Tuesday, 24 April 2012

2012 SusChem Event builds Innovation Momentum

SusChem 2012 was a resounding success. Well over 200 participants enjoyed two days of discussions and debate on future SusChem strategy and heard about progress in priority innovation activities including resource efficiency, water, critical raw materials, smart cities and education. New initiatives were launched and delegates left with a clear understanding of SusChem’s commitement to Europe’s priorities and renewed enthusiasm for the challenges ahead. A summary video of the stakeholder event can be viewed on YouTube.

The next year will be important for SusChem, sustainable chemistry and Europe as the scope and direction of Horizon 2020 and our portfolio of innovation initiatives are discussed and decided.

Summing up the two-day event Klaus Sommer, chairman of the SusChem board, stated: “SusChem has achieved excellent recognition with European institutions. We have good momentum in all our activities and a fantastic opportunity to shape our own and Europe’s future.”

The main conference session on day one had been opened with a supportive message from Prof Jerzy Buzek, MEP who conveyed his strong belief that the “real remedy [to the current economic crisis] will be found through research, development, and applied innovation and the chemical sector will play here a leading role.” He thought SusChem and other technology platforms held a key role in identifying the right ideas and ensuring that EU funds are allocated in the most appropriate manner. The full text of Prof. Buzek's message can be read here.

New initiatives

At the start of the event the 11th full SusChem National Technology Platform (NTP) was formally initiated with the launch of SusChem Belgium.

The 10th Stakeholder also saw the launch of a significant new Education initiative – ‘Educate to Innovate’ - that seeks to exploit innovation outputs from SusChem’s research and innovation projects to help enhance the innovation skills of future generations of scientists and engineers.

Sommer described the education initiative in his summary as: “an opportunity to introduce concepts of sustainability, social skills and entrepreneurship as a mind set and new paradigm into higher education.”

Workshops and plenary sessions throughout the meeting covered the four main innovation initiatives that SusChem is involved with. The road ahead and main issues were discussed. In particular for the proposed SPIRE Resource Efficiency Public-Private-Partnership had been the subject of a Dinner Debate on the evening of the first day with supportive messages from industry, public authorities and the Commission.


On day one SusChem board member Rodney Townsend had had presented the new SusChem strategy initiative to move SusChem towards a European Technology and Innovation Platform (ETIP). On the second day he summed up initial feedback from stakeholders on proposals.

This was generally positive, but there were calls for greater clarity on economic considerations and a clearer definition of innovation. Also there were queries about how to set criteria to define sustainability and suggestion to include regional networks and standardisation into SusChem thinking. Issues such as how collaborative activities can be continued beyond the pre-competitive stage, relationships between large and small companies, and investment, merger and acquisition will all feed into the developing strategy.


Concluding the conference Sommer discussed increased stakeholder involvement in SusChem activities. He saw a need to improve communications with our National Platform network and ensure their alignment with activities on the European level. Discussion and debate between stakeholders was important in shaping policies and more time for this needed to be included in stakeholder meetings.

Sommer also promised a regular email newsletter to SusChem stakeholders to ensure everyone was up-to-date on the status of our initiatives in what was likely to be a dynamic year ahead. And he stressed that stakeholders should not hold back from sending their feedback and input to SusChem at any time – multiple channels were available (twitter, email, this blog etc) – and all input was appreciated.

Next SusChem events

SusChem will be participating strongly in the European Commission’s Industrial Technologies 2012 conference and exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark from 19 – 21 June.

The next SusChem event will be the FP7 Brokerage event on 18 September in Brussels. We look forward to seeing you there!


Photos from #SusChem2012

The 10th SusChem Stakeholder event on 17 and 18 April was filled with interesting and inspiring sessions. Here we present a small selection of photos from the event. Lots more images can be found on the SusChem website and we aim to upload all presentations in the near future.

#suschem2012 delgates
Delegates started with a coffee before an official launch of SusChem Belgium NTP and a welcome message from Prof Jerzy Buzek, MEP.

