Monday, 23 December 2013

SusChem looks forward to 2014

Dr Klaus Sommer (pictured below), Chairman of the SusChem Board, talked to SusChem News reflecting on another year of achievement for SusChem during 2013 and looking forward to the challenges for 2104.

SusChem News: "What have been your main highlights of the year for SusChem?"

Klaus Sommer: “Just before the holiday season, on December 11, the Commission published the Horizon 2020 calls, these were close to the drafts on which SusChem has worked since this summer and which were the subject of our pre-brokerage event on October 23. This pre-brokerage event was very successful with a great attendance and a number of interesting proposals generated.”

“Our analysis of the Horizon 2020 work programmes has shown that many of the SusChem proposals are already being considered in the ‘Industrial Technologies’ or ‘Societal Challenges’ areas. This is the result of all the hard work accomplished on many fronts following the revised SusChem strategy and based on an active participation in European Innovation Partnerships (Water, Raw Materials, Smart-Cities and Communities), strong support to Public Private Partnerships initiatives (particularly the SPIRE cPPP and the Bio-Based Industries JTI), participation in Task Forces and the High level Group on Key Enabling Technologies and the revision of our Materials Technologies agenda.”

SusChem News: “What has been the effect of this huge effort on SusChem’s profile?”

Klaus Sommer: “All this hard work has allowed us to boost SusChem’s visibility and influence, have a true dialogue with the EU and with all our stakeholders and finally play our role as a recognised ‘ETP 2020’ Technology Platform.”

“I would like to thank all the SusChem stakeholders for the support they have provided to make this happen either by direct involvement or by providing the required expert resources from their organisations. I personally would like to thank our colleagues at Cefic who support SusChem, in particular Jacques Komornicki, for their great commitment and support. Without them, it all would not work out.”

SusChem News: “Where do you see the main focus for SusChem in 2014?”

Klaus Sommer: “Looking forward, it is very important that we confirm our engagement by participating actively in the first round of calls of Horizon 2020. For this SusChem is organizing a ‘true’ brokerage event on January 31 where project ideas can be confirmed and consortia started - first deadlines for project submission are as soon as mid-March 2014. And the new Grant-it on-line facility is also available for free to all SusChem registered members. We urge you to mobilize your respective organisations to actively participate.”

SusChem News: “How else can the SusChem community contribute to the platform’s activities in 2014?”

Klaus Sommer: “Another important effort, which is part of our core strategy, is to have the SusChem National Technology Platforms play a more active role in mobilising our stakeholders at the national level; some clear progress has been made in 2013 with the publication of our new rules, the creation of a twelfth National Platform in Switzerland and an active brokerage activity by some NTPs. In the next steps we will further involve the National Platforms in our discussions and actions. I encourage SusChem members to support the SusChem platforms in their respective countries.”

“A further short-term action for 2014 is to publish a new Strategic Research Agenda based on our revised strategy; strong support from the board and stakeholders will be needed to make it a high quality document and a cornerstone of our communication activities for the future.”

“Finally, as you will know, Horizon 2020 contains many more innovation activities than previous programmes and our chances of obtaining successful project awards will depend on the quality and preparation of the evaluators of project proposals. The Commission has recently issued an appeal for such experts – and this is an opportunity for experts in your organisations can become expert evaluators.”

More information
More information on the requirements for expert evaluators can be found here. And the registration site for experts is available here.

SusChem News wishes all members of the SusChem community an excellent holiday break and looks forward working with you during another successful year for SusChem in 2014.

See you at the SusChem brokerage event on 31 January!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

SPIRE ready to inspire in 2014

2013 has been a great year for the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and energy Efficiency (SPIRE) public-private-partnership (PPP) initiative. Three year’s of hard work culminated in the official launch of the SPIRE PPP on 17 December. To mark the event a new video has been produced (see below) and, to get ready for 2014, the SPIRE website has been refreshed.

In an end of year message to the SPIRE community Dr Klaus Sommer, the President of A.SPIRE aisbl, thanked SPIRE members and supporters for their “full-hearted support over these years and for believing in our initiative and what it can achieve not only for our industries but also for the entire European economy.”

Dr Sommer continued by praising the A.SPIRE office personnel, in particular A.SPIRE executive director Loredana Ghinea, for their “tireless efforts and their great leadership in pulling our proposal unscathed through the process. Great job!”

Great expectations
The first calls for SPIRE projects in Horizon 2020 were published on December 11. But already there had been an impressive first round of expressions of interest, especially through the first SPIRE brokerage event in October, as well at the PPP infodays on 16 December. “A lot of expectations have been raised;” said Dr. Sommer. “It is now in our hands to match them and make this PPP happen.”

He urged the SPIRE community to continue and build engagement towards designing good project proposals that have highest chances to get funded. Dr Sommer highlighted some points that people should take advantage of when designing proposals and consortia:

  • the guiding objectives and principles of the SPIRE roadmap
  • the diversity of the SPIRE community and 
  • the facilitator role of the A.SPIRE office

He also highlighted the criteria that have made the SPIRE initiative unique:

  • cross-sectorial aspects, synergies and opportunities 
  • the sustainable nature of the projects demonstrated with appropriate methodologies and tools 
  • impact across sectors and throughout the value chain, including through new business models 
  • the potential to enhance skills for innovation in the process industry through improved exploitation of innovation output from projects

These have been to have translated into the spirit of the SPIRE calls.

