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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Key Enabling Technologies for the EU

Today (June 26) saw the launch of a new communication on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) from the European Commission. SusChem has been highly engaged in the development of KETs policy within the overall evolution of EU research and innovation policy. A strong sustainable chemicals sector will be fundamental for the new EU key enabling technologies strategy and strongly supports the concepts behind the policy.

The Commission Communication "A European Strategy for Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) – A bridge to growth and jobs" lays down how KETs can be better used to give European industry the necessary boost to keep its technological leadership and to regain competitiveness.

The communication was launched by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship. He said: Most innovative products nowadays, whether it is the smart phone or electric car, incorporate several KETs simultaneously, as single or integrated parts. But KETs can become a real job machine which we so dearly need today. Therefore Europe needs a strategy to develop and industrially deploy KETs. They will determine our economic future and enable the Union to restart growth and job creation by maintaining our global technological leadership.”

KETs - the right chemistry
Cefic, SusChem and the European chemical industry are committed to turning the KETs strategy into tangible solutions that create growth and jobs for the European economy.

Four of the six main technologies identified to strengthen the European Union’s industrial and innovation capacity are core businesses of the sector: advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

Gernot Klotz, executive director for research & innovation at Cefic, said: “It is strategic and crucial for Europe that production of KETs stays here. KETs are a cornerstone to re-energise the EU industrial policy.”

Unique position
The chemicals sector enjoys a unique position in European industry to deploy KETs in the products society needs. The industry is considered a value chain captain, engaging with finished-goods producers in Europe to deliver the latest materials that can be used, such as lightweight materials for cars, handheld devices, and better insulation in homes. The sector also benefits from a symbiotic network of small, medium and large companies that enable a wide range of innovative products and technologies.

Klotz added: “We have to avoid placing KETs in silos as these ‘building blocks’ work together to build breakthrough products. Industries like ours who will help implement the strategy realise that EU funding is limited, so it must build on the strengths of EU and national governments and the technology-driven players in that market.”

The chemicals sector has been instrumental in identifying needs and gaps in Europe and providing feedback to policymakers, especially for the final report of the European Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Key Enabling Technologies. You can read more about Cefic's approach to KETs here.

“As a high-tech sector with a strong base in Europe, we will continue to work with EU policymakers and member states to ensure this new strategy delivers on its objectives,” Klotz concluded.

For more information about key enabling technologies, visit the European Commission KETs website.

K4I on KETs
SusChem / Cefic were participants at a Knowledge4Innovation dinner debate at the European Parliament at the end of May. A video summary of the debate has now been released by K4I - you can catch up on the discussions here.

The economic impact of KETs could be considerable. The European Commission’s European Competitiveness Report 2010 indicated a global current market volume of €646 billion (in 2006/2008), which is projected to grow to over €1 trillion by 2015. The direct return on public investments in KETs is also substantial with case studies showing a four-times return on the initial investment.

You can access the Commission press release on the KETs communication here and an associated memo here.

Industrial Technologies 2012: Awards and Declarations

The Industrial Technologies 2012 conference in Aarhus Denmark was a real winner for SusChem on a number of levels. The event concluded with the signing of a declaration by a number of industrial innovation players, including SusChem, committing them to help bring Europe out of its economic woes through innovation and entrepreneurship. SusChem inspired FP6 project IMPULSE was also voted 'Best Industrial Technologies Project' at the event's Gala Dinner.

We published pictures from Day 1 of the conference earlier. Here are some photo highlights from the following two days in Aarhus.

The declaration at the end of the conference was signed by SusChem chairman Dr Klaus Sommer (third left above) on behalf of the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) consortium.

On the morning of Wednesday 20 June Michael Roper of BASF (above), a member of the SusChem Management Team, contributed on behalf of the platform to the session on critical raw materials.

And the winner is ...

The conference Gala Dinner was held on the evening of 20 June with the highlight of the evening being the Best Industrial Technologies Project awards. SusChem was represented by the IMPULSE. The project was presented by Prof Michael Matlosz of Nancy University.

Ten projects had been shortlisted for the final. All the projects were presented via a short video (see Mike  Matlosz above explaining aspects of process intensification) and an improvised Q&A session with our host for the evening Danish musical maestro Kim Sjogren (right below).