Ger Spork, #suschem2012
Ger Spork (above) of the SusChem secretariat at Cefic was the master of ceremonies for the day.

#suschem2012 Klaus Sommer
The chairman of the SusChem board Klaus Sommer of Bayer TS told the stakeholder audience that 'the future is based on chemistry'. He is pictured (above) being interviewed by Euractiv. Euractiv has produced a series of videos from the event that are available on the Euractiv website and across SusChem communication platforms in the near future.

"That's about the size of it" says Mike Pitts of the UK's CIKTN gave an entertaining and informative presentation on Critical Raw Materials on Day 1 of the stakeholder seminar. He will also feature in one of the Euractiv video interviews. Mike has already blogged his presentation here.

Rudolf Strohmeier is Deputy Director General of the European Commission's DG Research & Innovation. He made a number of interventions and presentations during the stakeholder meeting calling for a clear private commitement to the forthcoming innovation initiatives.


Friday, 20 April 2012

SusChem launches Educate to Innovate

A new SusChem programme to build innovation skills capacity was launched at the 10th SusChem Stakeholder meeting in Brussels. The Educate to Innovate programme seeks to exploit innovation outputs from SusChem’s Research and Innovation (R&I) projects in order to enhance the innovation skills of future generations of European scientists and engineers through the effective engagement of industry and higher education institutions (HEIs).

Building on SusChem related research and innovation projects and informed by reports such as the Cefic ‘Skills for Innovation’ survey the programme aims to establish a collaborative framework to enhance innovation skills capacity by:
  • capturing innovations emerging from SusChem R&I projects that could be used as case studies for the development of educational resources
  • facilitating constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas between stakeholders in industry and HEIs
  • designing appropriate 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.
Speaking at the SusChem Stakeholder meeting Neville Reed from the Royal Society of Chemistry and SusChem board member with special responsibility for education issues said: “Scientific interdisciplinarity is the key for innovation and the future chemical industry. Successful research and innovation activities will need people with a broad scientific skill set and also abilities such as good communication skills and sound understanding of business.”

New approach
The Educate to Innovate programme is a new approach and part of SusChem’s strategy to facilitate a continuing, constructive dialogue and create synergies between the chemical industry and higher education with the goal of systematically introducing key skills for innovation into HE curricula.

The ‘Educate to Innovate’ framework

In addition SusChem will be developing a good practise innovation skills database. This online resource will compile case studies of EU industry-university collaborations on course work, internships and industrial placements. It will help to show the value of context- and problem-based learning and help ensure that courses are relevant and up-to-date. Academia and industry will be invited to share details of successful collaborative innovation skills development projects.

Pilot Project
F3 Factory is a major EU FP7 project that emerged from SusChem’s Strategic Research Agenda and will be used as the pilot project for the Educate to Innovate programme. Launched in June 2009, F3 Factory is a 4-year, €30 million collaborative project involving 25 partners from nine EU member states.

How can you get involved?
If you are working in European industry SusChem is seeking input from industrial organisations that:

  • have a track record of constructive engagement with academia
  • are committed to addressing future industrial challenges through open innovation
  • believe there are opportunities to enrich academic teaching of innovation
For further information on industrial input contact Andrew Smalley at Britest Limited.

If you are working in European Higher Education Institutions SusChem is seeking input from higher educational institutions that:
  • have a proven track record of innovative teaching methods
  • see opportunities to enrich academic course materials by including case studies from leading European research and innovation programmes
  • are interested in developing new ideas for teaching course material at undergraduate and Masters level
For further information on HEI input contact Nicolas Dupuy at Université de Lorraine.

Further information
For more information on the new SusChem Educate to Innovate pilot programme download the ‘Educate to Innovate’ flyer or to find out more about SusChem Education activities and the online skills database contact Sophie Wilmet in the SusChem Secretariat at Cefic.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

SusChem Strategy: Moving to a European Technology & Innovation Platform. We want your views!

