, in light of the new Framework programme Horizon 2020, where alignment of National and EU priority areas will be of increasing importance.

Greet van Eetvelde of Ineos spoke about the idea with support from Paul Dyson and Francois Marechal of the Ecole Federale Polytechnique de Lausanne (EPFL) and called for participation from interested parties.

A particular focus of the Swiss NTP will be on three 'C's': chemistry, carbon and clean. Safe sustainable methods of energy production and use are research priorities together with chemical methods for CO2 abatement and use as feedstock.

The initial supporters of the concept had been looking for a platform model that involved both industry and academia with synergy at the EU level - and they found SusChem had similar context and priorities and offered established links into pan-European networks and programmes. A ready-made solution!

To find out more about the nascent Swiss NTP contact via SusChem secretariat.

SusChem Brokerage Big Success

SusChem's last FP7 brokerage event on 18 September was a great success. Well over 100 attendees at the Sheraton Hotel in Place Rogier, Brussels got briefed on SusChem relevant calls for 2013, IPR issues in collaborative research and heard about dozens of new project proposals and expressions of interest - all wrapped up with an afternoon of 'speed dating'!

Opening proceedings Ger Spork from the SusChem secretariat reminded delegates that "research remains a strategic area for SusChem." He also described how SusChem's involvement in project and programme implementation had evolved over the past few years.

Initially our brokerage events were all about SusChem enabling information sharing and supporting consortia formation. This evolved to SusChem being actively engaged in strategic project proposals and driving consortium building. Now and going forward SusChem will aim to be proactive in consortium creation and implementation in SusChem inspired programmes and priority areas (such as SPIRE) and this will require the brokerage process to be initiated earlier in the project proposal process to further strengthen the industry engagement.

Ron Weerdmeester from PNO Consultants outlined how follow-up support will be provided through pro-active project building for strategic topics such as the project on New Indicators and Tools for Resource Efficiency in the Value Chain that PNO is currently building on behalf of the SPIRE community, and through on-line tools such as the SusChem brokerage database.

2013 call
All delegates were issued with summaries of SusChem relevant projects from the 2013 FP7 calls as part of conference pack. Frederic Gouarderes from the European Commission's DG Research presented the 2013 call and reminded his audience that during the five years of FP7 so far some 14 223 grant agreements had been signed, involving 79 167 participants and attracting over €25 billion of Commission funding.

He saw sustainable chemistry as a driver for collaborations to more sustainable products and services and highlighted a number of SusChem inspired projects that had already had tremendous impact.

The 2013 call in FP7 plays a linking role with the next framework programme: Horizon 2020. This programme scheduled to start in 2014 will more closely couple research and innovation and look to get even greater involvement from industry and SMEs. Its proposed budget is €80 billion.

Twenty project ideas for the open calls were presented by industry and academia, with concrete invitations to large industries, SMEs and research organisations to join with their proposals to the EU. Following these presentations partner search requests, various network events, expressions of interests and speed-dating fostered the consortium building on the spot. All project ideas and expression of interests (over 50) are available in the on-line SusChem database for follow-up and further partnering activities towards the open calls.

IPR important
The basics of IPR (intellectual property rights) management in EU projects were outlined by Jeorg Scherer from the European IPR helpdesk . He emphasised the need to consider IP issues at all stages of project formulation and implementation.

Jeorg indicated that with more emphasis on innovation in Horizon 2020 IPR issues will be more important than ever - especially at the proposal stage. He also highlighted that the ownership of IP stays with the partners that developed it. This is a basic element of managing IPR within the consortium agreements.

The IPR Helpdesk is a free service funded by European Commission. The Helpdesk offers a variety of services via personal training, its website and a telephone helpline – the helpdesk can even check articles in consortium agreements.

SusChem hopes to initiate an IPR workshop in early 2013 to examine best practices in IPR management in Public-Private projects.

Building Up
Delegates were also briefed about the Building Up cross technology platform FP7 project on the future construction and energy. SusChem had been involved with this excellent example of value chain collaboration. Laszlo Bax of Bax & Willems Consulting, who had been involved in the project as SusChem representatives, described the project that was now nearing its conclusion.

