Tuesday, 17 April 2012

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.

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