Needless to say the vote was an overwhelming victory for SusChem inspired IMPULSE and Mike Matlosz was joined on stage by IMPULSE consortium chairman Sue Fleet of Britest (right below) to receive the award.

The award was sponsored by the European Commission's DG Research Directorate for Industrial Technologies. Director Herbert von Bose (below right) congratulated Mike Matlosz and the team on the award.

Celebrations of the IMPULSE win were shared by SusChem team members and a very special thank you to Dr. Patrick Loeb of IMM who supplied a number of key IMPULSE components for Mike's 'show and tell'.

However the next morning both Sue Fleet (below) and Mike Matlosz were up and ready to present SusChem's 'Educate to Innovate' programme to the Thursday morning session on Innovation Skills.

And there was still time for a final video recording for the European Commission's official record of the conference.

More to come
During the conference the SusChem communication team recorded interviews with SusChem stakeholders and members of the SPIRE consortium. We will be posting these videos over the next few weeks.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

SusChem commits to lead Europe out of crisis!

Today, the European Technology & Innovation Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem), underlined its commitment to lead European growth through innovation initiatives, by its engagement with the bold declaration by European manufacturing industry to support innovation and address the societal and economic challenges faced by the European Union. The declaration was the climax of the European Commission’s Industrial Technologies 2012 Conference that took place in Aarhus, Denmark where SusChem took a leading role.

The declaration was signed by major industrial sectors employing over 19 million people in Europe: industries involved in initiatives such as Green Cars, Sustainable construction and Factories of the Future. The declaration outlines a path to revitalise the European economy through realising the full innovative potential of industrial technologies such as the chemical and biotechnology sectors.

“SusChem has built a track record of connecting key industrial partners and offering technologies and products that are vital to many industries,” said SusChem Board chairman and Senior Vice-President Bayer Technology Services Dr. Klaus Sommer, who signed the declaration on behalf of the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) PPP consortium. “This very specific role across numerous value chains makes us forefront contributors in major European innovation initiatives such as urban living, water, resource and energy efficiency, and raw materials.”

A proposal for huge positive impact on growth and jobs

SusChem is a leading proposer of one of the first innovation-driven Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) to be developed in the European Union: the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) initiative. This cross-sectorial proposal unites all major process industries and aims to reduce fossil energy intensity in industrial processes by up to 30% and reduce non-renewable, primary raw material use by 20%. SPIRE was the main focus of the ‘Resource Efficient Process Industries’ session at the Industrial Technologies 2012 conference and this SusChem inspired initiative could have a huge positive impact on European growth and jobs.

To download the SusChem press release, click here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Industrial Technologies 2012 - Day 1

The SusChem inspired SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy efficiency) PPP was a prominent component of many contributions at the first day of the Industrial Technologies 2012 conference in Aarhus Denmark. The SusChem stand (see below) was complemented by neighbouring booth dedicated to SPIRE and SusChem stakeholders contributed to a number of sessions.

Pierre Joris of Solvay (below) contributed on behalf of SusChem to the morning plenary session on Industry and Horizon2020.

In the afternoon SusChem board member Peter Nagler from Evonik (below) introduced SPIRE and outlined its remit and current status to delegates in the Resource Efficiency session. On 28 June SPIRE will assume a legal identity in Belgium.

Rudolf Strohmeier, deputy director-general of European Commission's DG Research & Innovation was a visitor to both the SusChem and SPIRE stands in the afternoon. He is pictured below (left) at the SPIRE stand with Gernot Klotz of Cefic.

On Wednesday evening the conference Gala Dinner will take place. The highlight of the evening will be a competition to select the Industrial Technologies project with the highest impact. The FP6 project IMPULSE (Integrated Multiscale Process Units with Locally Structured Elements) is one of the ten projects selected for the gala final and it is a SusChem-inspired project.

Project coordinator Mike Matlosz (above) is pictured preparing for a video recording where he explains the project.

The SusChem team is looking forward to Day Two at Aarhus. To keep up to date with SusChem inspired activities at the Industrial Technologies 2012 conference follow SusChem tweets via @suschem.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

SusChem at ACHEMA 2012

ACHEMA 2012 takes place in Frankfurt from 18 to 22 June and SusChem will be taking an active part. ACHEMA is the world forum for the process industry, chemical engineering, environmental protection and biotechnology and SusChem is heavily involved in the ‘Biobased World’ theme.

