One of the main challenges to the successful implementation of the EIP on Raw Materials is to communicate on the challenges and issues around the sustainable supply of raw materials to various audiences. Although Europe boasts many universities with a long tradition and excellent programmes in the raw materials sector, knowledgeable and skilled professionals are still highly in demand. Therefore, the European Commission wishes to promote skills and employment in the raw materials sector to boost competitiveness and sustainable growth while showing the huge potential of European raw materials research, development an innovation.
The aim of the Raw Materials University Day is to attract young people that are choosing what to study in further education or future graduates and inform them about the study and working opportunities in the raw materials sector.
A series of events in various Member States is planned, with University Days scheduled for four times per year between 2014 and 2020. To date 21 universities from 16 Member States have expressed their wish to take part. The next event will take place on 12 May 2014 in Darmstadt, Germany.
The European Commission is seeking people from industry, research organisations and academia who are willing to participate in these events either as a speaker or in the event workshops. The purpose of the workshops, which usually take place in the afternoon, is to give students an opportunity to come closer to their future employers, and get a clearer picture of the working environment in the field of raw materials. In parallel an exhibition might be organised, where participating organisations could promote their activities.
Below is a video ''Raw Materials – the stuff that dreams are made of'', which was shown by European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani at the initial University Day event at Sapienza University in Rome on 6 December.
Vice-President Tajani said at the event in Rome: "Innovation in raw materials – be it in mining, processing, recycling, or substitution – holds the key to future growth and jobs. We need our young people to take up the challenge help to create a sustainable supply and use of raw materials in the EU".
For more information on the University Days events, the point of contact at the European Commission is Marcela Válková. The video is also available German, French, Spanish, Polish and Italian.
Raw materials KIC
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) launched a selection process on February 14 to set up two new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), with partners from higher education, research and business. One of the two KICs will focus on raw materials – sustainable exploration, extraction processing, recycling and substitution. The application process is open until 10 September.
"This is the first step in our expansion of the EIT, with five new KICs planned over the next seven years. We're looking for great innovators and entrepreneurs with the drive to tackle concrete challenges and deliver results. I hope that many organisations will respond to this call and join us in this exciting journey," said Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for the EIT.
Following an independent evaluation of the proposals, guided by specific selection criteria, one KIC in each field will be designated.
The KICs are autonomous public-private partnerships which bring together top-class higher education institutions, research centres, companies and other organisations committed to tackling societal challenges through, among other means, the development of products, services and processes.
The partnership for the new KICs must consist of at least three organisations, established in at least three different EU Member States. It must include at least one higher education institution and one private company.