Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Commission announces multi-billion Innovation Investment Package

Today (10 July) the European Commission presented a multi-billion Euro investment package to boost research and innovation in sectors that are crucial to Europe's economy and society. The package is anchored by a portfolio of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in crucial economic and industrial sectors and includes two PPPs that are of significant interest to SusChem: SPIRE and BRIDGE.

Views on the Innovation Investment Package (IIP) from both BRIDGE and SPIRE can be found in two related SusChem blog articles. These two ‘SusChem inspired’ partnerships will work closely together to support each others objectives wherever possible.

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said: "The EU must remain a leader in strategic global technology sectors that provide high quality jobs. This innovation investment package combines public and private funding to do just that. This is a perfect demonstration of the leverage effect of the EU budget for growth and jobs."

Overall, a proposed €8 billion investment from the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, will secure around €10 billion from industry, and close to €4 billion from EU Member States.

Announcing the package European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (pictured left with Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President in charge of the Digital Agenda) said: "These initiatives not only strengthen our economy, they are an investment in a better quality of life. Working together will enable us to tackle issues that no one company or country can deal with alone."

Chemistry crucial
Several of the PPPs put strong emphasis on innovations in the chemical sector as the basis for keeping and creating jobs and growth in Europe. This goes hand in hand with several billion Euros of investment from the private sector. Areas such as new processes, increased use of renewable feedstock, recycling and re-use, new applications like new materials for ICT and mobility and the integration of various Key Enabling Technologies are at the centre of their strategic agendas.

Gernot Klotz, Cefic executive director for research and innovation, said: “The Commission initiative is a major step forward sending a clear positive signal for the process industries to establish innovative approaches that will spur European competitiveness. We take pride in being founding fathers of both PPPs [SPIRE and BRIDGE] that have now strong strategic research and innovation roadmaps and are ready to start. I believe that they will demonstrate the commitment of our industry to create added value for Europe; the commitment that the public sector is showing today paves the way for a more confident European environment for investment and growth.”

Working on new solutions to promote competitive bio-based value chains with a strong impact on rural development is part of the Bio-based industry PPP: BRIDGE (Bio-based and Renewable Industries for Development and Growth in Europe).

The Sustainable Process Industry PPP: SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency), brings for the first time together innovative companies from eight industrial process industry sectors committed to innovate not only within their current frames but also to explore synergies between them in areas such as energy use, water, renewable feedstock and process optimisation that are essential for their efficiency and competitiveness.

Klotz added: “These new PPPs set as top priority the need to cross the valley of death from research to the marketed solutions our society needs. We must jointly act fast and efficiently to face the challenges of global competition and sustainability goals.”

IPP background
Funding from the next EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, will look to leverage additional money from industry and EU Member States through partnerships that can provide solutions to major challenges to society such as reducing carbon emissions, improving resource and energy efficiency or providing new sources of the materials and fuels that we need.In total the IIP represents some 22 billion Euros of investment over the next seven years.  These PPPs will also help increase the competitiveness of EU industry, including SMEs, and create new jobs in fast growing and emerging sectors.

The Innovation Investment Package (IIP) also includes proposals to pool resources with EU Member States to develop new treatments against poverty related diseases; to development measurement technologies for industrial competitiveness; to support high technology SMEs; and to provide solutions for the elderly and disabled to live safely in their homes.

The importance of PPPs has been clearly identified in the Innovation Union and Industry Policy flagship initiatives, and the legislative proposals for Horizon 2020. Some public-private partnerships, called Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI), were introduced under FP7.

New legislative proposals were needed for these to be established under the next EU research and innovation programme: Horizon 2020. The proposals will now be submitted to EU Member States and the European Parliament in the context of the overall proposals for the Horizon 2020 programme.

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