Thursday, 12 June 2014

#SusChem 10 Day 1: Sustainable Chemistry at the Forefront of Innovation

SusChem's 12th Stakeholder Event and 10th anniversary celebration kicked off today (June 11) at the Renaissance Hotel in sunny Brussels. Some 250 members of the SusChem stakeholder community were registered for the event. The theme of the event was 'Sustainable Chemistry: At the Forefront of Innovation: Defining the New Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda for the Next Decade.' 

Following the screening of a specially made SusChem 10th Birthday video, Dr Klaus Sommer (below) welcomed delegates and described the history of SusChem since its launch in 2004, its significant achievements - including the initiation of projects worth more than € 1.5 billion in FP7, its visionary flagship projects such as the Smart Energy Home, the F3 Factory and Integrated Biorefinery projects, and more recently the launch of two PPPs under Horizon 2020 : SPIRE and the BBI JTI.

Dr Sommer then looked forward to further success through the new SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA). He reminded delegates that: "The 3Ps of sustainability - Planet, People, Profit - are at the heart of everything that we do at SusChem."

The new SIRA would focus on providing sustainable solutions to boost competitiveness in Europe and he looked forward to another 10 years of success - starting today!

Clara de La Torre (above), Director of Key Enabling Technologies at the European Commission DG Research and Innovation continued the theme of industrial renaissance in Europe highlighting the key role of EU industry in wealth creation and competitiveness.

Two lessons had been learnt from previous research programmes: the need to take knowledge closer to the market; and that implementation of research findings was key.

"SusChem has achieved outstanding results and was a great success story," she concluded declaring: "Long life to SusChem!"

The new SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) was then introduced by Jacques Komornicki (below), Secretary of the SusChem ETP.

Jacques related the societal challenges under Horizon 2020 and the priorities in the draft SIRA to SusChem's enabling technologies. The SIRA was organised around these societal challenges.

After coffee the event split into six parallel breakout sessions with the following themes:

  • Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials
  • Biotechnologies and the Bio-economy
  • Clean and Efficient Energy
  • Transportation
  • Health and Well-being
  • Horizontal Issues

These round table sessions then discussed priorities and made a first pass of outlining potential ideas for work, including timelines etc. Discussion was lively (see the energy session above) and brought out some excellent ideas: some building on existing SIRA text and others suggesting different areas for research.

Rapporteurs from each breakout group then reported back to the main session (see above).

SusChem NTPs
The final formal session of Day 1 was on the role of SusChem National Technology Platforms (NTPs) from Cristina Gonzalez, Chairwoman SusChem Spain (below).

Cristina highlighted three main reasons for being involved or initiating a SusChem national technology platform (NTP): to help in forming the foundation for project consortia through networking; helping to influence the definition of national (and international) research and innovation priorities; and enabling stakeholders in your country - especially SMEs - to understand and participate in international research collaborations.

At the end of the day a networking cocktail was held combined with a NTP poster session featuring all 12 of SusChem's national platforms.

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