Friday, 28 September 2012
“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.”
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 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
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.
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
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'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
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
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
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.
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 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.
Monday, 10 September 2012
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.
Friday, 7 September 2012
The Agrobiobase website, developed by the IAR Cluster, is a major promotion tool for biobased products. Its main feature is the Agrobiobase database that covers both biobased chemicals and biomaterials from raw materials to finished products. But the site has a wealth of other valuable information for anyone interested in the biobased market. The site is available in both French and English. The Agrobiobase database itself covers over 250 bioproducts and is accessible for free.
Biobased products and materials registered in Agrobiobase are displayed with the producer’s details and detailed specifications of the products, including their environmental advantages.
The database can be accessed via searches of its Biobased Chemicals Database (covering chemical intermediates, additives, lubricants, solvents, surfactants etc.) or the Biobased Materials Database (including plastics, fibres, composites etc). In both cases users can find information including suppliers, a specific bioproduct, technical information (e.g. plant origin, environmental impact), and relevant articles and studies.
Agrobiobase helps provide better understanding of plant material potential and its practical industrial aspects. The database helps to identify better technical solutions and promotes networking between organisations currently involved in the biobased market and those considering entry.
Companies with products registered in the Agrobiobase have found the database is a unique showcase where they can promote their products and win over new clients.
Bio-tool As well as being a bioproduct database, Agrobiobase also offers industrial players a valuable source of other information. The website helps business people to facilitate sourcing of biobased products and to obtain key data such as the percentage of biobased material in a product, technical information sheets, and environmental impact etc..
For example the website gives access to two sets of data sheets on bio-products:
- PRIV data sheets, giving an update on plant chemistry and non-food applications including regulatory context and detailed formulation and raw material aspects.
- VegeReach data sheets, presenting plant alternatives to substances of concern, as listed by REACH regulations. The sheets describe the main components for each use and market, backed up by economic data.
IAR Cluster The IAR Cluster brings together over 220 member organisations involved in developing biobased products and technology from plant production. The IAR Cluster is supported by the French government and two regions: Champagne-Ardenne and Picardie. These two regions are areas where agricultural and industrial interests are closely intertwined giving a boost to competitiveness for both sectors. For more information on Agrobiobase email the IAR Agrobiobase team direct.
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
As well as the usual networking, presentations on project concepts and expressions of interest a significant highlight of the 2012 SusChem Brokerage event will be a session on ‘IPR Management in EU projects’ by Sabine Albrecht and Jörg Scherer from the European IPR helpdesk.
The IPR Helpdesk believes that knowing how to manage intellectual property (IP) and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is the ticket to improved innovation and competitiveness in Europe. The Helpdesk offers free, fronline support on IPR issues to participants in EU-funded research projects and EU SMEs involved in transnational partnership agreements.
At the brokerage event that takes place at the Sheraton Hotel, Place Rogier in Brussels on 18 September, Sabine and Jörg will outline the sorts of IPR issues that EU projects participants need to be aware off and to consider their consortia agreements and they will describe the services that the IPR Helpdesk can offer. And they will be available to answer your questions throughout the day.
Who will be there? Registrations are growing fast for the brokerage event. Amongst the organisations already registered are numerous universities and RTOs including the Dutch Polymer Institute, Fraunhofer Institute, Tecnalia, TNO, and VITO; and major companies such as BASF, DSM, INEOS, P&G, Rhodia and Solvay.
And don’t forget this year’s brokerage event also sees the participation of a portfolio of partner technology platforms EUMAT, MANUFUTURE, WssTP and ESTEP, and the European Engineering Industries Association (EU-nited).
Clearly the SusChem Brokerage Event is the place to be on 18 September! Register today!
Tuesday, 4 September 2012
SusChem board member and Executive Director R&I at Cefic, Gernot Klotz, has contributed his views on the benefits of participation in European collaborative research and innovation projects on the Horizon 2020 website. You can watch his video below (copyright European Commission). Today (4 September) Gernot's video is the featured interview on the Horizon 2020 site.
If you want to participate in the next wave of European research projects on sustainable chemistry, the best place to start is at the SusChem brokerage event on September 18!
Registration is open until 11 September - so reserve your place now!