Its objective was to identify and elaborate cross-sector priorities on materials research and innovation for energy efficient buildings. The end result would be medium term (2020) and long-term (2050) roadmaps detailing cross-ETP collaboration on relevant topics. These outputs will feed into calls and roadmaps issued by the Energy Efficient Buildings PPP, including the targeted extension of this PPP in Horizon 2020. The project also contributed to a SusChem position paper on the Smart Cities EIP in Spring 2012.

Goodbye Ger
One of the final sessions of the day was ‘speed dating’, in which short one-to-one meetings between potential collaborators were arranged. This was a particularly popular part of the event (see picture below) with many more meetings taking place than originally planed.

The meeting was wrapped up by Ger Spork and Ron Weerdmeester giving a reflection of the required evolution of SusChem’s Brokerage role towards Horizon 2020. With the expected first calls for this new EC framework programme for Research and Innovation in early 2014, the brokerage activities will start sometime in mid 2013 on themes from the roadmap basis for the calls. During the SusChem 11th Stakeholder Event, scheduled for 23 – 24 April 2013 in Brussels, more details will be shared on this extended SusChem Brokerage activity.

This meeting was the last SusChem stakeholder event for Ger who is returning to Dow Chemical after four successful years leading the SusChem secretariat and during the closing session Ger introduced his successor, Jacques Komornicki (left below), seconded from Arkema.

In the very near future SusChem News will be publishing an interview with Jacques and Ger to mark Ger's departure and explore Jacques' aspirations for his new role with SusChem.

Ger aims to remain in close contact with SusChem in his new role as New Business Development Director for Dow. The networking cocktail after the Brokerage event was an opportunity for delegates to wish Ger well for the future and welcome Jacques to the SusChem community.

Monday, 17 September 2012

BIO-TIC makes a Solid Start

Despite the many significant drivers for applying industrial biotechnology to tackle the major challenges facing our global society today, including climate change, dwindling fossil fuel resources and the need to develop a more sustainable and resource-efficient industry, many hurdles continue to hamper the full exploitation of its potential. This is where BIO-TIC, a SusChem-inspired FP7 project that launched last week, comes in and the project is looking for your input.

The BIO-TIC project is “a solutions approach” centered on an extensive roadmap development process that will comprehensively examine the many barriers to innovation in industrial biotechnology across Europe and formulate action plans and recommendations to overcome them. The project’s kick-off meeting took place in Brussels on 6 September 2012.

Hurdles
BIO-TIC aims to establish an overview of the barriers to biotech innovation and design a clear action plan. This solid roadmapping exercise requires the involvement of stakeholders from industry as well as from knowledge organisations and other stakeholders including governments and NGOs.

The final aim of the project will be to draw up a set of recommendations for overcoming the identified innovation hurdles within a selection of European business and societal opportunities. The process used to develop the roadmap and recommendations will engage with all the relevant value-chain partners, promoting and facilitating active discussion groups across all industrial biotechnology sectors and leaving a partnering platform that will make a major contribution to continuing accelerated take-up of industrial biotechnology once the project is completed.

In addition, the project will develop and market test a set of shared indicators and a methodology to measure the growth of biomass use and industrial biotechnology in the market as metric to evaluate the impact of the project.

Examples of the hurdles facing the deployment of biotechnology include:

  • Lack of awareness among industrial stakeholders about the potential benefits of industrial biotechnology,
  • The high level of investment required for proof-of-concept and piloting of new biotechnological technologies,
  • Lack of knowledge regarding migration paths from established manufacturing bases to alternatives based on industrial biotechnology,
  • Insufficient insights into Life Cycle Impacts of industrial biotechnology,
  • Lack of standards and agreed certification schemes in industrial biotechnology
  • Lack of private finance for new business developments and demonstration plants in the area.

Some of these hurdles are connected to technological bottlenecks; others are related to funding, policy regimes or societal acceptance. To overcome these hurdles requires a clear perception of their nature and the way they interrelate.

Link into BIO-TIC
BIO-TIC wants to take into account visions and interests from all relevant stakeholders to form a coherent plan. A number of communication tools are being developing, including a project website to be launched later in the year, but if you want to get involved with BIO-TIC right now then you can join its BIO-TIC LinkedIn group or visit its website.

This new Linked-in group will establish a virtual discussion forum to debate BIO-TIC issues and is open to anyone interested in the transformative potential of industrial biotechnology. Visit the BIO-TIC linked-in group now!

