Monday, 15 June 2015

Relive #SusChem2015!

SusChem's 2015 Stakeholder event was a great success! With new exciting and interactive elements, the SusChem community put some serious work into working up future ideas for SusChem inspired projects across our portfolio of priority research and innovation challenges. The outcomes from the two-day event will move the implementation of SusChem's Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) forward. As well as generating a buzz in the conference itself #SusChem2015 made a big impact in the virtual world too. With tweeted photos and short videos the event was a #trending topic on both 8 and 9 June!  

Proceedings were led by SusChem chairman Klaus Sommer (above) with contributions from academia, industry and European Commission officials. There was also a clear focus on SMEs and facilitating their access to European research and innovation programmes and funding. To coincide with #SusChem2015, the technology platform published a new SME Funding Guide and the event ended with a very stimulating showcase involving 19 of Europe's most innovative SMEs 'pitching' their ideas and expertise to a panel of industry experts.

Breakout sessions
The first day of #SusChem2015 focused on the implementation of priorities from the the new SusChem SIRA in six parallel breakout sessions.

Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials was led by Philippe Krafft of Solvay (above) examining a wide range of material and process challenges including industrial symbiosis.

The Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy group chaired by Jens Rieger of BASF who looked at how chemistry and materials for energy storage can enable full integration of renewable energy sources.

ICT and the Chemical Industry was led by Thorsten Potter of Bayer discussing how smart processes and smart materials can deliver improved competitiveness for  the chemical industry in Europe.

The Sustainable and inclusive bioeconomy discussion was orchestrated by Joanna Dupont of EuropaBio covering challenges for chemistry along the full value chain from agriculture and forestry to new markets for platform biobased chemicals

Health, Demographic Change and Well-being was led by Rodney Townsend of the Royal Society of Chemistry focusing on modelling pharmokinetic processes to improve targeted delivery of Active Ingredients.

Finally Smart, Green and Integrated Transport chaired by Peter Nagler of Evonik debated the chemical and material challenges of clean and green mobility.

The outcomes of the breakout sessions were discussed on the second day of  #SusChem2015 in an extended panel discussion and audience Q&A.

Commission contributions
The European Commission were active across two days with word of encouragement and insights on future plans for European collaborative research and innovation. The opening plenary of the event was given by Rudolf Strohmeier, Deputy Director General of DG Research and Innovation (below).

He acknowledged SusChem's role in driving forward the research and innovation agenda in Europe and had particular praise for the SusChem-inspired SPIRE PPP. He also stated that the Commission was fully aware that if the regulatory framework conditions in Europe did not improve then industry would not invest and asked the SusChem community to contribute to the ongoing consultation on this topic in the context of the circular economy and more generally. He also highlighted a recent joint workshop on CO2 conversion technology. This could be a first step towards a possible project of Common European Interest and a 'lighthouse example' for circular economy thinking.

On the second day further insights on how the Horizon 2020 programme had proceeded so far in the 2014 and 2015 calls was given by Soren Bowadt from DG R&I (above).

Christos Tokamanis from DG R&I described Commission work in the area of materials technologies and the major societal challenges.

The Open Innovation SME Workshop was prefaced with a presentation by Catherine Eginard from the Commission's DG GROW describing initiatives for SMEs including the work of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (EASME).

Another important contribution was the final plenary presentation on 9 June: a joint presentation on the SusChem-inspired Horizon 2020 PPPs with Dirk Carrez of the Biobased Industries Consortium (above, left) and Loredana Ghinea of SPIRE.

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