Tuesday, 4 February 2014

SusChem Horizon 2020 Brokerage Success

The SusChem Brokerage event on 31 January was a great success with around 200 participants actively building useful projects and consortia to respond to the first calls in Horizon 2020.

The event was introduced by Jacques Komornicki and Padraig Naughton from Cefic before Soren Bowadt (below) of the European Commission kicked of the presentations with a description of the concepts behind the Industrial Technology calls in Horizon 2020. He called on participants to “use the calls wisely” describing Horizon 2020 as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and a chance to induce a real “paradigm shift for sectors in Europe like the process industries.”

He praised the results that had come from SusChem inspired ‘lighthouse projects’ during previous research framework programmes (FP7 and FP6) including the F3 factory and COPIRIDE projects.

Soren concluded with some tips for submission of projects including the concept of pre-registering project proposals prior to the submission deadline as this give the project some visibility within the Commission and therefore time for them to find appropriate independent experts to assess the project’s viability and impact. And, of course, not to be late in submitting the proposal – the call deadlines were fixed and not negotiable.

The first full session in the morning saw some eight existing project proposals presented who were looking for one or more additional partners. These ranged from projects on gasification technology for energy intensive users to process analytical concepts and sodium ion battery development.

There then followed nine brand new project idea proposals including biobased automotive adhesives, novel chemical reactor design and an interesting project on biobased aromatic chemicals from sugars or cellulose.

Top proposal tip
Just before a networking lunch Pablo Tello of PNO Consultants (below) gave some entertaining insights of his experience helping many projects to write their proposals. He gave many practical hints and tips, but his single most important tip was: “to ensure you grab the interest of the evaluator in first page of the proposal.”

In a short question and answer session before lunch Soren Bowadt reminded participants that under Horizon 2020 proposals needed to be fully complete. Unlike FP7 there would not be extended negotiation between project evaluation and grant. This meant that “If something is missing [in a proposal] then it is out!” He also underlined that the first page of the proposal was essential

The afternoon saw a great buzz of networking, speed-dating and individual consortia meetings. A poster exposition enabled additional stakeholders to showcase their project proposals to potential partners.

The event also saw the trial of the Evenium ConnexMe system. All registered participants had received a web address to this dynamic tool that aimed to link participants during the day and could enable networking and individual meeting/ speed dating arrangements. The system could also stream of the presentations in real time and allow participants to go back and review slides during a presentation. In addition, of course, the normal human-based meeting facilitation was also in place.

During the meeting 128 users registered with the system, 98 meetings were arranged using the virtual system and 1013 private messages were made in addition to those made through the conventional 'manual ' system.

Wrapping up the event Jacques Komornicki urged participants to make full use of the Grant-it facility (see below) to assist project preparation and to return the feedback survey on the event so that the SusChem secretariat could analyse how things had gone. You can also access the feedback survey here if you didn't have time to fill it in on the day.

Jacques also gave advance notice of the twelfth SusChem Stakeholder Event that will take place on 11 and 12 June at the Brussels Renaissance Hotel. The main topic of the event will be ‘The SusChem Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda Towards 2020 and Beyond’ and will celebrate ten years of SusChem success for sustainable chemistry.

The plenary presentations made by Jacques, Padraig, Soren and Pablo can be accessed via links on their names above. Information on all the projects presented at the brokerage can be accessed via the Grant-it web portal.

Launched in December 2013, the Grant-it portal is your ‘one-stop’ shop for information and project building tools for Horizon 2020 and a range of other financing initiatives for collaborative research and innovation projects in Europe in the field of sustainable chemistry.

Grant-it is a password protected free service offered by Cefic to its members and SusChem stakeholders to further boost industry participation in collaborative research and innovation activities.

Submitting a project idea is easy. Just log in with your SusChem username and password and click on ‘Propose a Project’ from the homepage. From there, you will be able to complete a submission form. Find out more about Grant-it here.

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