Thursday, 16 June 2016

Sustainable Chemistry: Innovation for Competitiveness

Today (16 June) at its annual Stakeholder event (#suschem2016) the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) will discuss how sustainable chemistry can continue to deliver  innovation for competitiveness for Europe. The SusChem Stakeholder Event is the biggest annual event held by the technology platform and brings together the chemical industry, academia, Research Technology Organisations (RTOs) and EU policy representatives to address common challenges and debate priorities in the European chemical and biotechnology innovation sectors.

SusChem Chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer (right) said: “In the context of the European Commission Innovation Strategy and the recently published action plans on the Circular Economy, Energy Union and Digitisation, this year’s Stakeholder Event will highlight the role of the European chemical industry in five innovation priority areas. These areas are Sustainable bio-economy, ICT for processes, Water, Catalysis and Processes, and Materials for Energy and were identified through intense discussions during our 2015 Stakeholder Event.”
“Progress in these areas, as an integral part of the SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA), will be discussed in two panel debates. These discussions will help us to identify new opportunities and synergies and define priorities. The outcomes will help to create a shared view between the Chemical Industry and the European Commission on future research and innovation actions in the European chemical and biotechnology sectors. This will then be quality input for the next calls under the Horizon 2020 programme and other European and national collaborative research and innovation initiatives. This is exactly the role that a European Technology Platform like SusChem should play” he continued.

What is happening?
This year’s event will include a number of exciting activities and present important new developments for the SusChem community, including two lively high-level panel debates to discuss the recently published European Commission Innovation Strategy packages: Circular economy and the Energy Union and Digitisation.

Strategic topics related to SusChem funding and its programme will be described by Rudolf Strohmeier, former Deputy Director General of DG Research and Innovation, and this will be followed by SusChem chairman Dr Klaus Sommer presenting on 'Implementing the new SIRA: Status and priorities'.

Delegates will receive updates from working groups on the five main SusChem research and innovation priorities of Water; ICT for processes; Processes & Catalysis; SustainableBioeconomy; and Materials for Energy management.

SusChem's network of National Technology Platforms (NTPs) will also present and demonstrate their vital role in the SusChem eco-system by leveraging national government funds, working with SMEs and initiating cross border cooperation. 

Plenary debates
The afternoon sessions will be dominated by two plenary discussions on Circular economy and the Energy Union and Digitisation that will bring together strategy experts from the European Commission and captains of industry to discuss the hot topics surrounding these EC packages including:
  • Identifying new challenges and opportunities for sustainable chemistry ;
  • Identifying areas of consensus that align with the priorities of the EC and the European chemical industry; and
  • Defining new ways forward to ensure that the five SusChem innovation priorities identified are systematically considered in these two new high-level policy initiatives.
 The first plenary debate will examine the “Circular Economy” and be moderated by Pierre BarthĂ©lemy, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Cefic. Contributions from the European Commission will come from Reinhard Buescher, Head of Unit 'Chemicals' at DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW), and Waldemar Kuett, Head of Unit 'Biobased Products and Processes' at DG Research and Innovation (RTD).

On the industry side the panellists are Reinier Grimbergen, Director Science to Innovate at DSM, Gloria Gaupmann, Public & Regulatory Affairs Manager, Group Biotechnology at Clariant, Anton Valero, General Manager of Dow Chemical Ibérica, and Greet van Eetvelde, Head of Energy & Innovation Policy at INEOS.

The second plenary debate will cover “Energy Union & Digitisation.” Alexis Bazzanella, Head Research & Project Coordination at DECHEMA e.V. is the moderator and panellists for the Commission are Khalil Rouhana, Director for 'Components & Systems' at DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT), Marie Donnelly, Director for 'Renewables, Research and Innovation, Energy Efficiency' at DG Energy (ENER) and Helene Chraye, Head of Unit 'Advanced Materials and Nanotechnologies' at DG Research and Innovation (RTD).

On the industry side are Jens Rieger, Senior Vice President at BASF, Henrike Gebhardt, Senior Manager Scientific Relations at Evonik Industries AG, and Nicolas Cudre-Mauroux, Research & Innovation Group General Manager (CTO) at Solvay.

Event objectives
The SusChem Stakeholder Event is an annual high-level initiative that aims to:
  • Improve dialogue between our stakeholders;
  • Identify innovation drivers for the future;
  • Present the European chemical industry as a solution provider to address societal challenges;
  • Promote a common view between the chemical industry and the European Commission to increase synergies and develop shared solutions on innovation priority areas.
You can follow the SusChem Stakeholder event using the hashtag #suschem2016 The event takes place at the Hotel Bloom in Brussels, Belgium. The full programme for the event is available here:

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