Today (17 April) the SusChem Stakeholder event will hear a briefing from SusChem board member Rodney Townsend on how SusChem is planning to adapt its strategy in response to the forthcoming European Commission Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

It is vitally important that SusChem thinking and strategy is aligned to maximise our engagement with the Horizon 2020 programme. It is critical that the chemical and biotechnological industries, that are responsible for a large proportion of total European GDP, remain at the heart of a prosperous, growing, sustainable and competitive Europe. Therefore, delivering effective solutions to the major challenges facing society requires the active participation of SusChem stakeholders across industry and academia.

The board believes that SusChem needs to move from being a European Technology Platform (ETP) to become a European Technology and Innovation platform (ETIP). This change is not just a semantic one: it requires rethinking our strategy, business plans and objectives and, where necessary, governance structures to address both the Research and Innovation challenges for sustainable chemistry along the value chain and to equip the Platform to deliver on behalf of its stakeholders throughout the Horizon 2020 Programme and beyond.

ETIP Briefing
The Briefing Paper on SusChem strategy that Rodney Townsend is presented at the Stakeholder Event can be downloaded here.

The paper covers:
  • Background and context to the proposed changes
  • Core strategic imperatives for undertaking the changes
  • Business thinking and planning
  • Governance issues
  • Business tools that may be required
  • Activities already underway
  • Deliverables, and
  • Brand and logo issues
Your feed back please!
Delegates to the SusChem event will receive a copy of the briefing document. We encourage all of you, at the stakeholder event or elsewhere, to read this document and give us your comments. The briefing document is intended to stimulate your input to the process as SusChem stakeholders.

You can send us your thoughts and comments in a variety of ways:
  • You can use the ‘Comment’ facility on this blog (below)
  • You can send a tweet to @suschem (using #suschem2012 please)
  • You can send an email to suschem@suschem.org
  • Delegates at the SusChem Stakeholder event can also use a printed feedback form if they wish
The process of change will progress during 2012 and your input is possible and welcome at any point, but we are hoping to make a first summary of feedback at the end of the Stakeholder event on 18 April – so get your first thoughts in quickly!

Specific Questions
Comments on any aspect of the strategy and briefing are welcome. However we are seeking specific immediate input on a number of key questions. These are:
  • Are the suggested strategic imperatives correct? Have we missed an essential element?
  • Are there extra SusChem unique selling points that you can suggest?
  • Are there any particular changes in the governance of SusChem that you think necessary?
  • How can SusChem make more effective use of its network of National Technology Platforms?
  • How might we change the SusChem Enabling Technology Pillars to better engage with Horizon 2020 and the wider innovation challenge?
  • Are there other tools that SusChem needs to be able to deliver the sustainable chemistry solutions required under Horizon 2020?
  • Are there more important deliverables for the new strategy that we should add?
  • Have you any comments on the new SusChem website? What do you see as the most effective form of communication that SusChem uses? What extra would you like SusChem to do in its communication activities?
We look forward to your input! #suschem2012

Chemistry & biotechnology sector unveils concrete measures to connect European innovators

SusChem Press Release

Today (17 April) in Brussels, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem), a forum that unites industry and academia, announced plans to evolve into a Europe-wide network that captures the full benefit of Europe’s strengths in research and a well-connected network for innovation in the chemical and biotechnology value chain.

Europe boasts a world-leading chemical and biotechnology sector which will make a substantial impact on future growth and job creation. While maintaining a strong research agenda, the plan aims to exploit Europe’s strengths and help bring to market products and services that will shape the lives of 500 million citizens. The keystone of this strategy lies in a collaborative approach that is open, cross-disciplinary, cross-sector and inclusive. The move comes at a pivotal time as the EU Innovation Union strategy is making major strides in promoting public-private collaborations across Europe.