Expert evaluation
In addition Dr Sommer called on members of SPIRE to get involved with the expert evaluation of Horizon 2020 projects. “Given that we are exploring new territories with a more innovation-focused PPP than before,” he said “Our chances towards successful projects awards depend on the quality and preparation of the evaluators.”

Both SPIRE and SusChem are encouraging companies to take the opportunity to become expert evaluators. More information on the requirements for expert evaluators can be found here, and the registration page for Horizon 2020 experts is here.

Finally on behalf of SPIRE’s Board of Directors, the A.SPIRE office he wished all SPIRE members and supporters: “A very happy holidays, good rest and a happy and healthy New Year 2014 that will be hopefully SPIRE-busy and certainly inSPIREing.”

Thursday, 19 December 2013

SusChem Horizon 2020 Brokerage Workshop 2014

SusChem is already off the starting blocks to help make the most of Horizon 2020 for its stakeholders and the sustainable chemistry community in Europe. With the first calls for Horizon 2020 published last week and the Cefic-SusChem Grant-It website launched earlier this week, today (19 December) the draft agenda for the SusChem Brokerage and Project Submission Workshop has been published.

The SusChem Brokerage and Project Submission Workshop will take place on 31 January and follows up on the SusChem Pre-Brokerage workshop in October.

The event will again take place at the Sheraton Brussels Hotel, Place Rogier 3 in Brussels. Registration for the event is now open and can be accessed here. The workshop itself is free to attend and if you register now you can book rooms at the Sheraton Brussels Hotel at discounted rates. The offer of discounted rooms is valid until 30 December 2013. To book a room at a special rate, please click here.

The event will kick off with an overview of Horizon 2020 calls by Soren Bowadt of the European Commission. This will be followed by presentations from project consortia looking for partners with specific skills or experience. After coffee there is the opportunity for new project ideas to be presented.

Just before lunch a session on tips for boosting the success of projects submitted to Horizon 2020 is foreseen and in the afternoon there will be "speed dating sessions" and consortia meetings. An informal project poster session and networking is also planned for the afternoon.

At this event, you will be able to finalise your projects for upcoming and future calls with the support of SusChem’s Innovation Managers and EU funding experts. They will help you add the finishing touches to your proposals, complete your consortia with appropriate partners, and advise you on how to have the best chance to get your projects accepted.

Proposals via Grant-it
The workshop will be a great occasion to present your project proposals. The best way to prepare for the event is to use the new interactive Cefic-SusChem portal GRANT-IT. The portal should also be your gateway to information on all SusChem-relevant calls under Horizon 2020 and other EU and national funding schemes such as LIFE+ and COSME.

To submit your proposal you will need to log-in to the site using your SusChem username and password. Then click on "Propose a project” from the homepage. From there, you will be able to complete the submission form.

We look forward to seeing you there! For more information, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

European Commission and Process Industry sign seven year innovation partnership

Today (17 December 2013) the Sustainable Process Industry Public-Private Partnership (SPIRE PPP) was officially launched with the signature of a contractual agreement between the European Commission and the A.SPIRE association in a ceremony in Brussels.

Commenting on the signing, Executive Director of A.SPIRE Loredana Ghinea said: “This seven-year initiative is a momentous achievement for Europe’s process Industry and a major boost for the sectors’ global competitiveness and future sustainability.”

The SPIRE Partnership is based on Article 19 of the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme (Horizon 2020) Regulation and has been established through a contractual arrangement between the European Commission and A.SPIRE aisbl.

The agreement was signed on behalf of SPIRE by SusChem chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer (above) and Lionel Platteu of the European Engineering Industries Association (Eu-nited, left) in the presence of Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes and from Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn's cabinet Waldemar Kutt.

The agreement will be implemented through the Horizon 2020 work programme calls and is backed by approximately €1 billion in funding commitment from the European Commission (EC) that will be matched by the process Industry. The first calls were announced on 11 December at the launch of Horizon 2020

Boost to Europe’s industrial strength
For the first time in history eight world-leading European industrial sectors (cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, minerals, non-ferrous metals, steel and water) have joined forces to form an innovation partnership with the European Commission and jointly commit to implement a seven-year strategic research and innovation agenda to tackle three fundamental European challenges:
  • the urgent need to create growth and increase the competitiveness of Europe in a global market;
  • the need to rejuvenate the European process industry that is the roots of the European economy in terms of turnover, employment and generation of technologies for all industrial sectors;
  • the imperative to increase resource and energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of industrial activities.
Klaus Sommer, president of the A.SPIRE aisbl representing the private partners, said: “SPIRE is an ambitious PPP that takes the best of eight process industries and aims at integrating, demonstrating and validating systems and technologies across sectors. This unique co-operation will enable massive leveraging of costs and faster implementation of technologies through closer connection and integration of innovations in industry and their value chains.”

SPIRE’s offer
SPIRE will achieve its goals by investing in breakthrough technologies that will reduce resources and energy used in processes as well as industrial emissions and waste; will reuse resources and materials from end-of-life products to provide raw materials for new products; will replace current feedstock by integrating renewables or waste (e.g. biomass and CO2); and will reinvent processes, equipment and business models.

