Friday, 5 May 2017

Are you the Most Innovative European Biotech SME?

SusChem founding partner EuropaBio is inviting small and medium sized biotech companies (SMEs) across Europe to apply for the 8th edition of its Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award: a unique annual initiative recognising biotech innovation and its contribution to society. SMEs interested in entering the competition are invited to apply by 26 June 2017 via the awards dedicated website.

Three categories are available for entry: healthcare, agricultural or industrial biotechnology. Applications must be submitted online at biotechSMEawards.eu by close of business on 26 June and two companies will be shortlisted in each category by a jury of biotech experts.

The winners will be celebrated during a landmark event for SMEs to held in early October. Each winner will also receive a €10 000 prize and two years free membership of EuropaBio.

In order to be considered for the EuropaBio SME awards a company must qualify as an SME under the standard EU SME definition: the company's primary location of operations must be within Europe, it must employ 250 or less staff, and its annual turnover must be €50 million or less.

Why SMEs?
According to the European Commission, “small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe's economy. They represent 90% of all businesses in the EU. In the past five years, they have created around 85% of new jobs and provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU.” 

In other words, SMEs matter and their leaders in innovation should be recognised and rewarded.

Biotech exemplifies the way in which science and scientific breakthroughs can be applied to respond to society’s current challenges. From new therapies that can address unmet medical needs and fight epidemics and rare diseases, to industrial processes that use renewable feedstocks instead of crude oil, to drought-resistant crops that allow farmers around the world to feed more people under unpredictable climatic conditions, biotechnology pays significant economic, social and environmental dividends.

The awards have become one of the main initiatives in the European biotech calendar, with almost 200 SMEs competing over the years. The success stories from previous winners can be read online at biotechSMEawards.eu.

The jury
The expert jury are all involved in biotech and understand the science, the funding realities and the regulatory and political frameworks in which European biotech SMEs operate. They appreciate the potential of innovation and SMEs for Europe’s future, and they will carefully analyse each application to select the nominees. The jury includes:
  • Peter Heinrich, Chairman of German national biotech association BIO Deutschland and Managing Director of Sinfonie Life Science Management GmbH, Planegg.
  • Frank Bulens, member of the Management Committee and Board of Directors of Capricorn Venture Partners. He is active in diagnostics, therapeutics and medical devices as well as digital health-tech for the various Capricorn funds that are investing in these areas.
  • John Brennan, the new Secretary General of EuropaBio, who takes up his post from 19 June 2017, with over 25 years’ experience both on the regulatory and the industrial sides of the healthcare industry.
Further jury members will be announced before the summer.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Water in the Circular Economy: Innovations for Urban Water Treatment

The FP7 project R3Water (Reuse, Recovery and Resource Efficiency: Innovations in Urban wastewater treatment) will be holding its final conference on 30 May 2017 in Brussels. The conference will provide participants with detailed information on the innovations for urban water treatment developed in the project.

The final R3Water project conference entitled ‘Water in the circular economy – innovations for urban water treatment’ will take place from 10:00 on 30 May 2017 at the Representation of the State of Hessen to the EU, 21 Rue Montoyer, 1000 Brussels.

As well as presentations related to the developments made during R3Water, several keynote speakers will give insights on the reuse of water, resource recovery and resource efficiency in urban waste water treatment.



More about R3Water
The R3Water project was funded under the European Commission’s FP7 programme and started in January 2014 for 42 months with a budget of EUR 7.8 million.

Wastewater treatment plants are usually regarded as facilities to avoid emissions from wastewater. Current research and development shows that these plants can be converted and upgraded into production units to provide energy, nutrients, water for re-use and possibly other valuable outputs. This is achieved by improved resource efficiency in the plant as well as through the use of new technologies and business models that allow the re-use of resources from the incoming water.

The main objective of the R3Water project is to demonstrate solutions that support this transition from a treatment plant for urban wastewater to a production unit for different valuable products.

The project consortium, coordinated by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, brings together 12 technological partners from seven European countries.

More information about the R3Water project can be found on the project website and in its brochure.

Friday, 28 April 2017

'Industry Water: From Single Use to Integrated Management' Workshop

On 20 April, the WssTP and SusChem European Technology Platforms jointly hosted a successful and well-attended workshop on ‘Industry water: from single use to integrated management’ in Brussels.


The workshop succeeded in gathering challenges and perspectives on the management of smart industrial water reuse and featured contributions from the European Commission and the sector made by both “problem owners” and “solution providers”, and with a final insight on the holistic and systemic structure (Smart Governance and Digital Water) which addressed the challenges for discovering and exploiting the true Value of Water as highlighted in the WssTP Vision document.

For WssTP the Value of Water highlights the crucial role of water for our economy, industry, society, nature and citizens and foresees a future digitally connected water-smart society that works with waters of different qualities that are appropriate to their use.

SusChem sees fresh water as a scarce resource and a critical element for sustainable development of society. Water is a priority area for SusChem and it is pursuing specific topics with the overall aim of decoupling economic growth from actual water use.

Outputs for action 
The workshop produced tangible outputs through a final parallel breakout session that developed and proposed content, gaps, strengths and needs of the four pillars of the Value of Water vision:

  • Modelling and Analysis
  • Big Data
  • Smart Governance, and 
  • Sensor Networks.

This final session built the basis for an action plan to bring the outcomes of the workshop to the European Innovation Partnership for Water (EIP Water) Conference, which will be held in the city of Porto in the week of 25 September 2017. A group of participants from the workshop will support the further development of the outputs for final presentation at the EIP Water Conference. A list of action derived from the joint workshop will drive the content of a follow-up workshop that will take place during the EIP Water Conference.