Biobased World is an integral part of ACHEMA 2012 and is tagged as ‘the venue where the bioeconomy becomes visible.’ SusChem is one of the organizers of a joint event – ‘European Bioeconomy: From Knowledge via Demonstration to Products and Markets’.

The conference will cover the complete value chain from the regulatory environment at EU level via the availability of feedstock and the necessary logistical integration of the agricultural and chemical industries, the holistic approach of biorefineries and the conditions for successful market entry of new bio-based products and services.

There are five consecutive sessions over the two days:

  • Part 1 – Towards a European Bioeconomy and Horizon 2020: the framework
  • Part 2 – Feedstock availability and the Value Chain
  • Part 3 – Conversion of Biomass: Biorefineries
  • Part 4 – Via Demonstration to Products and Markets
  • Part 5 – Innovative Business Models and Public-Private-Partnerships

This conference runs on 20 and 21 June and will include high-ranking speakers from European and national institutions, industry and other significant stakeholders in the bioeconomy. SusChem board member Peter Nagler of Evonik will present a SusChem overview of issues discussed at the conference from a technology platform point of view and Joanna Dupont Inglis of EuropaBio offer her conclusions and outlook at the end of the conference together with Alfredo Aguilar of the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation.

More details of the conference and registration details can be found here. The cost of attending the conference is included in ACHEMA 2012 ticket price, but space will be limited so registration is necessary to ensure participation.

BIOCHEM at Biobased
SusChem innovation project BIOCHEM will also be taking a leading role on the Biobased World by running one of its innovative Accelerator Forums and taking a stand in the exhibition area.

A BIOCHEM Accelerator Forum combines technology transfer, partnering and venture capital events in one single location: your one-stop shop for market entry in the bioeconomy. The forum takes throughout ACHEMA 2012 with various concurrent events.

The BIOCHEM partnering event matches requests and offers for cooperation and creates one-to-one meeting schedules during the event in a dedicated partnering area, while Technology Transfer Days will bring together researchers with relevant ideas with novel products, start-up companies and SMEs with the potential to develop new bio-based business, and large industrial stakeholders.

The Venture Capital event is for early-stage, high potential start-up companies looking for funding or partnering and the Teaching Class is a two-hour training seminar for entrepreneurs and their advisors to be introduced to the BIOCHEM toolbox: a set of business and other tools that can help companies assess their potential for success in the bioeconomy and point them towards success. The final round of the BIOCHEM Business Plan Competition will also be held at ACHEMA 2012.

For more details and registration please visit the BIOCHEM website. Following the ACHEMA the next BIOCHEM Accelerator Forum will be held in Bilbao, northern Spain on 19 – 21 September.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Key Enabling Technologies for Industrial Value Chain

On the evening of Wednesday 30 May 2012, Knowledge4Innovation in cooperation with Cefic organized a Dinner debate in the European Parliament to discuss the issue of Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). The event underlined the importance of KETs to European industrial competitiveness and examined the issues that might impede their development and deployment.

The event attracted representatives from the EU institutions and industry stakeholders and was chaired by Ioannas Tsoukalas, MEP. "Europe has a major drawback: we are thinking too much but not reacting and the Key Enabling Technologies are important to change this by being integrated in an effective way into the Horizon 2020 programme,” stated Prof. Tsoukalas, who opened the event.

According to Gernot Klotz, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Cefic (above), we need to focus on new business, but also strengthen the sectors where Europe is still a world leader. “The future is in advanced manufacturing and materials”, he added, “but we need critical mass and a new way of thinking – working together across Europe along value chains and between sectors”.

KETs: the future
"KETs are the technologies of the future," said Michel Catinat from the European Commission DG Enterprise. “In Europe we have excellent research assets, but we need an effective bridge to transform science into technical knowledge. Now is the right time to implement KETs, which will require alignment of priorities across institutions, adaptation and coordination of instruments."

Herbert von Bose of the European Commission’s, DG Research Industrial Technologies unit agreed saying "Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are the key instrument [to implement KETs]." He continued: "Industry must use KETs and - preferably - implement them in Europe."