With sectors such as chemicals, steel and cement, that have significant production operations throughout Europe, the SPIRE innovation and retrofitting potential (in line with further specialisation of the sectors such as high-tech steel and specialty chemicals and combined with stricter environmental standards) is an enormous leverage base, in some cases (e.g. new process control) offering double digit replication potential.

Ghinea concluded: “We appreciate the commitment expressed by the European Union to the process industry in recognition of its vital role and potential within the European economy. The commitment and dedication of SPIRE’s private partners have been demonstrated through the articulation of a synergistic strategic roadmap; it is now high time to demonstrate that we can also make it happen.”

The realization of SPIRE is essential as it will help the European process industries to be more - stronger, smarter, and swifter - for a more competitive and more sustainable Europe.

You can view the SPIRE press release on this news here and the Cefic news release can be accessed here.

PPP Info day
More than 800 participants attended the Information days on the Horizon 2020 Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) on 16 and 17 December.

Due to the high interest, the event was also web streamed and recordings of the sessions can be downloaded together with all the presentation from the plenary and parallel sessions here.

In addition all the project idea presentations from the brokerage sessions are to be published on the websites of the Industry Associations. The project presentations can be accessed here.

The Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and energy Efficiency (SPIRE) is a contractual Public-Private Partnership (PPP) dedicated to innovation in resource and energy efficiency and enabled by the process industries. For more information visit the SPIRE website or contact Evelina Paunksnyte in the SPIRE secretariat.

SusChem presents Grant-It: your fast-track access to EU funding

Today (17 December 2013) SusChem is proud to announce the launch of Grant-it: your fast-track access to EU funding information. The site offers SusChem stakeholders access to a wealth of information on Horizon 2020 call information with an emphasis on SusChem priorities.

It is vital that European chemistry-based industry and research institutions respond positively to the opportunity and challenge presented by Horizon 2020. At the launch of Horizon 2020 on 11 December Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn stated: "Today we're firing the starting gun: only the quickest out of blocks and the fittest will succeed."

And Cefic and SusChem are here to help you to accelerate out of the blocks and succeed in Horizon 2020. During FP7 SusChem initiated and inspired sustainable chemistry projects with total funding in excess of € 1 billion.

With the first Horizon 2020 calls now published, the latest SusChem tool for facilitating your participation in the programme has been launched. The Grant-it website is your one-stop access to funding opportunities from the European Commission and from selected national and regional governments in the field of sustainable chemistry.

What services does Grant-it offer?
The Grant-it service is your one-stop shop for SusChem relevant Horizon 2020 research and innovation project information.

On Grant-it you can:
  • Search for funding opportunities
  • Search for and identify project opportunities
  • Propose project ideas, and
  • Search for potential project partners
Who can access Grant-it?
Grant-it is a password protected free service offered to CEFIC and SusChem members to boost industry participation in research and innovation activities. 

SusChem members can log-in with their SusChem username and password. Cefic members can log-in with their click-in username and password.

Visit Grant-it today
If you need a reminder of your username and password or if you experience any problems using the new Grant-it website or if you have any suggestions for improvements to the site, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

And do not forget that following its very successful pre-brokerage event in October, SusChem has scheduled a further Brokerage event for 31 January in Brussels. Don’t miss out – register today!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

SPIRE PPP to launch on 17 December

Following today's (11 December) launch of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 work programme for 2014 - 2015, that includes calls under the SPIRE PPP, this important European sustainable process industries initiative will be officially launched on Tuesday 17 December through the official signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Commission and the A.SPIRE association.

The major commitment of the European Commission to EU industry-driven research and innovation in Horizon 2020 has been demonstrated through the support for eight Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) - the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) PPP being one among them.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding will take place during  the second day of the PPP Info Days workshop organised by the European Commission.

"Innovating within the process industry will constitute the basis and the driver for the sustainable re-industrialisation, rejuvenation and renewed competitiveness of the whole European economy," said A.SPIRE executive director Loredana Ghinea.

The first 2014-2015 Horizon 2020 Work Programme has now been published. It includes eight SPIRE PPP calls: four calls in 2014 with an overall indicative budget of €60.3m and four calls in 2015 with an indicative budget of €77m.

The deadlines for the submission of projects to these calls will be:
  • SPIRE calls in 2014 – 20 March 2014
  • SPIRE calls in 2015 – 9 December 2014
Horizon 2020
The Horizon 2020 programme was launched with the announcement of its first calls by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Horizon 2020 will be the largest European Union Research and Innovation programme so far with a budget of almost €80 billion for the period 2014 – 2020.

Horizon 2020 has an enhanced focus on innovation to ensure that more of Europe’s excellent research ideas are swiftly transferred into successful products and services in the global market. This offers a huge opportunity to boost jobs and growth and increase the competitiveness of the European Union. This market-driven approach will include creating partnerships with the private sector and Member States to bring together the resources needed.

More information
For more information on the Horizon 2020 programme read the Commission's press release and visit the
Horizon 2020 Work programme 2014-2015 site. For more information about SPIRE visit the website.

SusChem “ready to roll” for Horizon 2020

Today (11 December) the European Commission’s much anticipated Horizon 2020 programme was launched with the announcement its first calls by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Horizon 2020 will be the largest European Union Research and Innovation programme so far with a budget of almost €80 billion for the period 2014 – 2020.