The outputs and challenges identified for each pillar of the Value of Water are briefly described below:

Sensor Networks
Sensor development provides a unique opportunity for enhancing the Value of Water. Advanced sensor development is required to ensure continuous understanding and control of water quality. Handling of dynamic water systems requires advanced sensors. Full implementation, reliable operation costs and maintenance are important.

Big Data
Identifying the value of the water system in generating and creating data is central to its economic value. The creation of a resilient basis for cyber security and privacy legislation is necessary, as no holistic overview currently exists. Links between data silos and pockets of data should be established and prioritized.

Modelling and Analysis
Many models for enhancing water management exist in academia or within RTOs. But these methodologies need to be brought into context before moving to the next pilot phase. It is necessary to identify models and tailor them to the requirements of users in order to develop more efficient  water systems, while observing the interactions and implications.
 
Smart Governance
Smart governance models vary from region to region. The selection process for an appropriate governance design requires extensive consideration. Education and communication is crucial for its successful understanding and implementation.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact the WssTP secretariat.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

SusChem 2017 Registration - Lets do it!

Our most influential annual event – the SusChem Stakeholder event – is now open for registration. The 2017 event takes place on 8 June at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels and will bring together global audiences, senior players from the chemical industry, academia, research technology organisations (RTOs) and EU institutions to address common challenges and debate priorities crucial to the sustainability of the European chemical and biotechnology innovation sectors. This year’s theme is ‘Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe: Shaping expectations and priorities for the next EU Framework Programme’.

Registration is easy. Cefic Innovation manager and member of the SusChem secretariat show you how the registration launch happened - and how to sign up for the sustainable chemistry event of the year!


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Registration for SusChem Stakeholder event 2017 is open!

Our most influential annual event – the SusChem Stakeholder event – is now open for registration. The 2017 event takes place on 8 June at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels and will bring together global audiences, senior players from the chemical industry, academia, research technology organisations (RTOs) and EU institutions to address common challenges and debate priorities crucial to the sustainability of the European chemical and biotechnology innovation sectors. This year’s theme is ‘Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe: Shaping expectations and priorities for the next EU Framework Programme’.


In the morning plenary presentations will be given by Peter Droell, Director at DG Research and Innovation for Industrial Technologies and Dr. Klaus Sommer, Chairman of the SusChem Board and the SusChem communications team will also present the SusChem rebranding project.

Breakout sessions
Participants will then split into three parallel breakout workshops. There will be two sessions held either side of the morning coffee break and delegates will be asked to select two of the three topics at registration.

The three breakout session topics are:

  • Defining success factors for EU funded projects to optimise innovation impact and value for Europe How can we maximise the market uptake and impact of EU funded project results by examining success learnings from projects? Exemplary projects will share relevant success factors and critical learnings and all stakeholders will have an opportunity to share their views on collaborative projects and how they can be designed to optimise impact.
  • SME’s as a driver of the EU innovation ecosystems: How can we stimulate market-creating innovation through SME funding? Chemical and biotechnology SMEs are key enablers of innovation. This breakout session will try to identify the right mechanisms and ways to enhance their engagement in European public funding.  The session will examine current policies drivers, funding requirements and barriers to the commercialisation of SME innovation.
  • Shaping funding instruments to accelerate innovation and competitiveness in Europe Competitiveness relies on the capacity to create added value.  In this breakout session we will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the design and structure of EU innovation funding instruments by sharing experiences with Horizon 2020. Together, we will identify a short list of ideas and recommendations for the EU Commission in the evolution and design of the next EU Framework Programme.

FP9 debate
After lunch SusChem stakeholders will receive updates from our National Research Platform (NTP) network and feedback from the breakout sessions before a high-level panel discussion that will examine how to accelerate innovation and deliver impact in the upcoming Framework Funding Programme (FP9).

The panel will be moderated by Cefic Director General Marco Mensink and will feature contributions from Prof. Michael Matlosz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the French National Research Agency (ANR), Cosimo Franco, CEO of Endura, Angels Orduña, the SPIRE PPP Executive Director, Ulrich Kuesthardt, SusChem Board Member and CIO at Evonik, and Kurt Vandenberghe, Director for Policy Development and Coordination at DG Research and Innovation.

Following a summing up of the day’s activities and outcomes, the SusChem Stakeholder event 2017 will conclude – as ever – with a networking cocktail reception.

For more details, please visit the event website or register direct by clicking here. In the meantime why not catch up with the highlights of the 2016 SusChem Stakeholder event!



Tuesday, 11 April 2017

VERAM holds Expert Workshop on future of European raw materials research

On Tuesday 13 June 2017, the Horizon 2020 project VERAM (Visionand Roadmap for European Raw Materials) is holding a workshop to explore opportunities and develop solutions which will help shape the landscape of European raw materials research and innovation towards 2050. The event will take place in Brussels. SusChem is a partner in VERAM and you are invited to participate, but places are limited so don't miss this opportunity to have your say on the future of raw materials research and innovation!

VERAM is a unique coordination project that links two European Technology Platforms (ETPs) in minerals and forestry and two European Research Areas (ERA-NETs). And SusChem is involved too. With a total budget of €1.4 million to be implemented over a period of 30 months, the project kicked off in December 2015 and will complete its work by 31 May 2018.

The VERAM project is working to produce a Vision and Roadmap for European Raw Materials to 2050 based on the coordination of raw materials research and innovation. At the heart of this collaboration are two of our fellow ETPs: ETP SMR on Sustainable Minerals Resources and FTP (Forest Technology Platform). They are supported in their efforts by the ECTP (European Construction Technology Platform) represented by Università Politecnica dells Marche - UNIVPMEuMaT (Advanced Materials ETP) represented by Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek - VITO, and by SusChem represented by the European Chemical Industry Council - Cefic.