Developing into a European Technology and Innovation Platform (ETIP) will equip SusChem with a broad stakeholder base to ensure that research is effectively turned into innovative products and services that will shape Europe’s future. The ETIP will function in close collaboration with public parties at EU and national levels, to effectively bridge the innovation ‘valley of death’ and synchronize actions around societal challenges.

Describing the plans, SusChem Board chairman, and Sr Vice-President Bayer Technology Services Klaus Sommer stressed that the move to become a European Technology and Innovation platform is not just a semantic one: “SusChem has built a track record of connecting key industrial partners and offering technologies and products that are vital to many industries. This very specific role across the value chain makes us forefront contributors in major European innovation initiatives such as resource and energy efficiency, raw materials, water and urban living.”

SusChem is also a leading proposer of one of the first innovation-driven Public-Private-Partnerships to be developed in the European Union: the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) initiative. This cross-sectorial proposal aims to reduce fossil energy intensity in industrial processes by up to 30% and reduce non-renewable, primary raw material intensity by 20%.

“SPIRE is a groundbreaking and one-of-its-kind proposal that combines high ambitions and strong industrial support,” explains Klaus Sommer. “Through this partnership, we could make a giant leap to enhance Europe’s competitiveness while tackling environmental issues. These tough challenges are very specific to Europe and only a united and committed approach can get us there – and the chemical and biotechnology industry is ready to play a leading role in this race”.

A necessary step to bridge the innovation ‘valley of death’
SusChem will continue to drive its research activities during Horizon 2020, a major instrument implementing the EU Innovation Union. The multi-stakeholder platform fully supports the objectives of the proposed Framework Programme for Research due to run from 2014 to 2020. However its successful implementation will depend largely on key elements such as a greater emphasis on large-scale demonstration and proof of concept testing. Only through clear partnerships along the value chain and a coordinated approach can Europe successfully bridge the so-called innovation “valley of death” and ensure its excellent research efforts are converted into world-class, competitive products and services.

About SusChem
SusChem is a European Technology Platform that brings together stakeholders from many different backgrounds to boost sustainable chemistry with a focus on technology, research and innovation issues. It was founded in 2004 by Cefic and EuropaBio.

SusChem has already been successful in promoting and facilitating sustainable chemistry research and innovation activities during the current European Commission Research Framework Programme (FP7). The platform has inspired new sustainable chemistry and biotechnology research projects that have obtained several hundred million Euros of strategic funding for over the past five years.

Visit the SusChem website at: www.suschem.org. Follow us on Twitter: @suschem

For more information contact Annie Mutamba.

Partnering for Sustainable Innovation through Chemistry

Today (17 April), over 220 participants from industry, government and academia will attend the SusChem Stakeholder Event at the Diamant Conference Centre in Brussels. But you don't have to be there to keep up with what is discussed: anyone can follow the debate and presentations and join in the discussion on Twitter using hashtag #suschem2012.

This year's theme is Partnering for Sustainable Innovation through Chemistry. Delegates will hear how sustainable chemistry can and will transform the European innovation landscape in the coming years: resource & energy efficiency, water management, raw materials, smart cities are all areas where chemistry has a key role to play through strong partnerships.

Speakers will provide valuable updates on current and future European partnership programmes, driven from the Innovation Union and Horizon 2020 objectives.

You can follow
Can’t make it to the event? You have two options to follow our live coverage online:
  • Check out this blog for periodic updates, pictures and more
    and/ or
  • Follow the tweets at @suschem

SusChem enhanced strategey - we need your feedback!
This is especially important as we need your feedback on SusChem's enhanced strategy. A briefing on the strategy will be a major part of the event programme for 17 April. Comment via Twitter (using #suschem2012) or leave a comment on the newsblog. The briefing will also be published on this blog and SusChem website during the opening session of the Stakeholder event.

And of course the conversation continues after the event... so stay tuned!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

SusChem 2012 will be Biggest Stakeholder Event

With registration about to close tomorrow (6 April) the 2012 SusChem Stakeholder event looks like it will be the biggest and best yet! With over 170 delegates set to attend it is important that those that have already registered make the most of the two-day event on 17 and 18 April at the Diamant Conference Centre in Brussels.
Consult the programme, register for activities
The final event programme is now available. You can download it from the SusChem website.