Commenting on the launch Dr Gernot Klotz, Cefic executive director for research and innovation and SusChem board member, said: “The chemical industry welcomes Horizon 2020 and applauds this ambitious commitment to fund excellent science and innovation activities in Europe”.

Horizon 2020 has an enhanced focus on innovation to ensure that more of Europe’s excellent research ideas are swiftly transferred into successful products and services in the global market. “This offers a huge opportunity to boost jobs and growth and increase the competitiveness of the European Union” continued Klotz.

Launching the first calls for Horizon 2020 Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn (above) said: "It's time to get down to business. Horizon 2020 funding is vital for the future of research and innovation in Europe, and will contribute to growth, jobs and a better quality of life. We have designed Horizon 2020 to produce results, and we have slashed red tape to make it easier to participate. So I am calling on researchers, universities, businesses including SMEs, and others to sign up!"

Details of the first calls can be found in this EC press release.

Chemistry is key
SusChem sees Horizon 2020 as a key turning point for research and innovation in Europe and as a major opportunity for sustainable chemistry. The funding available for all aspects of chemistry research and innovation activities in Horizon 2020 will be greater than for its predecessor programme FP7 (2007 – 2013), which in turn was greater than its predecessor FP6 (2004 – 2007).

The European Union has also demonstrated a major commitment to EU industry-driven research and innovation in Horizon 2020 through its support for significant Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs). These include the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) PPP - a Cefic-SusChem flagship programme - and the Bio-Based Industries Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) - a SusChem-inspired proposal.

Sustainable chemistry is a key enabling technology to ensure competitiveness in Europe and a vital component of almost all value chains across the continent.

Stepping up
It is now vital that European chemistry-based industry and research institutions respond positively to this opportunity and challenge. In Horizon 2020 the portfolio of funding schemes has been simplified and the bureaucracy and other barriers to participation – especially for SMEs - have been significantly reduced.

At the launch Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn stated: "Today we're firing the starting gun: only the quickest out of blocks and the fittest will succeed."

And Cefic and SusChem are here to help you to succeed in Horizon 2020. During FP7 SusChem initiated and inspired sustainable chemistry projects with total funding in excess of € 1 billion.

Following its very successful pre-brokerage event in October, SusChem has scheduled a further Brokerage event for 31 January in Brussels. Don’t miss out – register today!

A specially created Grant-it web portal – a virtual gateway to all European Union funds for the sustainable chemistry sector – will be launched to SusChem stakeholders and Cefic members next week.

The first relevant calls for Horizon 2020 are already being uploaded to this portal.

Programme details
While the main areas of SusChem interest in the early calls for Horizon 2020 can be found under the Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEIT) programme, with particular focus in those calls in the nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology (NMP) programme, SusChem experts have analysed the full programme and identified SusChem relevant topics across the portfolio of calls for 2014 and 2015. These include calls in:

All reference documents for the Horizon 2020 calls and programmes can be found on the dedicated Horizon 2020 Participant Portal.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Innovation Forum in Lithuania

From today (4 December) to 6 December the first Vilnius Innovation Forum 2013 “Innovation Drift” is taking place in Lithuania - and SusChem, SPIRE and the Bio-based Industries JTI will all be contributing. The Lithuanian capital is hosting this international event designed to create a high-level discussion platform on innovation, best practices and impact for European economic growth.

The Forum, which is part of the programme for Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, is organized by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania in cooperation with the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology.

In an extensive programme of keynote presentations, panel discussions and industry visits SusChem personalities and SusChem inspired chemical innovation will be well represented.

Innovative Europe
In the afternoon of 4 December SusChem board member Gernot Klotz will be taking part in a panel discussion on the strategic paths that industry sectors are developing to build an innovative Europe.

The panel will debate the practices of leading companies in employing innovation and creating an innovative environment for employees, customers and society. Panellists will review key technological innovations in Europe and discuss how they can enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and larger business and industry interests to address fast-paced global economic growth and achieve improved performance.

Other panellists include representatives of Microsoft, Thermo Fischer Scientific and Lithuanian government and industry leaders.

SPIRE and BioBased Industries
Thursday 5 December will see an all-day conference session on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and, of course, the two SusChem Horizon 2020 initiatives – SPIRE and the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) – will be taking centre stage.

The BIC JTI session will include contributions from Barend Verachtert of DG Research and Innovation and Kare-Rijs Nielsen of Novozymes, while the SPIRE presentations will be led by A.SPIRE Executive Director Loredana Ghinea and include a contribution from Carmine Marzano from DG Research and Innovation.

SPIRE - PPPs Info Days
If you want to find out more information on SPIRE and the other PPPs in Horizon 2020 then there are still a few places available for the Horizon 2020 PPP Information Day that is taking place in Brussels on 16 to 17 December. Don’t delay register today!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Regional partner for #useCO2 Project

The Smart CO2 Transformation (SCOT) project is supported under ‘Regions of Knowledge’ in FP7 to develop a Strategic European Research Agenda aimed at improving the technical and economic performance of emerging CO2 transformation technologies. The project was launched in October 2013 by four partner regions in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK and it now requires the participation of an additional partner (regional authority or organization supported by a region). Could this be you? 

Reducing CO2 emissions, protecting the environment and our resources, while reducing consumption of scarce raw materials are some major challenges facing society. The EU has adopted ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050. So far, most attention from policy makers and others has been paid to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies that aim to concentrate CO2 emitted from large industrial sites and store it in deep geological sites.

