Thursday, 28 February 2013

Substitute Strategy

Ensuring that European industries can access Critical Raw Materials (CRM) is a major strategic objective for the EU political and economic agenda. The recently launched Critical Raw Materials Innovation Network (CRM_InnoNet) FP7 project will start to support this objective with the creation of a strategic innovation network for individuals and organizations working on the substitution of CRM at a workshop in Brussels on 15 April. The workshop will be a ‘must attend’ event for the CRM research and innovation community in Europe.

This first strategic workshop will launch the project ‘Innovation Network’ on Monday l5 April 2013 in Brussels. The new network will provide an identity and focus for researchers and businesses with an interest in substitution by drawing together a community which contains representatives from different disciplines and sectors with a focus on CRM substitution for the first time.

The workshop is being held at the Diamant Conference complex and is free to attend, however advance registration is required and places are limited. This event will be of interest to all stakeholders in the CRM substitution field.

The workshop will include a general panel discussion to allow all participants to engage in a dialogue about the structure and mission of the network. This will be followed by breakout sessions around strategic sectors such as Energy, Transport and ICT, as well as cross-cutting application areas to allow participants to exchange ideas about the challenges and opportunities in those sectors. The draft agenda and a flyer for the workshop can be accessed here.

What are CRM?
Key EU industrial sectors such as construction, chemicals, automotive, aerospace and machinery provide a total added value of €1 324 billion, employ some 30 million jobs and depend on access to CRM.

For example, rare earth elements are essential to industrial production, particularly for clean energy options such as wind turbines, solar cells, electric vehicles and energy-efficient lighting.

The relative scarcity of CRM, together with their economic importance, makes it necessary to explore new ideas and materials that could act as substitutes to reduce the EU’s consumption and decrease the relative dependence on imports of CRM. These new routes, in which sustainable chemistry must play a major role, can only be effectively explored and achieved if coherent collaborative initiatives are in place to coordinate the efforts of the main stakeholders across the CRM value chain in order to define clear goals, strategies and benefit from potential synergies.

SusChem and sustainable chemistry has a key role in developing and producing new and innovative materials for a huge range of value chains across Europe and is fully supporting the CRM_InnoNet project. The current review of the SusChem Materials technology Implementation Action Plan (IAP) will complement and feed into the project.

What is CRM_InnoNet?
Launched earlier this month, this FP7-funded project will act to create an integrated community to drive innovation in the field of critical raw material substitution for the benefit of EU industry.

CRM_InnoNet’s main goals are:
  • Mapping of CRM substitution initiatives - to deliver a ‘top down’ sector-based approach and a ‘bottom up’ raw materials-based approach map of on-going initiatives in the field of substitution of CRM at the EU and Member State level that will allow identification of key champions and synergies.
  • Prioritisation methodology - to develop a methodology to establish clear criteria for the prioritisation of applications which are at ‘threat’ and identify opportunities considering the technological and non-technological needs for substitution of CRM.
  •  Substitution Roadmap - to propose a roadmap for the substitution of CRM in coordination and cooperation with all stakeholders across the CRM substitution value chain while paying close attention to the specificities of critical industrial sectors as well as possible synergies. 
  • Pole(s) of Excellence - to create one or more Pole(s) of Excellence in the field of substitution of CRM that will ensure the relevance and usefulness of the project results and constitute a dynamic, open and proactive platform for the entire stakeholder community. To carry out a feasibility study considering the potential models and routes for this Pole(s) to continue after the project termination and decide upon concrete future actions in this respect.
  • Policy Recommendations - to prepare recommendations, future initiative ideas and suggested actions for policy makers with the widest possible endorsement and consensus of all stakeholders involved.
The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials aims to play a major role in securing a sustainable supply of raw materials for Europe and has set itself an ambitious list of targets to achieve by 2020. CRM_InnoNet’s goals complement those of the EIP on Raw Materials and the project will seek to align its outputs with those of the EIP.

The CRM_InnoNet consortium is comprised of recognised and experienced key actors across the value chain of substitution of CRM representing academic, research and industry bodies of relevant sectors that will ensure a wide European coverage and high potential to engage other necessary players across the ERA.

More information?
For more information visit the CRM_InnoNet project website that includes a blog, news and events, down load the project flyer, or contact project coordinator Catherine Joce at CIKTN.

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