In addition the ERA-NETs WoodWisdomNet (represented in the project by Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe – FNR – from Germany) and ERA‐Min (represented by the French National Centre for Scientific Research – CNRS) will link to national research funding activities and four well-known research institutes - D’Appolonia SPA from Italy, Germany's Forschunszentrum Juelich - FZ Juelich, Fundacion Technalia Research and Innovation - Tecnalia from Spain, and Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT Oy - VTT from Finland - complete the partnership.

The VERAM Experts' Workshop takes place on 13 June at the Orega - EU District, Rue du Commerce 123, 1000 Brussels from 10:00 to 16:00 and will gather information, ideas and opinions from expert stakeholders to develop a solid Research and Innovation Roadmap for European Raw Materials.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

SusChem UK hosts BBI workshop in London

On 3 May 2017 SusChem UK, the Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), the Horizon 2020 UK National Contact Points (NCPs), and Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) are holding a Consortia Building Event: European Funding for Bio Based Industries in London. This one-day event will give details about the 2017 call for proposals from the European Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) and will provide the opportunity to start building consortia and finding new project partners.

The London event is suitable for anyone with an interest in participating in European projects in the forthcoming 2017 call topics under the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking. The workshop will present a range of experience in European projects from newcomers to people who have coordinated EU projects on a regular basis.

Representatives from industry (small and large), academia, RTOs and other types of organisations with appropriate skills and expertise to address the forthcoming 2017 call topics in BBI should attend and delegates from all European Member States are encouraged to be there – in fact one-third of the spaces available are reserved for non-UK participants.

By attending the workshop delegates will have the opportunity to:
  • Identify and link with new partners across Europe
  • Join consortia forming around forthcoming 2017 call topics
  • Discuss and refine your projects ideas with potential partners
  • Gather information on forthcoming 2017 call topics
  • Take advantage of the NCP, BBI JU, KTN and EEN support available on the day
BBI calls for 2017 and 2018
The strategic orientations for the BBI JU’s calls in 2017 and 2018 are:
  1. Fostering a sustainable biomass-feedstock supply to feed both existing and new value chains;
  2. Optimising efficient processing for integrated biorefineries;
  3. Developing innovative bio-based products for specific market applications; 
  4. Creating and accelerating the market uptake of bio-based products and applications.
The calls that will be reviewed at the workshop are:
  • Feedstock: BBI 2017.R1, BBI 2017.D1, BBI 2017.D2
  • Process: BBI 2017.R2, BBI 2017.R3, BBI 2017.F1
  • Products: BBI 2017.R4, BBI 2017.R5, BBI 2017.R6, BBI 2017.R7, BBI 2017.D3, BBI 2017.D4, BBI 2017.D5, BBI 2017.F2
  • Market Uptake: BBI 2017. S1, BBI 2017.S2
You can find more details on these topics and a full list of BBI JU call topics here. The BBI JU 2017 call programme was also described in SusChem News in January.

The event will take place at the Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel in central London. More information is available here. Registration is free, but all participants must register by 13 April. Please contact Susanne Coles with any further queries.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Industry Water: From Single Use to Integrated Management

The European Water Platform (WssTP) and SusChem are jointly organising a workshop on ‘Industry Water: From Single Use to Integrated Management’ that will take place on Thursday 20 April 2017 at the BluePoint Centre (formerly known as the Diamant Centre) in Brussels.

The workshop will gather perspectives and viewpoints on the water reuse domain and will feature contributions from the European Commission, the ‘problem owners’ and ‘solution providers’ involved in the water and related sectors, and a final insight on the holistic and systemic structure (Smart Governance and Digital Water) which can address the challenges for discovering and exploiting the true Value of Water: multiple waters, digitally connected and smartly managed.


Tangible outputs from the workshop will be produced through a final breakout parallel session that will develop and propose content, gaps, strengths and needs of the four pillars of the Value of Water concept:
  • Modelling and Analysis
  • Big Data
  • Smart Governance
  • Sensor Networks
The final session will build an action plan to deliver the outcomes of the workshop to the Fourth EIP Water Conference that takes place in the city of Porto during the week of 25 September.

You can download the agenda for the workshop here and registration can be found here.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry with ISC3

On May 17 and 18 the German Environmental Agency and the Ministry of Environment in Germany is organising the conference ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry – Launch of ISC3 and ISCnet for Global Cooperation’ in Berlin. ISC3 is the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre, which will be based in Bonn, Germany and will start its activities in May 2017.

The conference programme includes sessions on ‘Sustainable Chemistry and the SDGs: Policy Options to Realise the 2030 Agenda’ including a panel discussion on how to mainstream sustainable chemistry into governmental and business policies and practises; ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry: Opportunities and Challenges for ISC3’; ‘Sustainable Chemistry, Sustainable Development, Investment and Economics’ including a panel discussion on the main economic drivers for sustainable chemistry; and the scope, expectations and challenges for ISCnet

The conference also provides an opportunity to meet members of the ISCnet global network, which is open to everyone engaged in sustainable chemistry.

The conference is free of charge and the link to the conference website is here. You can download a flyer on the conference here and a detailed conference programme here.

The conference will take place at the German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety situated on Potsdamer Platz in the heart of Berlin. Until 1989, the building was actually part of the Berlin Wall and part of the wall was preserved and can be visited inside the building. Please register via the ISC3 website.