The SCOT project is complementary to this approach but focuses on an emerging research area with great economic growth potential: the recycling of CO2 through its transformation into valuable products via chemical or biological technologies – a topic close to SusChem and SPIRE’s research agendas and the subject of many SusChem tweets with the hashtag #useCO2 and previous SusChem blog articles.

In addition to significantly reducing net CO2 emissions, this approach brings the benefit of reducing the consumption of non-renewable resources and CO2 is no longer considered as a waste but as a significant resource.

SCOT is the first ever European regional initiative in the field of CO2 recycling. The consortium gathers four regions which are strongly committed and already well advanced in this emerging area of CO2 recycling. Through a stronger coordination of their individual efforts, the SCOT project aims to:

  • define a Strategic European Research Agenda aimed at improving the technico-economic performance of emerging CO2 transformation technologies and at developing new breakthrough solutions and market applications
  • attract additional EU clusters, regions and investors to participate in multi-disciplinary research programmes and other collaborative actions defined in a Joint Action Plan
  • propose structural policy measures to favour the transition to a new European society based on the paradigm of “CO2-as-a-resource”, and significantly improve the EU’s overall competitive position and environmental performance on the international scene. 
Partner profile
The SCOT consortium has a dedicated Work Package on internationalization and mentoring. And the new project partner will benefit from this aspect of the project. The mentoring activities will be divided into two separate sets of actions: developing research and clustering capacities in the mentored region, and reinforcing the clustering/networking capacities of more advanced regions through a mutual exchange of best practices

Such mentoring activities will be the ideal opportunity for the mentored region to:

  • reinforce its research and innovation capacities in the area of CO2 recycling, 
  • and to learn how to structure and operate an innovation-driven cluster. 

The deadline for submitting an application to join the project is 3 January 2014 and the selection will happen by 10 January.

Further information on participation can be found on this link and interested parties can find the details of the application process here. Alternatively contact Talia Brun at Axelera.

Monday, 2 December 2013

EU Chemistry Employment Survey

Update February 2014. The deadline for input for the EU Employment Survey has been extended to 28 February. To access the questionnaire (now available only in English) click here.

For more details on the the survey see below.

In which European country do chemists and chemical engineers enjoy the highest salary? Where are the best prospects for employment? And which of the various chemical sub-disciplines offer the most jobs? Getting answers to these questions is the aim of the first European employment survey for chemists and chemical engineers. The deadline for contributing to the confidential survey is 31 December 2013.

The employment survey has been commissioned by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to provide details about the current employment situation for chemists and chemical engineers across Europe and to understand future needs for post-secondary education in Europe.

The survey is open to all chemists and chemical engineers in Europe and is supported by Cefic, EuCheMS, the European Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Network (EC2E2N). The project is being coordinated and managed by the European Chemistry Thematic Network Association (ECTNA). And all chemist and chemical engineers in Europe are encouraged to take part in the survey. Chemists who are members of national societies affiliated to EuCheMS should have already received notification of the survey.

However, chemists and engineers from industry are often under represented in national chemical societies so it is important that the survey is accessible to them as well.

24 languages
The questionnaire was available in 24 European languages and all responses are saved anonymously. A valid email address is requested at the start of survey, but this is just a check to prevent misuse. The email is only stored (independently from your responses to the survey) if you want to receive the results of the survey directly when they are published in 2014.

The survey has six general pages (on Personal data, Education, Employment, on Job Training and Salary) all of which provide fields for free-text responses.

You can find the survey at National coordinators for the survey have been nominated and if you have any questions about the survey they should be your first port of call. They can be contacted via the Survey site.

The original deadline for completing the survey was 31 December 2013.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

One Million in Prizes! Ten years of LRI Innovative Science Awards

The recent LRI Annual Workshop in Brussels on 21 November was the occasion to celebrate ten years of the LRI Innovative Science award. The event saw the presentation of this prestigious award for younger scientists to its tenth recipient: Dr. Sabine Langie of VITO. Dr Langie received her prize of € 100 000 from Prof. Ellen Fritsche of the University of Dusseldorf: herself a previous winner and now a member of LRI’s External Scientific Advisory Panel (ESAP).

The Cefic-LRI award programme has been hugely successful over the past decade. The LRI Innovative Science Award was established in 2004 to inspire highly innovative and industry relevant projects in biomedical toxicology and ecotoxicology led by promisingly early career scientists.

The prize of € 100 000 has been awarded annually ever since - boosting the careers of ten younger European scientists in the challenging fields with which LRI is engaged.

This year’s award – making a total of one million euros distributed to research projects under this element of the Cefic-LRI programme so far – was presented by Prof Fritsche (below, left) to Dr Sabine Langie (below, right) of the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) at the LRI Annual Workshop.

Dr. Langie will use the award to broaden her current work on the analysis of DNA methylation patterns in the saliva of children participating in two significant birth cohort studies in Flanders. She is exploring the hypothesis that prenatal chemical exposures can alter foetal DNA methylation patterns and predispose the child to develop allergic diseases later in life.

The use of saliva is less burdensome for the children in study and easier to collect than, for example, blood samples. The ultimate aim of the study is to develop prevention strategies (including reduction of chemical exposure), particularly in children, and reduce the societal burden associated with allergic diseases.