Dr. Horst Soboll, Former Chair of the European Research Advisory Board, explained that KETs are connected strongly with societal challenges, but the ultimate goal must be that their benefits are understood clearly by society. Risk and innovation is a delicate balance between cost and control, but “the greatest risk for Research and Innovation is to stop taking risks,” he concluded.

What are KETs?
The Key Enabling Technologies (KETs: nanotechnology, micro-nanoelectronics, advanced materials, photonics, industrial biotechnology and advanced manufacturing) are a key source of innovation. They provide the indispensable technology bricks that enable a wide range of product applications as they feed into many different industrial value chains and sectors in heterogeneous ways.

In the KETs domain, the EU is now facing growing global competition from both developed and emerging economies in particular in North America and East Asia. Horizon 2020, EU’s new framework program for research and innovation puts a strong focus on further developing KETs with a proposed budget of €5.9 billion in the period 2014-2020.

SusChem Board Update

Three new members were recently welcomed to the board by SusChem chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer. Prof. Dr. Klaus Kümmerer succeeded Prof Matthias Beller as representative for GDCh, the German Chemical Society, and Dr. Nico Kos has replaced Dr. Louis Vertegaal to represent Dutch Research organisation NWO on the board. Dr Peter Jansens of DSM has also recently joined the board.

Peter Jansens (left) has enjoyed a career in academia and industry. He is now Director of DSM’s Chemtech Centre having previously worked with Shell and as Professor of Separation Technology at Delft Technology University.

Nico Kos (right) is Senior Manager working on international innovation programmes at NWO. He has broad experience of international collaboration and including the development of programmes such as ERA-nets and European infrastructure projects, and most recently the Euro-Chemistry initiative.

Klaus Kümmerer (left) is Professor of Sustainable Chemistry and Resources at Leuphana University Luneburg. Since 2007 he has chaired the GDCh’s Sustainable Chemistry division. He has wide knowledge of both chemistry and the ecological impact of chemicals.

Strategy role
The SusChem Board manages the technology platform’s overall strategy and activities. Its members are drawn from SusChem’s main stakeholder groups. The SusChem board currently consists of 15 individuals including the chairman and details of all board members can be found here.

The full board meets at least four times a year, usually in Brussels. In addition there are regular teleconferences and other virtual meetings of board members involved in specific tasks.

Date set for SusChem Brokerage Event 2012

The next SusChem Brokerage event will take place on 18 September 2012 in Brussels. The 2011 event saw a record attendance (see below) and the 2012 event promises to be even more popular with the participation of a number of other technology platforms and organisations.

The 2012 SusChem Brokerage event will cover the final calls under the European Commission FP7 programe and underlines SusChem's continuing support for European Commission projects on sustainable chemistry.

The event will take place at the Sheraton Hotel on Place Rogier in Brussels on 18 September 2012 and registration will open soon. This year's event will also engage with a number of SusChem value chain partners including the technology platforms EUMAT, MANUFUTURE, WssTP and ESTEP, and the European Engineering Industries Association (EU-nited).

The SusChem Brokerage event is the ideal venue to present your research ideas on SusChem relevant FP7 calls, network with potential partners or launch an expression of interest (EOI). 'Speed dating' sessions will be part of the event programme.

The FP7 2013 calls are expected to be announced officially during July. Orientation papers for the forthcoming calls were published earlier in the year for Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production Technologies (NMP), Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Biotechnology (FAFB), and Energy amongst other SusChem relevant areas.

Brokerage database
To get ready for the brokerage event and the 2013 calls visit and join the SusChem Brokerage database. There you can find out about calls, upload your profile and project details.

The SusChem Brokerage Database provides SusChem stakeholders with the opportunity to present research project ideas relating to SusChem relevant calls in the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Framework Programmes and other similar initiatives. The Brokerage Network facilitates the creation of collaborative partnerships between stakeholders to respond to relevant calls.

SusChem members can join the Brokerage Network by requesting access to the Brokerage Database through the my accesses menu. If you would like to join the Brokerage Network and you are not a SusChem member yet, you must first register here. The process is simple and free.

If you would like to have more information on the Brokerage Database and Network, please do not hesitate to contact SusChem.

And look out for the Brokerage registration opening announcement soon!