In order to smooth administration and logistics during the two days the SusChem secretariat would like attendees to complete a short form in advance of the event to let them know:
  • If you will attend both days of the event or only April 17 or 18
  • If you will attend the dinner debate on April 17
  • Which of the four stakeholder workshops you will attend on April 18 (Resource & Energy Efficiency, Water Management, Smart Cities: BuildingUp, or Raw Materials)
More information on the four workshops can be found on the SusChem website.

It would be very useful if registered attendees can submit the form before Thursday April 12.

Live Blog and Twitter coverage
Both days of the event will be covered live on Twitter and on the SusChem newsblog. Both these SusChem social media tools will allow all stakeholders, both at the event and those unable to attend, to follow and comment on the topics covered at the Stakeholder Event.

To access the live coverage keep an eye on the SusChem newsblog during the event and on Twitter follow our tweets at @suschem. If you want to make a specific comment on the 2012 SusChem Stakeholder event, please tweet with the hashtag #suschem2012.

SusChem enhanced strategy
This is especially important as we need your feedback on SusChem's enhanced strategy. A briefing on the strategy will be a major part of the Stakeholder Event programme for 17 April. The briefing will also be published via the SusChem newsblog and website on the day of the event.

Comment via Twitter (using #suschem2012) or leave a comment on the newsblog. Alternatively you can fill out the feedback form that will be distributed on the first day of the event.

The SusChem team is looking forward to welcoming you to our 10th Stakeholder Event on April 17 and 18! For more information on any aspect of the event, please contact the SusChem Secretariat.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

SusChem Espana Celebrates Young Researchers

SusChem Spain has launched its Young Chemists Awards for 2012. This is the fourth year that the Spanish National Technology Platform has organised these awards and for 2012 there are four different categories that aim to give public recognition to research by younger chemists working in Spain.

SusChem Spain launched the awards in early March with the main objective of recognising, encouraging and promoting scientific activity among young researchers in Spain. The closing date for nominations is April 9. All documentation, participation rules and conditions for the awards can be found on the SusChem Espana website.

The four award categories are called Innova, Predoc, Postdoc and Futura. The awards are promoted jointly by SusChem Spain, the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry (RSEQ), Specialized RSEQ Young Chemists Group, the Chemistry & Society Forum, National Chemists Association (ANQUE), General Counsel of Chemists and the Spanish Chemical Industry Federation (FEIQUE). The overall aim of the initiative is to foster, develop and promote chemistry both as an essential and applied science.

The 2011 Awards were an official activity of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011) and were a major success not only for the excellent quality of the work submitted but for the high rate of participation with 47 candidates showing the remarkable potential of the current generation of young Spanish researchers.

Prize categories
SusChem Awards are open to Chemists under the age of 36 and winners will recieve €1 500 each. The four awards categories are:
  • INNOVA for the best work (patent, scientific publication and/or final degree or master’s Project) developed after collaboration between one or more companies and any agent of the technology system (Public Research Institutes, Universities or RTOs). The candidate work must have been developed in the last two years in one or several of the following areas related to sustainable chemistry: Industrial Biotechnology, Reaction and Process Design, New Materials & Nanotechnologies and Waste Valourisation.
  • PREDOC for the author of the best scientific paper in any area of chemistry published during 2011 where the author had not yet finished their PhD.
  • POSTDOC for the author of the best scientific paper published in any area of chemistry during 2011 where the author had already been awarded their PhD.
  • FUTURA for the best academic record in Chemistry, or related Sciences, obtained in 2011.
Nominations in all four categories will be considered by a panel comprising members from each of the promoting organisations. The Jury’s decision will be announced before 31 May 2012.

For more information on the awards contact More information Cristina González at the Technical Secretariat of SusChem-Spain.