Career boost
Reviewing the history of the award Prof. Fritsche, who won the award in 2006, described the prize as: “Nitromethane for an Early Career – the LRI award was a big accelerator for my career - a rocket!” This view was echoed by contributions from other awardees over the years.

Dr Roman Ashauer of York University won the award in 2007 and says: “The Cefic-LRI Award allowed me to pursue my own ideas. It was motivation, encouragement and the crucial bit of extra fuel in the tank to push the envelope.”

Similarly Prof Paul van den Brink of Wageningen University, the winner in 2005, commented: “The award gave me the first sense of academic freedom. It was a real push to my career and opened doors for further funding.”

The first ever winner of the award in 2004 Prof Roger Godschalk of Maastricht University is still feeing the effects of the award saying: “With the LRI-award, I was able to put my ideas into practice. It eventually evolved in to my own research line at our institute, which I can continue to build even 10 years after winning the CEFIC LRI-award.”

“Winning this award has been a pivotal factor in my research and professional career. It has allowed me to create my research group, managing my own research budget and having two PhD students working alongside me in the project,” said 2010 winner Dr Maria Saborit of Birmingham University.

Data mining
Delegates to the LRI workshop also got an update on the work of 2012 winner Dr Andreas Bender of the University of Cambridge who is looking to determine biologically relevant effects of compound exposure by chemical, biological and phenotypic data integration.

The in-silico prediction of in-vivo toxicology of a particular compound is a non trivial problem due to the lack of direct correlations between structural features and toxicity. However chemical, protein target and phenotypic data provide complementary bioactivity data and Dr Bender’s work is based on the hypothesis that more accurate toxicity predictions could be made by integrating these data. His core expertise is in data mining and the research has had success in predicting likely protein targets for compounds based on their structure in areas such as mode of action analysis, modelling of bioactivities, natural products and traditional medicines.

The performance of the model algorithm used is increasing all the time and Dr Bender is looking to the ultimate objective of automated prediction of targets given only their chemical structure. These techniques will be useful in future personalised medicine scenarios and he has recently received a € 1.5 million ERC Starter Grant to extend the work towards bioactive mixture modelling.

More information
Details of the next LRI Innovative Science Award will be released in early 2014. The focus of this eleventh competition will be in one of the environmental areas of research covered by LRI. For more details keep an eye on the Cefic-LRI website and to find out more about all previous winners click here.

Monday, 18 November 2013

SusChem Horizon 2020 Brokerage: 31 January 2014

It has just been announced that SusChem will be running a Brokerage and Project Submission Workshop on 31 January 2014 at the Sheraton Brussels Hotel. This event will help SusChem stakeholders further progress their collaborative efforts in project building for Horizon 2020 and follows up on an overwhelming request for further brokerage activity early in Horizon 2020 in the feedback from our very successful pre-brokerage event in October.

The venue for the January Brokerage and Project Submission workshop will be the Sheraton Brussels Hotel at Place Rogier 3 in Brussels.

In December the first calls for Horizon 2020 will be published and it will be time to finalise partners for projects and develop your proposals. So join SusChem on 31 January to complete your project plans for the upcoming and future calls with the support of SusChem’s Innovation Managers and EU funding experts.

31 January will be the perfect occasion to move forward with your ideas and projects for Horizon 2020!

Pre-Brokerage Presentations 
If you would like to see highlights, including a presentation on Horizon 2020 by Søren Bøwadt, Programme Officer in the Directorate for Industrial Technology at the European Commission's DG Research and Innovation,  from the successful Pre-Brokerage event please click here.

And watch out for further details and how to register in December. Details will be published here and on the SusChem website. Demand for this event will be high so block the date today!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

EcoMondo 2013 hosts European Platforms for Innovation and Sustainability

Last week (6 to 9 November), SusChem and SPIRE were presented as part of the new European initiatives to enable and facilitate sustainable growth at EcoMondo 2013. This is one of the largest events in Southern Europe for the exploitation and recycling of materials and for the development of the Green Economy in Europe.

EcoMondo is one of the largest trade fairs in the sector and the event took place in Rimini, Italy. It is one of the most accredited platforms in southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin with regard to innovation in sustainable development, with an equal focus on new technologies and best practice and on the uptake of new markets. The event’s ambition is to facilitate the key elements of a sustainable economy in Europe including  industrial research, more cooperation between the public and private sectors, funding, new quality standards and not only more, but also better, outreach to the European public.

The event traditionally prioritizes those areas where significant progress can be achieved at a pan-European level. This year’s conference focused, among others, on key areas of innovation for SusChem such as treatment of waste water, bio-based industries and smart cities. Nonetheless, EcoMondo 2013 also invited panellists and speakers to discuss a broader array of topics including waste management, clean-up of contaminated soil and air pollution.

SusChem: An EU and National approach 
SusChem’s brokerage activities and projects have already been gathering stakeholders and interested parties to deliver real innovation in areas of interest at EcoMondo. Antonia Morales Perez (right), CEFIC Innovation Manager and a member of the SusChem secretariat, introduced the EcoMondo audience to the many tools and opportunities available through SusChem.