The BIO-TIC project is funded via the European Commission’s FP7 research programme and its full title is ‘The Industrial Biotech Research and Innovation Platforms Centre – towards Technological Innovation and solid foundations for a growing industrial biotech sector in Europe’. The project is coordinated by EuropaBio.

Friday, 14 September 2012

BIO-PPP Consultation Launched

A crowded meeting in Brussels on 10 September saw the launch of a widespread stakeholder consultation on the proposed BIO-PPP. Some 170 delegates met in the Renaissance Hotel to find out more about the proposal and listen to views from various industry sectors, academics and national government speakers.

BIO-PPP is a proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) on the Bio-Based Industries which aims to lead the transition in Europe towards sustainable alternatives to our current petroleum/ fossil fuel-based society. The aim of the initiative is to help establish a new European bioeconomy encompassing all stages in the value chain from biomass harvesting and logistics via efficient conversion processes to the manufacture of bio-based products. The industry group behind the initiative comprises major companies from a cross-section of sectors including forest, agricultural, paper, chemical, energy, fuels and biotechnology.

The aim of the Brussels meeting was to increase the visibility of the initiative and initiate a consultation process on a draft strategic research and innovation agenda. The meeting was organised by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) who are hosting the BIO-PPP secretariat. The presentations made at the meeting are now available from the CEPI website.

Status
Marco Mensink of CEPI described the current status of the BIO-PPP. The initiative had been started in February 2012 with the launch of the European Commission's Bioeconomy Communication and an initial recruitment of partner organisations (including SusChem).

The BIO-PPP vision document was now finalised and following the consultation process it is hoped to finalise the Research and Innovation Roadmap in late September/ early October. An Impact Assessment will be undertaken by December 2012 and the initiative is aiming to become a legal entity at around the same time. The PPP would build further during 2013 with the final goal to be ready by January 2014 for the commencement of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.

Speakers from the German Ministries of Agriculture and Research welcomed the initiative to support the growth of a sustainable bioeconomy. They recognised that there was a need to get the right implementation structure for a harmonised EU-bioeconomy strategy and that research and development activities were key.

The initiative complemented the recently published German National Research Strategy Bioeconomy 2030 that is funded to the tune of some €2.6 billion already (from public and private sources) and was working from an entire value chain creation approach.

SPIRE – BIO docking?
During questions the issue of the need to avoid overlap between the BIO-PPP and the SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) initiative was voiced by a number of delegates. Clearly both PPPs have their own identities and cover distinct and far reaching fields of activity with extensive industry participation in each. They also share a number of organisations as partners including Cefic, EuropaBio and SusChem.

Although each PPP represents a roadmap towards delivery of benefits and improvements to different areas of EU industry, the environment and the economy, there are nevertheless areas of communality and a space where both PPPs meet, adding value to one another’s potential deliverables.

There have been extensive discussions between the two initiatives to ensure duplication and redundancy are avoided and that the two PPPs offer clear benefits to Europe by complementing each other in developing comprehensive innovative and sustainable solutions. Clear docking points between the two proposed PPPs have been described to avoid unproductive overlap and to reinforce mutual supporting activities.

More information
To obtain more information on the BIO-PPP, including copies of the Vision and Research Roadmap documents and to find out how to get involved with the consultation process, please contact the consortium secretariat at CEPI.

The consultation process for the SPIRE Roadmap is also still open until 1 October. So far well over 200 individual responses have been received. To access the SPIRE consultation click here, to download a copy of the draft SPIRE roadmap click here.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

One week to go to the BIOCHEM Accelerator Forum Bilbao

Time is counting and your business opportunity as a biotechnology SME is getting closer. The upcoming BIOCHEM Accelerator Forum scheduled as part of BIOSPAIN 2012 on September 20 and 21 in Bilbao, Spain is still open for your participation. Registrations can be made until September 13 here.

The BIOCHEM Accelerator Forum combines technology transfer, partnering and venture capital events in one single location. Participants will gain more knowledge about the biobased industry in Europe, the BIOCHEM toolbox that will enable bio‐based companies to grow and the best practices of established business angels and academics.

“BIOCHEM Tools Workshop” to be held on September 20 will be the starting point when forum attendees will have the opportunity to learn from expert coaches through hands on experience of four useful business tools developed by the project: Business related issues including investor search, Life Cycle Analysis, Sustainable Design Guide and Market Assessment.

