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.

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