Antonia’s presentation highlighted the importance of the SusChem network that was able to reach into many Member States. SusChem’s National Technology Platforms (NTPs), already present in 11 European countries and with Switzerland soon joining, offer a unique structure to support SusChem’s work for Europe 2020 with a joint European vision firmly rooted in national strategies through localized networks of industry and academia. Practically that translates into supporting the engagement of SusChem’s national members in transnational collaborations in EU collaborative projects and programmes like FP7 and the forthcoming Horizon 2020 calls.

During the meeting Antonia was interviewed in Spanish about SusChem activities. Her interview can be viewed below.

The key role of NTPs in the implementation of the SusChem strategy and action plans was highlighted, particularly in reference to developing Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas, including identification of skill requirements and regulatory barriers and encouraging industry participation in Horizon 2020 through active cooperation with partnerships in Member States.

Inspiration for SPIRE
EcoMondo was also the venue where the audience were able to appreciate the innovative approach of the SPIRE Public-Private Partnership. Loredana Ghinea (right), SPIRE’s Executive Director, explained how the value-chain of the process industry has come together to initiate a collaboration with the European Commission for a new systematic approach throughout the complete production cycle to ensure radical resource and energy efficiency.

Loredana explained how realizing the SPIRE vision means reducing the use of feedstock and emissions, re-use of energy and resources between different parties in the value chain, replacing current feedstock with renewable sources –including sources such as CO2. This can pave the way to re-inventing the whole interaction among all the technologies used in the value-chain of the process industry.

Find out more about SPIRE here.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

SusChem Chairman shares view on how to boost EU growth

Dr Klaus Sommer, Chairman of the SusChem board and President of A.SPIRE aisbl - the legal entity backing the SPIRE PPP, has put his views on what is needed to exit the economic crisis and help Europe's economy to grow as part of a series of video testimonials on the Horizon 2020 website. You can watch his video below. If you get an issue with playback (may not work with iOS) you can also access the video here.

Dr. Sommer said: "I think in Europe we have one disadvantage, and that is actually beginning with an advantage. The advantage is that, in research, we produce great results: we're very competitive in basic research and in fundamental inventions. But the issue is that we are not as good in turning this into commercially successful results. And this has been referred to as the 'valley of death' a couple of times, which means that we cannot take these results to something commercially viable. So I think Horizon 2020, with its focus on demonstration and piloting, will give us a great opportunity to take some of these results to something that business people like and build businesses on and make money with."

To find out more about SusChem visit our website and more information about the SPIRE PPP can be found here

PPP information days 
Information Days on the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) under Horizon 2020 are being organized by the European Commission on 16-17 December, 2013, at the Charlemagne Building, Brussels. Central to this event will be the presentation of the first research and innovation call topics for the SPIRE PPP under Horizon 2020. More information on the SPIRE session in the event will be available shortly, but registration to the event is open now.

The Information Days with cover the four research contractual PPPs envisaged under Horizon 2020: Factories of the Future; Energy-efficient Buildings; Green Vehicles; and Sustainable Process Industries.

On the first day of the meeting a plenary session is planned for the four cPPPs and then parallel workshops for each PPP focusing on the presentation of their new Multi-annual Roadmaps, opportunities in the calls included in the 2014-2015 Work Programme for Horizon 2020 and brokerage activities.

On the Tuesday (17 December 2013) a second plenary session for the PPPs is foreseen with contributions from Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Neelie Kroes, EC Vice-President and Commissioner for Digital Agenda.

The programme also includes a final assessment of the first three Research PPPs established under the Recovery Plan, reports on success stories in the domains of the four PPPs, and a roundtable discussion on the expected impact of the PPPs.

ICIS Innovation Awards 2013 Result

The winners of the ICIS Innovation Awards for 2013 have been announced. The awards were launched in 2004 and celebrated their tenth anniversary this year. The overall winner is selected from the winners of five individual categories (see below) and for 2013 the winning company is the Cabot Corporation

“Energy efficiency and bio-based materials technologies were very much to the fore in this year’s ICIS Innovation Awards,” said John Baker of ICIS. “Of the 12 shortlisted entries, no fewer than half offered innovations in these two areas.”

The awards have grown in popularity with each succeeding year and SusChem has been proud to have contributed to the competition’s judging panels on many occasions. This year SusChem coordinator Jacques Komornicki was part of the panel.

SusChem believes that innovation is a key driver for growth and profitability in the chemical sector. And The ICIS Innovation Awards are designed to reward innovation, environmental advances and sustainability in the global chemical industry.

Smart Cities, smart materials
Cabot Corp received the award for its aerogel technology that can dramatically increase insulation in building and construction. The overall winner was unanimously selected by the judging panel of six innovation experts. The company also won the award for Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit.

Innovations like the Aerogel materials (see above - image from ICIS) developed by Cabot offer huge potential to improve the insulation values of a whole range of building materials and are typical of the type of chemical innovation that SusChem has been highlighting recently for the built environment.

Chemistry lies at the heart of the built environment in every city providing the fundamental building blocks for new advanced materials for housing such as smart coatings and insulations that are making houses, offices and factories more energy efficient and form the basis for the ‘Smart Cities’ of the future.

The Chemical Industry is already heavily engaged in this area and has offered five concrete solutions for Chemistry-based initiatives for energy efficiency in buildings, which were selected as top key innovation by city officials at the recent Smart Cities and Communities Stakeholder Platform conference.