What is ISC3?
The International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) wants to support the global breakthrough of Sustainable Chemistry. The project for the establishment of ISC3 was launched in March 2015 by the German Federal Environment Agency. ISC3 will act as a platform for the Sustainable Chemistry community, an incubator and multiplier of ideas and innovations, a think tank and source of inspiration, and as a knowledge base for Sustainable Chemistry. ISCnet will be the global network of all stakeholders, scientists and practitioners engaged in sustainable chemistry approaches. SusChem board members Klaus Kuemmerer and Pierre Barthelemy are members of the ISC3 Advisory Council.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Your Chance to Influence the EU Research Agenda for Formulated Products

The Horizon 2020 project AceForm4.0 has launched a public online consultation. The main aim of the consultation is to identify the common technological challenges faced by the European Formulation Industry and its associated actors along the whole value chain. 

These findings will serve as guidelines for the allocation of European public funding for research and development activities over the next 5-10 years. Don’t miss your chance to make sure that those areas that will effectively enable your organisation to increase its competitiveness and its innovation ability get the support they need!

The Horizon 2020 Coordination Action on Formulations (AceForm4.0) was put together in response to a call that was originally proposed by some of the SusChem NTPs in particular SusChem UK. The full project name is ‘Activating Value Chains for EU leadership in FORMulation Manufacturing 4.0’.

The survey
The AceForm4.0 consultation targets industrial and commercial organisations producing formulated products and formulations as well as all associated actors along the value chain and is divided into four sections and should take no more than 25 minutes to complete.

The first two sections of the survey are dedicated to identifying the profile of the survey participant and their technical challenges and opportunities. The third and fourth sections are exclusively dedicated to the identification of challenges and opportunities for the formulation industry in the context of two mega trends: the Circular Economy and Industry 4.0

The survey will be conducted during the first and second quarter of 2017. The findings will then be analysed and translated into a common vision for sustainable formulated products and an implementation plan for 2025. Further one-to-one interviews and workshops will be carried out as part of the process of preparing this common vision. 

The findings will be made available to the public on a continuous basis during 2017 and 2018 through the AceForm4.0 project website.


More about AceForm4.0
The project aims to strengthen Europe’s leadership in the development and commercialisation of innovative sustainable formulated products by working with relevant stakeholders to establish a strategic roadmap, develop an associated implementation plan for 2025 and stimulate the creation of new collaborative value chains and partnerships in the context of the opportunities offered by industry 4.0 and the drive by Europe towards a circular economy.

The project will establish and evolve an EU Formulation Interest Group (EU-FIG) and facilitate the exchange of non-competitive know-how in formulation technologies between stakeholders operating in six key sectors that are dependent upon innovations in formulation technologies:

  • Formulated products for institutional and consumer use (e.g. detergents)
  • Pharmaceuticals and healthcare formulated products
  • Agrochemical formulated products
  • Formulated products for surface modification such as coatings and inks
  • Formulated food ingredients and nutraceuticals
  • Process modelling, simulation, plant automation and digital platforms (cross-cutting digital sector)

It will identify, analyse and validate common scientific and industrial cross-sectorial challenges facing these sectors in the coming decade that can reduce energy consumption; improve resource efficiency and recycling; improve process scalability; and reduce time-to-market. It will focus on the following domains:

  • Formulation technologies for better delivery of active ingredients
  • Modelling and high-throughput metrology to improve scale-up, process control and supply chain management
  • Intensification methodologies for better process design using scalable and industrially relevant integrated digital platforms

AceForm4.0 will develop and validate a strategic roadmap and associated implementation plan and facilitate through knowledge exchange activities the development of new cross-sector value chain partnerships. Finally it will develop a robust business plan for the on-going facilitation of the EU Formulation Interest Group, to enable facilitation of the community beyond the completion of the project.

What are Formulated Products
A formulated product is composed of at least two ingredients which are selected, processed and combined in a specific way to obtain well-defined target properties, functionality and performance. The product can exist in liquid, semisolid or powder form. A formulated product has a commercial value and is either meant for direct consumer use or for downstream use in industrial applications.

Examples of formulated products range from laundry detergents to wall paint and ready-made sauces, dressings and spreads, inks and ice-cream to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Friday, 17 March 2017

BioLinX - Providing Links to Commercialize your Innovative Ideas

‘Providing links to speed-up innovation in the bioeconomy’ is not only the full title of the BioLinX project, but also its primary goal. Migration towards a more biobased economy offers important opportunities for Europe, both in terms of ecology and in terms of economy.  BioLinx project coordinator, Dennis van der Pas of the regional development authority REWIN in the Netherlands, explains.

“The European Commission has successfully supported bioeconomy related projects during FP7 and will continue to do so under Horizon 2020. However, a range of hurdles, as identified within FP7 projects like the SusChem supported Bio-TIC and R4R projects, slow down the pace of innovation and market exploitation of research results in the bioeconomy. These hurdles are strongly intertwined and mitigating them requires joint efforts by multiple actors. Actors from within and outside of the value chain (such as regions, governments, advocacy parties, and financial parties) should be involved to bring innovation to the market.”

Van der Pas continues: “BioLinX contributes towards bringing research and innovation to the market in the bioeconomy by providing a variety of services aimed at overcoming the hurdles. The initiating BioLinX partners all have leading roles in their regional bioeconomies and have a strong foothold in the lignocellulose, agro- and agro-waste feedstock sectors. Incidentally: bioeconomy as per its proper definition does not limit itself to just industrial biotechnology, but also comprises sustainable chemistry and green chemical technologies; sectors of the SusChem community.”

