Wednesday, 10 July 2013

SPIRE and the Commission’s Innovation Investment Package

Today (10 July), the European Commission released a Communication on Horizon 2020 and public-private partnerships (PPPs): powerful tools to deliver on innovation and growth in Europe. The Communication outlines how the strengths of the PPP concept will be enhanced, contribute to generating sustainable growth, and put Europe back on track in the race for global competitiveness.

These collaborative public-private initiatives will be based on transparency, clear objectives, stronger focus on close-to-market activities, stronger industry commitment and major simplification.

Since strong industry input and commitment have been identified as indispensable elements for achieving the objectives of Horizon 2020 and the Europe 2020 strategy, and building on the experience with PPPs in FP7, the European Commission intends to engage in a number of structured partnerships for the implementation of the Horizon 2020 programme.

Along with seven other contractual PPP proposals and five Joint Technology Initiatives, the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) initiative has been acknowledged by the Commission as a mature proposal in a highly relevant area for both its industrial partners and for the strategic European agenda.

Start of a journey
Dr. Klaus Sommer (below), President of A.SPIRE Board of Directors, appreciated this announcement and emphasised the novelty of the SPIRE cross-sectorial approach where eight major industrial sectors have recognized the potential of the synergies of working together. He also recognised the essential role of the public partner in this ambitious strategic endeavour.

“We have worked very hard to come to this point and we have a long programme now in front of us, but it is our chance to work on a programme that we have all identified as being a priority. We have the opportunity to work on what drives us, which is ultimately competitiveness, resource and energy efficiency in Europe,” said Dr. Sommer. “With all the encouragement that we have received from the Commission and other partners, this is the moment in time when we can say ‘we can do it’ and we are ready to start this journey right now!”

By the end of July, the Commission will conduct their final evaluation of industry proposals against criteria established under the Horizon 2020 Regulation.

Subject to this final positive evaluation, a SPIRE Contractual Arrangement (in the shape of a Memorandum of Understanding) will be concluded between the Commission and A.SPIRE, the organisation representing the industrial partners behind SPIRE, setting out the PPP’s global and specific objectives, commitments, key performance indicators and outputs to be delivered within the period of seven years from 2014 to 2020. The Commission will aim to conclude this arrangement in time to launch SPIRE activities at the beginning of 2014 in parallel with the start of Horizon 2020.

SPIRE is a proposal for a European PPP dedicated to innovation in resource and energy efficiency and enabled by the process industries.

SPIRE’s objective is to develop the enabling technologies and solutions along the value chain required to reach long-tern sustainability for Europe in terms of global competitiveness, ecology and employment.

SPIRE represents industry’s response to real, tangible and urgent needs. Compelling arguments and a remarkable consensus exists between policy makers and industry about the need to improve the way society manages finite resources and energy. Industry has a responsibility and a unique ability to respond to these challenges and provide adapted solutions.

SPIRE will focus on three fundamental challenges facing Europe:

  • The urgent need to create growth and increase the competitiveness of Europe in the global market
  • The need to rejuvenate the European process industry that forms the basis of the European economy in terms of turnover, employment and the generation of technologies for all industrial sectors
  • The imperative to reduce resource and energy inefficiency and the environmental impact of industrial activities including the reduction of waste and CO2 emissions.
SPIRE is a ground-breaking proposal with two main ambitions for 2030:
  • Reducing fossil energy intensity by up to 30% from current levels
  • Reducing non-renewable, primary raw material intensity by up to 20% from current levels
Both these ambitions will contribute to efficiency improvements in CO2 equivalent footprints of up to 40% by 2030. And these potential improvements extend beyond ‘industry’ to all indirectly supplied and dependent economic sectors such as transport, construction, water and electronics etc.

Participative process
No fewer than eight major industry sectors have contributed to the development of SPIRE. Sectors such as steel, chemicals, minerals, water, non-ferrous metals, engineering, cement and ceramics, representing large and small companies, have joined forces and set up common aspirations for innovation in resource and energy efficiency in their sectors and beyond.

This has resulted in a practical roadmap to help ensure that EU innovation projects address the right needs and achieve the optimal impact through Horizon 2020

With SPIRE Europe can make a giant leap forward to enhance its competitiveness and sustainability
  • SPIRE is innovation and market focused
  • SPIRE represents a shift in industry mentality: actively addressing drivers of societal issues and connecting sectors across the value chain
  • SPIRE promotes new business models and encourages social innovation
  • SPIRE proposes a united, Europe-focused and cross-sectorial approach – the only way to tackle the current challenges facing Europe.
A.SPIRE is the European association which is committed to manage and implement the SPIRE PPP. It represents innovative process industries, 20% of the total European manufacturing sector in employment and turnover terms, and more than 60 industrial and research process stakeholders from over a dozen European countries.

For more information on SPIRE visit the website or contact the A.SPIRE secretariat.

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