Other category winners in the ICIS Innovation Awards 2013 were:

  • Solvay Aroma Performance for Best Product Innovation for Govanil: pioneering the new reference of vanilla flavours
  • Renmatix for Best Innovation by an SME with its advances in sugar conversion technology using supercritical hydrolysis to provide an economical bridge between upstream and downstream biochemicals
  • Virent for Best Innovation for Sustainability with its process to convert plant sugars to paraxylene for renewable, recyclable packaging and fibres, and
  • Archroma (until recently part of Clariant) for Best Business Innovation and its “One Way” sustainability service.

You can find full details of all the winning entries and the shortlisted innovations in each of the categories in a 16-page special ICIS publication celebrating the winners and chemical innovation in general.

What are the ICIS awards?
The annual awards are open to any chemical company or collaborative effort between industry and academia anywhere in the World. The judging panel looks for innovative projects that solve problems or provide solutions for the company or its customers or that demonstrate an innovative approach to business, the environment and sustainability.

In 2013 there were five prize categories:

  • Best Product Innovation
  • Best Innovation by a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME)
  • Best Business Innovation
  • Best Innovation for Sustainability
  • Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit

For more information about the ICIS Chemical Business Innovation Awards visit the website or contact John Baker at ICIS.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Value4Nano Survey Needs Your Input

The recently started Value4Nano project is looking for your input to help foster the responsible development of nanotechnologies, products and services in the European Union. To help guide the project it has just launched a survey covering issues, uses and technical and market development in the sector. 

The Value4Nano project is a Coordinated Support Action funded by the European Commission under FP7 with the aim of delivering recommendations for future programme topics in the area of nanotechnologies. The full name of the project is “Industrial valorization of strategic value chains for nano-enabled products.” The project is funded for two years from September 2013 to August 2015.

The survey consists of a short questionnaire and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and share your experience of the sector. The closing date for the survey is 20 December 2013.

What is Value4Nano?
The Value4Nano project aims to develop an Implementation Roadmap for four value chains and their target products. The Roadmap will include business modelling and planning for a set of pilot lines and it will involve strategic industrial and other stakeholders.

The four target value chains and their target products are:

  • Nano and micro printing for industrial manufacturing
  • Nano-enabled, depollutant and self-cleaning surfaces
  • Manufacturing of powders made from functional alloys, ceramics and intermetallics
  • Lightweight multifunctional materials and composites for transportation

To keep up to date with Value4Nano project developments, events and Calls for Experts visit the project website where you can download a short flyer on the project. Alternatively contact the project coordinator Margherita Cioffi.

Latest CRM_InnoNet Newsletter published

The SusChem-supported FP7 project the Critical Raw Materials Innovation Network (CRM_InnoNet) has just published its latest newsletter. The project aims to support Europe’s strategic objective to ensure security of supply for the vast range of critical raw materials required by European industries through alignment of research, development and innovation efforts towards substitution of critical raw materials that will secure existing value chains and lead to new applications and markets.

This fourth project newsletter profiles project partner Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research and highlights the recent publication by CRM_InnoNet of a set of “raw material profiles”.

The newsletter also features the European Raw Materials Information and Brokerage event that is happening on 13 November and the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials First Annual Conference taking place on 5 December, together with an overview of CRM_InnoNet’s recent impact and activities and other ‘hot news’ from the sector.

More information
The CRM innovation Network has four main objectives:

  • To catalyse the European innovation community in the area of substitution and create synergies
  • To share information
  • To promote best practices 
  • To identify innovation pathways

To register your interest to the Innovation Network, please visit the project website. For more information about SusChem and Cefic’ involvement with the project, contact Antonia Morales Perez at Cefic.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

EIP Raw Materials Annual Conference Taking Place in Brussels in December

The European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (EIP RM) has announced its Annual Conference, the first one since its creation in September 2013, which will be held at the SQUARE Meeting Centre (Room Copper Hall) in Rue Ravensteinstraat 2 in Brussels on 5 December 2013.

The aim of this annual conference is to present the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the Partnerships while discussing financial instruments to support the "Raw Materials Commitments" and fostering networking in the Raw Materials community.

The EIP on Raw Materials aims to provide Europe with enough flexibility and alternatives in the supply of important raw materials, whilst taking into account the importance of mitigating the negative environmental impacts of some materials during their life cycle. Its objective will be to make Europe the world leader in the capabilities related to exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution by 2020.

The EIP is now moving to its implementation phase: the first goal is to involve a very large number of partners across the European Union and the entire raw materials value chain that will carry out actions contributing to the objectives of the EIP. This is why the European Commission will soon launch an open call for commitments by stakeholders in the private, public and non-governmental sectors including academia. It is anticipated that the call will trigger a number of individual raw materials commitments, where the partners jointly commit to co-operate and take actions that will contribute to achieving the objectives of the SIP, in the different action areas.

Raw materials are one of SusChem's priorities and the chemical sector has contributed to the Europe’s Raw Materials strategy with its input and expertise. SusChem and Cefic share the aims of the EIP and have contributed to the development of both the SIP and of the EIP

The Annual Conference will be the best occasion to form strong links with the many actors working with raw materials while ensuring that the common goal of strengthening Europe’s global position in raw materials. 

The Conference will include a poster session where the stakeholders will be able to present their priorities relevant to the EIP or to search for partners who could be interested in similar projects within the EIP priorities.

The draft agenda can be downloaded here

Registration for the conference is available here