“BioLinX has already engaged with and supported over sixty EU co-funded biobased projects from all stages of the value chain. Furthermore, BioLinX has created links with 10 key regional Bioeconomy clusters in Europe. The relevant partners of the selected projects and regions are invited to participate in the BioLinX Innovation Linking and Support Programme. This programme consist of activities focusing on Brokerage, Innovation Incubation, Business Development, Finance and Funding and identifies and shares good practices.“

BioLinX services in a nutshell

BioLinx is for projects and/or companies who:
  • Are looking for private financing - BioLinX offers assistance to find (private) financing. We can parties to get investment-ready and can provide advice, training and access to private financing.
  • Are looking for public funding - Next to private finance, BioLinX assists in finding (public) funding resources as well. We help parties in (amongst others) finding grants, formation of project consortia and stakeholder analysis.
  • Are looking for value chain partners - BioLinX offers a well-established network capable of finding new value chain partners or new parties. The home base of the BioLinX project is formed by three well advanced regions/countries (Sweden, South-Netherlands / Biobased Delta, Northern Italy). BioLinX will expand its network to other regions as well (e.g. Germany, Scotland, Ireland, South Italy, Finland,). 
  • Are looking for introductions to networks or (test) facilities etc - Because of its extensive network and the capabilities of the various BioLinX partners we can provide projects/companies with easy access to multiple lab and pilot facilities and regional stakeholders in different regions.
  • Are looking for bioconomy patents, literature and more - The BioLinX Intelligence Platform offers easy access to literature, patents and project information. The intelligence database facilitates filtering and access to relevant scientific articles (18 million articles), patents (European patent database), European projects and funding opportunities.
  • Have no time and budget to travel but have a need for visibility - BioLinX offers a Partnering platform alongside its Intelligence platform. BioLinX recognizes that time and budget constraints are sometimes limiting factors to have ‘face-to-face’ meetings or discussions. Therefore BioLinX organizes online partnering events where parties can find, contact and meet potential cooperation partners in a secured online meeting room. 

These BioLinX initiatives are complemented with activities regarding advocacy, communication and dissemination.

Van der Pas concludes: Anyone who is interested in what BioLinX  has to offer is invited to join the BioLinX community. You can register at the BioLinX website. Or alternatively get in touch with me directly - also via our website.”

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Modular White Paper builds on F3 Factory results

A new Dechema paper on ‘MODULAR PLANTS’ summarises results from some recently finished publicly funded research and innovation projects that successfully demonstrated the economic and technical benefits of the flexible and modular plant concept for the production of fine and specialty chemicals as well as pharmaceuticals pioneered by SusChem's flagship F3 Factory project.

Important project examples. including examples from the results of the FP7-funded ‘F3 Factory’ project, clearly demonstrate the advantages of operating modular continuous plant processes that are more economical and sustainable than current operations and are only possible due to new types of equipment design, advanced digital process control and online process analytics (PAT).

The Dechema paper discusses the need for further developments including work on standardised interfaces and standards for modular automation, the reliability of modules, sensors and performance control systems, new continuous downstream processing units, how to enable new business and service models that take advantage of flexible and modular plant concept and other boundary conditions such as the regulations required to build and operate such units.

Modular progress
Building on the ‘F3 Factory’ project concept, the Horizon 2020-funded SPIRE project ‘CONSENS’ as one example that is advancing the continuous production of high-value products that meet high quality demands in flexible intensified continuous plants. It achieves this by introducing novel online sensing equipment and closed-loop control of the key product parameters.

If these concepts were applied in industry, the outcomes of the projects could result in significant cost savings and reduction of CO2 emissions (estimated at 176,000 tonnes per year), less consumption of solvents in pharmaceutical and specialty chemical sectors, and a significant acceleration in the development of new products (estimated at two-times faster additional innovations and halving the time-to-market).

The European chemical industry is facing increasing market competition from outside Europe and challenges with product launches in new and often volatile markets that means a fast response to market requirements and reduced investment risk for new plants is required. In addition, shorter product life cycles and smaller product volumes due to diversification and increasing specialisation of product ranges due to increased customer-orientated products are a feature of the market.

"SusChem has highlighted the modular plant concept enabled by the latest digital technologies as one of its current core priorities," says Martin Winter, Cefic Innovation Manager with responsibility for SusChem activities in this area. "And we are convinced such developments can make a very high impact in modernising Europe's chemicals production capabilities, introduce significantly higher resource efficiency, and would position the European chemical industry in the lead in the race for competitiveness and sustainability."

White paper discussion
This Dechema white paper was produced by the ProcessNet Temporary Working Group on “Modular Plants” and included industry representatives from BASF, Bayer, Clariant, Evonik, Invite and Merck as well as the universities of Ruhr-Universität Bochum and TU Dortmund.

The paper assessed the results of recently completed public funded projects that had demonstrated successfully the technical and economic benefits of modular plants and their applicability especially for small to medium scale (typically 0.1 – 1000 tonnes per year) continuous production.

The experts from across the chemical industries agreed that such modular plant concepts have significant economic potential. General concepts for modular production and the required enabling technologies for process intensification have been jointly  developed in projects such as the F3 Factory and CoPIRIDE projects or the ENPRO initiative for improved energy efficiency and process intensification in the German chemical industry.

Writing in a preface to the white paper Dr. Thomas Weber, Chairman of the VCI Committee of Experts Research and Education policy group highlights that these projects have also shown that multiple challenges exist including a lack of standardisation for modules on equipment level, as well as on the level of a complete production plant. This means that 'off the shelf' modules cannot simply be bought on the market, even though it is broadly accepted in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries that this would result in significant advantages in investment costs, time to market and flexibility of production assets.

Associated with this issue is the unmet market need for process control and automation concepts for modular plants. In addition, the discussion of centralised (classical) process control systems versus distributed (modular) process control systems has only just begun. The supporters of a completely modular design strategy envision the various plant modules acting fully automated and autonomously, with communication existing only via interfaces and communication protocols. This would enable a giant leap forward towards full ex-changeability and re-usability for the modular concept. Having an appropriate concept for modulations of process control and automation could become one of the key enablers for modular production plant concepts, said Dr Weber.

There is also need for further development in the field of equipment and apparatus design, for example in separation and purification that could be quickly and directly scaled-up from laboratory to production scale at an acceptable risk. A simple and safe solution for production scale, is number-up instead of a classical scale-up. However, limitations exist as numbering up in many cases can increase investment costs and complexity.

You can download the Dechema White paper here.

It is hoped that this white paper will inspire new ideas and encourage a spirit of innovation across the a cross chemical industry for modular production plant concepts.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Announcing the 2017 European Responsible Care Awards

The European Responsible Care Awards 2017 organised by Cefic are now open for entries. The Responsible Care Programme has been at the heart of the Chemical Industry for many years.  And each year, the Responsible Care Awards enable chemical companies to demonstrate their commitment to this unique initiative. But be quick - the final date for applications to be submitted is 10 May 2017.

The European Responsible Care Awards provide Cefic member companies the opportunity to share effective and innovative projects for cooperation up and down the product chain, energy efficiency and combating climate change initiatives, health, safety and environmental excellence that demonstrate the business value of Responsible Care and its ability to enable engagement with stakeholders.

Cefic is looking forward to your entries and for 2017 is particularly encouraging SMEs to participate. Take part in the competition and get your work done in front of the people that matter! The Awards will be presented at a ceremony during the Cefic Chemical Convention in Vienna that takes place on 27 October 2017.

What does it involve?
Do you believe your organisation deserves increased visibility for its commitment and accomplishments in applying the Responsible Care principles? Are you keen to present your efforts and achievements that are actively contributing to the Responsible Care objectives? Do you consider your project outstanding?

The 2017 European Responsible Care Awards, managed by Cefic, are looking for examples in one of the three categories (listed below) that embrace the Responsible Care ethic.

1. Chemical substances safety
Projects that demonstrate their excellence in addressing health and safety issues related to products in the way they are developed, manufactured, distributed, used and disposed of in a responsible manner. This category recognises value chain projects that help companies set up and improve their chemicals management procedures. It also recognises projects related to the Product Stewardship initiative which, in line with chemicals regulations, addresses management of risks and improvement of the performance of products in the fields of health and safety during its entire life cycle.

2. Occupational health, process safety and security
Projects that either

  • demonstrate their excellence in occupational health, by the means of improved or sustained health programme performance and a healthy workforce and workplace, which includes but is not limited to management commitment, employee engagement and evidence of a culture of proactive health risk management and well-being support initiatives, or 
  • demonstrate their outstanding and exemplary record in implementing effective process safety management systems from process design to continued operation and routine maintenance, best practises and improvements for chemical prevention, preparedness and response to reduce major process hazards and risks for on-site operations, or 
  • demonstrate their outstanding performance in management practises to protect people, property, products, processes, information and information systems by enhancing security, including security against potential terrorist attacks of industrial sites.

3. Environment Responsibility
Projects that either

  • demonstrate excellence in environmental processes and products over their life cycles so as to avoid harm to people and the environment by reducing their pollutant emissions to air, water and soil and to limit environmental hazards related to their operations through the development of innovative technology. Also using resources efficiently and minimising waste, or implementing solutions for a circular economy, or
  • demonstrate their outstanding performance in energy efficiency, renewable or low-carbon energy along the supply chain. This area gathers projects that relate to the SPiCE3 initiative, that effectively contribute to, or favour, a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and have a proven impact across the whole economy. This category also addresses the efficient management of energy to improve practises and technologies in heat and power generation, the review of the steam flow in processes and its optimisation, and the use of electricity.

Judging criteria
Entries will be assessed by a panel of independent judges, including representatives from EU institutions, other industries, trade associations and the media. Judging of all entries will take place in June 2017. The jury will select one winner in the each of the three categories.

Winning projects should have elements of originality, innovative features and best practise sharing within the chemical industry and with customer industries.

For more information about the 2017 Responsible Care Award, including guidelines for applications and information on past winners, please visit the Responsible Care Award pages on the Cefic website, or contact Katleen Raes at Cefic.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Biobased Live: Innovation for Sustainable Products

From 31 May to 1 June the BioBased Live Europe event will be taking place at the Amsterdam Science Park. BioBased Live aims to take biobased innovations from laboratory to market through best practice sharing and making biobased products a key part of sustainable strategies.

BioBased Live and its organisers, BioBased World News, believe there has never been a more exciting time to work in the biobased industries - and SusChem agrees! Global production of biobased chemicals now exceeds 60 million tonnes with the global market for biobased chemicals expected to increase to at least $12.2 billion by 2021. We want to support this sustainable shift towards the circular economy and bio-based products.

What is BioBased Live Europe?
This second annual meeting offers an interactive and intimate environment to make biobased innovations a key part of future sustainable strategies. Bringing together CEOs, senior R&D,and Process Heads with the sustainability professionals, brand marketing specialists and end users, the event creates a unique platform to do business and create practical takeaways to ensure long-term sustainable success.

As an emerging industry the journey from lab innovation to commercialisation for biobased products can be a difficult one. It is a convoluted ecosystem and all actors are required to collaborate and work together to ensure a productive future for the bio-based industry. This is where Biobased Live comes in.

Focus of the event, in which SusChem will participate is on two themes:
  • Process Innovation & Technology - developing biobased and green innovations that are cost-competitive at commercial scale.
  • Sustainable Products - improving the triple bottom line for brands and retailers by placing biobased and green adoption at the heart of sustainability strategies.
You can find out more at the BioBased Live website, where you can look at the event's agenda, download a brochure for the event and, of course, register. SusChem stakeholders are being offered a 15% discount on registration fees using the code SUS15.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Green and Sustainable Chemistry in Berlin

Following a very successful first edition in April 2016, the second Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference will again bring together international researchers from academia and industry, from authorities and other institutions, to communicate and share the latest developments across the broad and diverse fields of Green and Sustainable Chemistry. The conference takes place on 14 - 17 May at the Hotel Intercontinental in Berlin. 

SusChem board member and Director of the Institute for Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Prof. Klaus Kümmerer (pictured below), is the Chairman of the Conference organising committee. In a welcome message to conference delegates he says:

"Research has shown that reduction in waste, energy and resources not only contributes to a more sustainable growth of industry in developing countries and also improves sustainability of the chemical industry. In addition to improvements in synthesis and issues directly linked to the chemicals themselves it also has been learnt that sustainability issues throughout the life cycle of chemicals and other chemicals products should be taken into consideration. This holds not only for developed but also for developing countries."

Submissions for oral and poster presentations at the conference were particularly welcome on aspects of green and sustainable chemistry that directly relate to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Topics that will be covered at the conference include:
  • Mineral resources and recycling
  • Resources for organic molecules
  • Synthesis and catalysis
  • Energy conversion
  • Green and sustainable pharmacy
  • Legislation and sustainable chemistry
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals and sustainable chemistry
  • Developing countries and sustainable chemistry
  • Industry and sustainable chemistry
  • Education
You can access more details on the programme for the conference here and registration details are here. Early registration fees are available until 17 March. The twitter hashtag for the conference is #greenchem2017.

Sustainable Chemistry Challenge
Another unique feature of this conference will be the Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. Projects can be in any field of Green or Sustainable Chemistry, but must be applicable for use in developing countries. The top five candidates will be invited to the conference to make presentations and winners will be selected with an awards ceremony at the end of the conference. The winning project receive EUR 50 000; with a second prize of EUR 25 000 also available.

Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry
The Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference is also being organised in cooperation with the inaugural conference of ISC3 and ISCnet: “Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry” on 17-18 May in Berlin. The conference programme will cover:
  • International political and economic issues of importance for the development of sustainable chemistry
  • Results of studies from a project to frame the area of future research by the ISC3
  • Drawing up the organisational structure for ISCnet (see below)
  • The introduction of the ISC3 executives
This conference also provides an opportunity to meet members of the ISCnet global network, which is open to everyone engaged in sustainable chemistry. The International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) wants to support the global breakthrough of Sustainable Chemistry. The project for the establishment of ISC3 was launched in March 2015 by the German Federal Environment Agency.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Date announced for 2017 SusChem Stakeholder Event!


SusChem is proud to announce that its 2017 Stakeholder event will take place on
Thursday, 8 June in Brussels.

Mark the date in your diary now! As usual attendance at the event will be free of charge for all SusChem stakeholder, but registration will be required.

More details will be published soon on the SusChem website. In the meantime if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the SusChem Secretariat.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Help shape the Future of European Industry

You can help the European Commission shape the industrial agenda of tomorrow at the Industry Day Conference that takes place on 28 February 2017. Some 400 participants, including key industrial players, global trend shapers and high-level policy makers, will inspire a full-day of debate on the future of European industry at the European Commission's Charlemagne Building in Brussels at the end of February.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, and Commissioners Elżbieta Bieńkowska (Internal Market, Industry, SMEs and Entrepreneurship) and Carlos Moedas (Research and Innovation) will all participate in the event.
Representatives of traditional and new, disruptive sectors will present their views on the future of their business. Entrepreneurs, innovators, start-ups and the tech community will share the stage with key EU political leaders.

There will also be speakers from the Committee of Regions, the European Investment Bank, the European Parliament, Business Europe, the European Roundtable of Industrialists and the European Trade Union Confederation.


Industry is changing
The nature of industry is changing, driven by rapid technological change. The evolution of industrial activity is characterised by digitalisation, clean and circular technologies, and a higher reliance on services. SusChem is actively engaged in shaping policy in all these industry-relevant areas – and others such as Key Enabling Technologies.

The Commission supports industry and makes a strong contribution to jobs and growth in Europe. Major policy initiatives for industrial competitiveness range from the Investment Plan and Horizon 2020 to the Single Market Strategy, from circular economy to Digitising European Industry. The Commission’s strategic approach to industrial competitiveness aims to empower businesses, citizens and entire regions to be fit for the future.

The European Industry Day event will take stock of existing actions and stimulate debate on a joint vision for the long-term future of European industry. Questions to debate include:
  • What has been achieved by mainstreaming industrial competitiveness into EU policy?
  • How will people find their place in the new industrial revolution?
  • What is the role of regional ecosystems for industrial transformation?
  • What are the key technologies for the future of industry?

The event will also aim to identify barriers preventing further progress towards  smart, clean and innovative industry that creates employment and high living standards for our citizens.

Registration for the event is via the event webpage. For more information contact the EU Industry Day team.

Friday, 27 January 2017

More rebel thinkers required for 2017 LRI Award!

Are you a real rebel thinker? Do you have a great idea for novel research in human health or environmental risk assessment? Then apply now for the Cefic-LRI Innovative Science Award 2017. But be quick - the closing date for applications is 19 March 2017.

The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), in conjunction with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), ), the Association of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX), and the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES) is offering a €100,000 award to support promising new research in the field of dose-response of synergy in combined exposure to humans or environmental species. But you must apply by 19 March 2017!

New approaches to synergy needed
The risk assessment of combined exposures to multiple chemicals is largely based on the assumption that effects of chemicals acting via the same Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) / Mode of Action (MoA) can be estimated based on dose-addition, and that different AOPs/MoAs can be accounted for by response-addition models. The interaction of multiple chemicals that result in more-than-additive adverse effects (‘synergy’) is assumed to be rare and is mostly described for toxicokinetic interactions of pharmaceuticals at high doses.

Beyond the question of whether synergy can occur or not, the synergy dose-response is highly relevant for the risk assessment of moderate to low co-exposures to either humans or environmental species. But today our knowledge on the relevance of both exposure levels and mixture ratios on the occurrence and degree of synergy is limited.

So for 2017 the LRI Award is looking for new approaches and techniques that, in characterising synergy dose-response, will improve risk assessment of chemical co-exposures at environmentally relevant exposure levels. These could include:
  • Experimental approaches to examine the dose-response of more-than-additive interactions of chemicals in relevant models of environmental or human health effect assessment
  • Structure-activity modelling
  • Mathematical modelling to integrate mechanistic and/or kinetic knowledge and experimental data from different models
Award objectives
The objective of this LRI Award is to stimulate innovative research, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and new approaches which will advance the development and application of new and existing approaches in the assessment of chemical safety.

The research should be complementary to the Long-range Research Initiative’s (LRI) objectives. LRI is a chemical industry funded programme that aims at enhancing scientific knowledge to help protect health and the environment.

The award is intended for a European-based scientist with less than ten years post-doctoral experience. Active involvement in interdisciplinary research, current academic track record, and access to appropriate networks will be considered in the selection. There is no age limit for applicants.

Applicants must submit a two-page project proposal by mid- March. Short-listed researchers are then requested to send in a more detailed description of their work, after which the three finalists are selected to present their proposal before a jury panel in Brussels. This year the final selection in Brussels will be on June 2017.

The winning proposal of the LRI Innovative Science Award will be officially presented at the LRI Annual Workshop on 15 November 2017. The 2017 Awardee will be expected to present the results of the research supported by the Award at the LRI Annual Workshop in November 2018.

The Cefic-LRI Innovative Science Award was established in 2004 to inspire highly innovative and industry relevant projects in biomedical toxicology and ecotoxicology led by promisingly early career scientists. The prize of € 100 000 has been awarded annually ever since - boosting the careers of twelve younger European scientists in the challenging fields with which LRI is engaged.

For more details on the Cefic-LRI award and how to apply visit the awards web page or email the Cefic-LRI secretariat.

What is LRI?
The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) programme is a major voluntary initiative of the European chemical industry to support the long-term sustainability of its sector and European society. Through the programme we hope to identify the hazards posed by chemicals and improve the methods available for assessing the associated risks.

The LRI sponsors high-quality research of a standard publishable in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, and seeks to provide sound scientific advice on which industry and regulatory bodies can draw-on to respond quickly and accurately to public concerns.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Bioeconomy: Challenges and opportunities

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has just issued a briefing paper on the Bioeconomy. The eight page document, entitled ‘Bioeconomy: Challenges and opportunities’ provides a background to the European bioeconomy before outlining a range of opportunities and challenges this present, the EU’s policy on bioeconomy, the European Parliament’s position and a range of Stakeholders' views. An edited summary of the paper is below. The full briefing can be downloaded here.

The bioeconomy refers to the production and extraction of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food and feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. The current notion of the bioeconomy emerged recently as a knowledge-driven concept aimed at meeting a range of today's challenges. In the European Union (EU), the bioeconomy sectors have an annual turnover of about €2 trillion and employ between 17 and 19 million people. They use almost 75% of the EU land area.


The briefing highlights the strong research and innovation dimension of the bioeconomy, which may be applied to improve the production of food, feed and fibre as well as to develop new applications and products in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals and energy. This dimension, generally referred to as the 'knowledge-based bioeconomy', is in part driven by recent developments in bioscience and biotechnology, related in particular to bio-based materials and genetic engineering of crops. Recent applications include materials, textiles, cosmetics, furniture and food. A variety of products could be produced in integrated units, for instance integrated biorefineries producing fuels, chemicals, plastics, heat and electricity.

A stronger bioeconomy could trigger growth and jobs, and reduce dependency on imports. It could contribute to optimising the use of biological resources, which remain finite although they are renewable. However, it could also create competition between uses and technologies at various levels. Besides, the amount of available biomass remains disputed. A bioeconomy could contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving public health. However, it could also trigger new greenhouse gas emissions and induce adverse impacts on the environment.

The EU policy framework for the bioeconomy is spread across a number of policies (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, climate, circular economy and research). Although a bioeconomy strategy from 2012 aims to ensure policy coherence, inconsistencies remain. The EU provides funding to innovative bioeconomy activities through Horizon 2020 and a range of other instruments.

The European Parliament has been supportive of the bioeconomy strategy, while highlighting the need for sustainability and policy coherence.

SusChem and the Bioeconomy
A sustainable bioeconomy features in the SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) encompassing the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and associated waste streams into value-added products such as feed, food, biobased products and bioenergy.

Integrated biorefineries are central to the development of the bioeconomy and were one SusChem’s original flagship innovation concepts. They can deliver new sources of chemical building blocks that are either structurally similar to fossil-based feedstock or new with novel functionalities and improved properties. In order to unlock the full potential of a sustainable biomass supply, it is essential to consider all possible sources including second generation biomass and waste streams (such as municipal wastes). The bioeconomy can improve resource efficiency and is a key element in achieving the broader concept of a circular, integrated, renewable economy.

Innovation is also a key solution provider for the transition to a more Circular Economy and the development by the chemical sector of innovative advanced materials and process technologies is essential to enable a better use of existing resources along the whole life cycle, to develop new production and recycling paths.

About EPRS
The European Parliamentary Research Service is the European Parliament's in-house research department and think tank. Its mission is to assist Members in their parliamentary work by providing them with independent, objective and authoritative analysis of, and research on, policy issues relating to the European Union. It is also designed to increase Members and European Parliament committees' capacity to scrutinise and oversee the European Commission and other EU executive bodies.

The EPRS website is here and you can also follow EPRS on Twitter.