On September 21 participants will be offered a panel discussion on Technology trends in biobased and sustainable chemistry where five expert speakers will share their personal experiences and the challenges they have encountered in commercializing biobased technologies and products, either as researchers or as experts involved in this process.

Venture capital
Also on September 21, to close the event, two Venture Capital review sessions will be held where the audience will have the opportunity to watch 12 selected companies present their goals and objectives followed by an evaluation by expert reviewers who will provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of each case. Confirmed reviewers include representatives from: Aggio Partners, Caixa Capital Risc “La Caixa”, Dynomics Biomedtech S.L., Mitsui Global Investment, MSD, BASF Venture Capital GmbH, European Investment Fund, Knowledge Capital Fund IUCT, and Sofinnova Partners.

A complete programme for the event is available on either the SusChem Spain and BioSpain 2012 websites.

About BIOCHEM
BIOCHEM, was launched on February 2010. It is a European initiative with the participation of 16 partners, two of which are Spanish: Feique and Madrid Network‐Biocluster. The project is co‐financed by European Commission’s INNOVA programme to support companies who wish to access the growing biotechnological based chemicals products market.

For more information visit BIOCHEM’s Website and to register with the BIOCHEM collaboration platform visit this webpage.

For a detailed list of Reviewers and details of presenting companies click here.

Further information is also available in the project section of the SusChem Spain website.

For communication enquiries please contact either Annie Mutamba (Europe) or Ángela López (Spain).

Monday, 10 September 2012

Steering the Water EIP

Last week was a big week for the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water with the first meeting of its High-level Steering Group on 4 September. This initial meeting was chaired by European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potocnik and representing SusChem and the chemical industry on the Steering Group was Anton Valero, Dow Country Manager for Spain and Portugal.

The EIP Steering Group provides strategic guidance for the development of the partnership’s Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP). Discussion at this first meeting of the Steering Group focused on four questions:

  • Which enabling factors are required to develop a strategic agenda for water and innovation?
  • Which do you consider to be the key priority areas of action and what do you consider to be a realistic number of priorities for the EIP on Water?
  • What are the key crosscutting themes which the EIP on Water should address?
  • Which assessment criteria do you consider to be relevant to judge the success of the EIP on Water?

Commissioner Potocnik outlined some of the outcomes of the meeting during a session of the European Parliament’s Water Group that followed the Steering Group kick off meeting. In particular he highlighted priorities including the water-energy nexus, water governance, financing for innovation, resource efficient urban water supply and wastewater treatment, balancing supply and demand, integration of rural water management and land-use planning, water supply and sanitation for small rural communities, and best practices in industrial water management.

The definition of priorities to be addressed will be an important step in the preparation of the SIP.

Task Force
The Steering Group consists of 30 members and a Task Force consisting of 45 members representing a wide cross-section of Stakeholders engaged in various areas of water management has also been set up. The nomination of Task Force members was one of the actions carried out during the 4 September meeting. SusChem will be represented in the Task Force by Gernot Klotz and Anton Valero has appointed Markus Busch, also from Dow, as his representative on the body.

The first Task Force meeting will take place on 25 September and the body has the specific task of writing the SIP. The document should be finished by the end of November and approved by the Steering Group before the end of the year.

Chemical viewpoint
At the initial meeting Anton Valero outlined the role of the Chemical Industry in the EIP. The chemical industry thinks the EIP should be considered as a framework to boost know-how, innovation and job creation across the EU on water related technologies and solutions.

Water is on the one hand a valuable and necessary resource for our industries’ activities, future growth and investments depends on the availability of water; while on the other hand the industry uses water in its products and manufactures products for water offering new solutions to the market.

The chemical industry has identified four key water-related challenges in Europe:

  • Water as a resource: Quantity and Quality
  • Waste water treatment: more sustainable
  • Water – Energy resources nexus
  • The development of the bio-based economy and eco-industries

The industry fully supports the overarching objectives of the EIP to develop innovative solutions bringing benefits for the whole society and to fully exploit the commercial opportunities for these water related innovative solutions inside and outside Europe building a more sustainable and competitive European industry.

Background
The background to the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water is outlined in the European Commission Communication of May 2012. The EIP will be a tool to support the Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources, which will be presented by the Commission in November 2012 as the water milestone of the European Commission’s Resource Efficiency roadmap.

For more information on SusChem activities in the water sector contact Antonia Morales Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic.