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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

SusChem looks forward to 2011

The International Year of Chemistry 2011 (IYC 2011) will be an exciting time for all SusChem stakeholders with events throughout the world and throughout the year. IYC2011 is a amazing opportunity for the whole chemistry community to show the world how the molecular sciences are providing solutions to the significant challenges facing our society today.

The 2011 SusChem Stakeholder event will also embrace this theme under the working title of 'SusChem Partnering for Sustainable Growth' and will be part of the IYC 2011 programme. The 9th annual SusChem Stakeholder event will take place on 17 May in the historic Beurs van Berlage conference facility in central Amsterdam.

The Beurs van Berlage building (see below) was built at the beginning of the 20th century as the third incarnation of the Amsterdam stock exchange and was a controversial and innovative architectural project at the time. However, this iconic building is now acknowledged as marking the birth of modern Dutch architecture and is a contemporary and stylish conference and exhibition complex situated between Amsterdam's Central Station and de Dam square.

Supporting EU2020
SusChem is looking towards 2011 and the Amsterdam stakeholder event as an opportunity to demonstrate the key role that sustainable chemistry can play in providing a basis for sustainable growth in Europe. Specifically SusChem is working hard to support the European Union's ambitious targets set out in the EU2020 strategy.

This strategy is looking to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for Europe and its citizens through a number of initiatives including the creation of an effective and efficient Innovation Union.

One of the bases of this Innovation Union will be new Innovation Partnerships. SusChem is well placed to make significant contributions to Innovation Partnerships in a wide range of sectors and SusChem's ambition is to lead one of the partnerships.

The Amsterdam Stakeholder event will discuss a number of questions around the EU2020 Strategy such as: How can sustainable chemistry contribute to the different Innovation Partnerships? How can collaboration along the value chain be encouraged to accelerate innovation? And how can the Member States be motivated to respond more effectively to the challenge?

All these questions and more will be debated in Amsterdam on May 17, 2011. Reserve the date in your diary or agenda now!

Seasons greetings
Finally on behalf of the SusChem Newsblog and the whole SusChem team we wish you a very happy festive season and a prosperous, peaceful and productive New International Year of Chemistry in 2011.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Investment Forum on Sustainable Chemistry

The second 'Sustainable Chemistry, Innovative and Competitive Companies' Conference will take place in Barcelona on February 17 to 18. The event will be held at the IESE Business School (the graduate management school of the University of Navarra) and is jointly organised by IESE, SusChem España and Foro Química y Sociedad.

The conference aims to provide competitive insights and advantage to the chemical and pharmaceutical value chains. With the chemical industry at the start of most value chains and supplying its products to all sectors of the economy, it is at the forefront of the transition to a more sustainable society.

The second 'Sustainable Chemistry, Innovative and Competitive Companies' event has two distinct strands: the first part on Thursday February 17, will show new developments successfully implemented by the Chemical and Pharmaceutical industries in different areas, with special emphasis on new plant, reaction and process design, and on materials technology.

The second part on Friday February 18 will involve an expert panel session giving their insights on '2050: the Future of Industry'. This will be followed by the first Investment Forum on Sustainable Chemistry.

Sustainable innovation
The theme for the first day is 'Sustainable chemistry: innovating solutions to present and future challenges'. Presentations will showcase a range of new approaches including: the Future of Manufacturing; Engineering and Construction of Process Plants as the Basis of Sustainability and Competitiveness; New Materials and Solutions for Energy Efficiency in Construction; and New Developments on Ground and Water Decontamination through Chemical Reduction.

The session will be opened by a plenary presentation by Ger Spork Innovation Manager at Cefic and SusChem coordinator. Ger will speak on 'European Innovation Partnerships: the role of chemical industry as solution provider'.

Among solutions for increased sustainability presented during the first section of the conference will be a set of case studies from the SusChem-inspired F3 factory. The F3 factory is a collaborative research programme for strengthening the European chemical industry’s global technological leadership through faster, more flexible production methods.

Future industry, future investment
On the second day an expert panel will indulge their views on the future development of the industry over the next few decades in the '2050: the Future of Industry' debate. Participants include Dr. Gernot Klotz, CEFIC Executive Director, Research & Innovation. This debate will be chaired by Juan Roure, professor of Entrepreneurship and a member of IESE’s International Advisory Board.

Following the debate, the aim of the Investment Forum is to support the creation and development of entrepreneurship in Sustainable Chemistry by creating a reference meeting platform for enterprises and potential “business angel” investors who are interested in projects with high growth potential.

Participants will carry out short ‘elevator pitch’ presentations of projects at the initial phase and looking for development finance. The nature of these innovative projects will also give some excellent ideas on the future direction of a sustainable chemical industry.

More information
For more information on the conference visit the dedicated website or contact SusChem España Technical Secretary Cristina González. Please note that registration before 31 December 2010 attracts a 20% discount on conference fees.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

New skills for innovation

What skills set does the next generation of chemical industry workers need to drive innovation and competitiveness in the sector? This was the question underlying a recent survey of employers in larger companies undertaken for the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) that has just been published. The launch of the report coincides with the announcement of a new European Commission initiative on jobs and skills.

The survey sought views on the skills required to ensure a competitive chemical and process industry in Europe and provide the sort of attractive future career opportunities that the industry will need to attract the best brains in Europe.

The report found that the most important initiative to improve innovation will be to provide future engineers and scientists with a multidisciplinary and broad skill set. Students need to acquire understanding of different scientific, technical, business and personal skills so they can easily adapt to new tasks, job functions or even different scientific areas and work effectively in interdisciplinary environments.

The findings of the report fit in well with the European Commission's communication on 'An Agenda for new skills and jobs' that was launched at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 23 November. This initiative sets out 13 key actions aimed at reforming labour markets, upgrading skills, matching skills to market and creating new quality jobs across Europe.

At the Communication launch Mme. Androulla Vassiliou, EC Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth (below) said: "Today it is more than ever crucial that all citizens receive high quality education and training to equip them with the skills they need to find work. Lifelong learning must become a reality in Europe. For that to happen, a joint effort of all partners – governments, employers, trade unions and citizens – is essential."

IPR, innovation, vision
In addition to core technical competencies, the Cefic survey found scientists in business needed to have a basic understanding of intellectual property law, innovation management (from research to sales) and strategic and visionary management skills. In contrast engineers needed business skills such as well structured project management abilities, competence in innovation management to generate new business, and understanding of suppliers and customers.

Good creative thinking will remain the most important personal skill for scientists who have to generate new ideas contributing to new business, high-quality communication skills will be required to ensure effective collaboration between scientists from different disciplines and also with business people and the ability involve a wide spectrum of different disciplines to develop solutions, meant team work skills will be key to foster successful innovation.

For engineers communication skills are also essential to promote ideas both internally and externally towards customers and business partners. Team work is also crucial and problem solving skills entailing analytical and reasoning skills will remain essential.

Higher education
Future human resources needs of the chemical sector and higher education curricular must be better aligned in order to enhance innovation the report concludes. The next crucial step is to ensure an effective collaboration between the chemical industry and academia and to respond to the identified needs through tailored concrete actions.

Issues such as integration of business and related skills in scientific curricula or broadening the scientific multidisciplinary skill base must be addressed to ensure that innovation can successfully complement research.

More details
The survey was initiated following a recommendation from the final report European Commission’s High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the European Chemical Industry published in 2009 and used structured telephone interviews with high-level industry representatives working in a selection of companies with a total combined workforce of over 300 000 employees in Europe.

The full Cefic Study on Skills for Innovation can be downloaded from the Cefic website or requested by emailing Sophie Wilmet at Cefic Research & Innovation.

In addition Gernot Klotz, Cefic Executive Director for Research & Innovation, has been interviewed by Alex Scott of Chemical Week discussing the future skills needs for the chemical industry. The article and a video interview is available to Chemical Week subscribers.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

New Chairman of SusChem announced

Dr. Paul-Joël Derian has succeeded Prof. Rodney Townsend as Chairman of the board of SusChem – the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry. Prof. Townsend will remain on the SusChem management board.

Dr. Derian is group vice president for research and development at Rhodia and has been a member of the SusChem board for a number of years. He is also chair of SusChem’s Material Work Group.

“It is a great honour for me to have been elected as Chairman of SusChem following the excellent job that has been done by my predecessors Rodney Townsend, Alfred Oberholz and Emmo Meijer to promote sustainable chemistry across Europe,” said Dr. Derian.

Dr. Derian outlined his priorities for SusChem: to continue to identify and pursue key elements of the SusChem research agenda and to accelerate the adoption of innovation along the chemical value chain by enhanced collaboration.

He also stressed the need for SusChem to help facilitate the understanding of the value of innovation by the public through increased transparency from industry and better communication.

Leading role
“SusChem has made amazing progress in the last couple of years through initiatives such as its network of national platforms across Europe,” said Dr. Derian. “But we need to continue to form our own Innovation Union to work with other platform so they can understand how chemistry can contribute to their innovation. We need to work with politicians so they perceive chemistry not as a problem, but a solution to the challenges that Europe currently faces.”

“The maturity that SusChem has achieved can enable us to lead large innovation programmes with downstream industries in the EU,” continued Dr Derian. “We have the key enabling technologies to solve their problems.”

SusChem – New Generation
Dr. Derian is also looking to enlarge the pool of talented people who contribute to SusChem. “A large number of engaged, dedicated and creative people have helped SusChem achieve what it has to date,” said Dr. Derian. “But we need a new generation to make their contribution: to mobilize a younger generation of passionate people towards our goals for sustainable chemistry in Europe.”

A video interview with new SusChem chairman Dr. Derian is available on the SusChem website or view it below.

SusChem board
The current membership of the board of SusChem is:

Dr. Paul-Joël Derian, chairman
Prof. Matthias Beller
Ms. Martina Bianchini
Dr. Andreas Förster
Prof. Rüdiger Iden
Dr. Gernot Klotz
Mr. Philippe Lavielle
Dr. Fernando Moreno
Dr. Peter Nagler
Prof. Wim Soetaert
Dr. Klaus Sommer
Prof. Rodney Townsend
Prof. Louis Vertegaal
Dr. Marcel Wubbolts

Biographies for all SusChem board members can be found on the SusChem website.

Rodney Townsend interview

Prof. Rodney Townsend’s tenure as chairman of the SusChem board has now come to an end after just under three years at the helm of one of Europe’s leading technology platforms. He formally stepped down as chair at the September board meeting and will be succeeded by Paul-Joël Derian of Rhodia. During a recent interview at the European Parliament building in Brussels, Prof. Townsend talked to SusChem News about the ETP’s achievements and looked to future challenges.

SusChem News: In your view what have been SusChem’s main achievements during your chairmanship of the board?

RT: When I took over from the very able chairman ship of Alfred Oberholz in 2008 SusChem had already set an extremely good framework in terms of its Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and Implementation Action Plan (IAP).

A first big achievement - and like others, this was a team achievement – was to move from being just a very good framework to being an effective instrument for concentrating and channelling Commission money into chemical and biotechnology research. And an important part of examining how effective we are at this was the measurement and analysis framework that was set up so well by Dechema. This has allowed us to monitor the funding allocated to ‘SusChem inspired’ projects in both the NMP and KBBE areas. Being able to show the level of achievement for SusChem in terms of the level of funding in FP7 projects (more than €800,000,000) has proved to be a very useful instrument for further engagement with the Commission at various levels.

So there are really two linked achievements here: we started to move forward to become an instrument that brought substantial funds – hundreds of millions of euros - to chemical and biotechnological R&D and we were able to measure and therefore demonstrate this effectiveness to the Commission – a significant positive feedback loop.

Visionary projects
SusChem News: Are there any specific projects that are highlights for you?

RT: Yes the F3 factory is an extremely good example of a demonstration project that we originally put forward in the SRA and IAP that has now been brought to a very tangible result. The F3 Factory is about Fast, Future, Flexible manufacturing – hence the acronym. It is something that the chemical community can actually touch, look at and, most importantly, use to solve problems and get new insights. Another important component of this success has been the bringing together of a large number of companies from across Europe, together with Commission money, to produce a significant project in terms of resource (nearly €30,000,000). The project is being hosted by Bayer in Leverkeusen, Germany.

In parallel there have been many European projects that will contribute to the realisation of the Integrated Biorefinery visionary project proposed SusChem. The F3 factory project will also play a role there.

Alongside that there is some disappointment. We had high hopes for the Smart Energy Home (SEH) project, but this has moved in other directions, partially due to economic circumstances, but perhaps this was a little too far removed from the obvious chemistry and biochemical aims of the platform for it to be one that we could take forward with SusChem clearly in the lead. I remember vividly some MEPs asking me questions exactly related to that when we highlighted the SEH at a meeting in the European Parliament.

SusChem News: How about the actual structure of SusChem – how has that changed over the past few years?

RT: I think we have developed a much stronger and clearer management structure – albeit with limited resources – and we are particularly grateful to Cefic for its support here. Following the excellent work of Marian Mours, he was replaced over two years ago by Ger Spork, who has also been a tower of strength in the same role as Marian, as the SusChem coordinator at Cefic. As a result of their efforts and many others we now have highly focused management groups and working groups.

Related to this – and this is a significant differentiator for SusChem compared with some other technology platforms – is that we can and have moved fast to respond positively to changing external circumstances. Just as we did originally at the beginning of SusChem in 2004, we do not just respond to announcements from the Commission, but we actually get in place ideas and thinking that anticipates Commission policy. We don’t just want to react to external events – we want to shape these events proactively.

All this has put us in a strong position now in pressing the case for chemical and biotechnology involvement in Innovation Partnerships within the recently announced Innovation Union. This strong position had been boosted by our early championship of innovation to press a plausible and logical case for chemical technologies to take a lead. Whether we shall succeed in that endeavour only time will tell – we are working on a major proposal for an Innovation Partnership led by the chemicals industries at this very moment, and if it doesn’t run it will not be for lack of trying! In addition, I am very confident that with Paul-Joël Derian we have an excellent new chairman who will continue to drive the process forward – he is doing this already!

Skills for the future
SusChem News: SusChem has achieved a great deal in terms of research funding but what about the human resources angle?

RT: Another extremely pleasing highlight is the way we have been taking the skills project forward. We deliberately moved SusChem into the field of addressing the skills and competences that are needed for chemical industry and biotechnology in the future. This was coupled with surveys of what chemical and downstream user businesses see as their needs and this approach has been very fruitful and is another strong support for our ongoing discussions with the Commission and other bodies.

SusChem News: How do you see the future for SusChem?

RT: We are entering an uncertain phase. No one knows how the successor to FP7 is going to fully shape up. But we do know that this year is very critical within the decision–making process within the Commission. Therefore it is critical that SusChem continues to develop its strategy in the right direction and keeps its profile high in the right quarters. In the next two to three years SusChem has to continue to ensure that chemical technology and biotechnology is at the core of whatever emerges out of FP8. I don’t think that there is any certainty here at all at the moment.

The SusChem team has worked very hard and has grasped well the opportunities of the past. And I still see a very enthusiastic group that is determined to clinch a deal on behalf of chemical and biotechnological industries.

Finally, I have been very honoured and proud to lead the SusChem team as Chairman for nearly three years. Throughout this period I have appreciated the support of all my colleagues in our endeavours and I wish Paul Joël Derian all the very best for the future as he leads us towards further SusChem successes.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Breaking innovation barriers

The SusChem view on innovation was spelt out today (25 October) by Dr Paul-Joël Derian (right) at an Open Day on Advanced Materials held at the European Commission’s Madou building in Brussels.

Materials innovation was key to overcoming the challenges faced by the EU claimed Dr. Derian, and it was essential that the innovation process was accelerated considering the size of the challenge.

Stimulating innovation at key stages in the value chain simultaneously was a sound strategy to achieve this acceleration. He highlighted a number of critical stages of innovation including the early “scouting” stage which should determine the feasibility of a concept, define essential value chain partners and identify the barriers and incentives relevant to a project before any research was launched.

Demo funding
Dr. Derian called for more and better funded programmes for demonstration projects, as validation and scale-up were essential for proof of concept and technical maturity for successful market entry. Alignment of public innovation policy with private business models was needed and also smart regulation that worked with innovation – here he gave examples from the automotive and lighting industries that had accelerated innovative new products. Improving skills for innovation deployment was also essential.

Dr. Derian, who is group vice president R&D at Rhodia, was representing SusChem as Chairman of the Material Group. The Open Day is one of a series organized by the High Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies that was launched in July this year. Open days on Nanotechnology (27 October), Industrial Biotechnology (5 November), Photonics (10 November) and Advanced Manufacturing Systems (15 November) are yet to be held, while the Micro- and nanoelectronics open day was held on 18 October.

Gold mine
Earlier Dr. Marc Van Sande, executive vice president of Umicore had opened the meeting with a plea to exploit through effective recycling the “urban mine” of precious materials that is accumulating via consumer and other technologies. He pointed out that the average gold mine has to process a tonne of ore to obtain 5 grammes of gold. In contrast old mobile phones represented a resource with an average of over 200 grammes of gold per tonne, while some autocatalysts contained over 2 kilos of precious metals per tonne.

He prefigured Dr. Derian’s comments by saying that effective recycling of this material needed a well organized and dedicated recycling chain. The total efficiency of the recycling process was determined by the weakest step so a coordinated value chain approach would be needed.

For more information on the High Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies, including details of forthcoming Open Days, visit the DG Enterprise website.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Biotechnology in bonnie Scotland

EuropaBio's European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology (EFIB2010) meeting in Edinburgh takes place from 19 - 21 October. The meeting will feature a number of SusChem related initiatives.

Following the well-established model from previous years, EFIB 2010 will commence with two pre-conference workshops, followed by a two-day conference comprising two plenary sessions and three parallel tracks focusing on: Feedstock; Policy, Business and Finance; and Innovation.

SusChem input includes a presentation on the 'Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant: open innovation for the biobased economy' from SusChem board member Prof Wim Soetaert of Ghent University.

An overview of the SusChem innovation project 'BIOCHEM' will be given by Dr Steve Fletcher, the project coordinator from CIKTN in the UK.

The next generation of integrated bio-refineries: The EuroBioRef Concept will be described by Prof. Franck Dumeignil from the University of Lille.

In addition, SusChem management team member, Camille Burel will outline EuropaBio's policy guide: 'Building a biobased economy for Europe in 2020'.

More detail of EFIB2010 events can be found by downloading the conference programme.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

F3 Project Update

SusChem stakeholders wanting to catch up with progress on the F3 factory project can download the SusChem-inspired initiative’s first newsletter from the consortium’s website.

Launched last year, the F3 factory is a €30 million FP7 funded initiative that is developing faster, more flexible and efficient manufacturing methods. The project consortium consists of 25 industrial and academic partners.

In the newsletter a number of industrial demonstration projects are described that will be a key focus of activities. Eventually seven projects will cover the range of chemical production capacities from kilogrammes to thousands of tonnes in three key industry sectors: pharmaceutical intermediates, specialty polymers and large-scale intermediates. A number of industrial case studies are also being pursued.

For more information on the F3 project visit:

Chemical Innovation at EP Summit

SusChem’s ideas on a value chain approach to innovation were to the fore at the 2nd European Innovation Summit held at the European Parliament on 11 – 14 October.

Two SusChem board members - Prof Rodney Townsend of the RSC (below) and Gernot Klotz, executive director R&I at Cefic - took part in a lively debate on Sustainable Production for the Quality of Life on Tuesday 12 October. The debate was hosted by Herbert Reul MEP, Chair of the parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE).

The fresh ‘SusChem thinking’ on innovation and sustainability offered by the chemical community stood out in this debate, which was moderated by journalist Alex Puissant.

Gernot Klotz emphasized that innovation was all about creating value for society from ideas – not necessarily research - and that there was a clear need to speed up innovation in Europe and play to our strengths. “If you are already leading, you can dominate the race,” he said. Playing catch-up is not such a good option.

Rodney Townsend agreed saying that SusChem was uniquely placed in Europe to be able to take a “step back” and look at the whole value chain to identify where innovation can help along the chain and help provide the innovative drive. Stimulating simultaneous innovation at a number of places long the chain could really accelerate innovation and reduce the time to get ideas into the marketplace.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Innovation Union launched

Today (October 6) the European Commission launched its Innovation Union communication and announced the initial projects under its Innovation Partnership initiative at a joint press conference with Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Vice President Antonio Tajani (below) in Brussels.

The Innovation Union Communication sets out a strategic approach to innovation with high-level political support that will focus the EU's efforts on challenges such as climate change, energy and food security.

A key element will be European Innovation Partnerships that will mobilise a wide spectrum of stakeholders to tackle societal challenges where Europe has the potential to become a world leader.

A pilot Partnership on active and healthy aging will be launched in early 2011. More Partnerships will follow in areas such as energy, "smart" cities and mobility, water efficiency, non-energy raw materials and sustainable and productive agriculture.

SusChem with the chemical, biotechnolology and process industries is looking forward to playing a significant part in the successful development of this initiative and is ready and willing to contribute to and, where appropriate, lead Innovation Partnerships with other sectors and societal stakeholders.

Chemical innovation is key to meeting the major challenges of modern societies. Innovation driven by Europe’s chemical industry is helping to ensure further progress in people’s quality of life.

SusChem - Your innovation partner
SusChem has already established a number of significant collaborative research initiatives that will contribute to innovative new products and processes. Personalised Healthcare and Quality of Life were specific focus areas in the original SusChem Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and subsequent Implementation Action Plan (IAP).

SusChem, with the support of the chemical industry, has already proposed a number of possible topics for Innovation Partnerships in areas that are essential to the EU2020 Strategy such as resource efficiency, sustainable mobility, construction and low carbon society. SusChem has a excellent track record of working with other key players and technology platforms along the value chain.

“Innovation is about exploiting knowledge and ideas for the benefit of society,” said Rodney Townsend, recent Chairman of the SusChem board. “SusChem greatly supports the establishment of Innovation Partnerships, in parallel with a comprehensive European research policy, as key to the future competitiveness of Europe.”

“To achieve the integrated sustainable solutions that society desires will require working along the full value chain concurrently. This means that to speed up innovation in Europe, innovation must be simultaneously started at various stages in the value chain. This can create a competitive edge by reducing time-to-market and ensuring the end results delivered to society are comprehensive, practical solutions,” Townsend continues. “Successful societal implementation needs an integrated approach using innovative business models that include non-technology and governance contributions. Collaboration between different industry sectors is the only way forward and the chemical industry is ready to take the lead to tackle societal challenges.”

Other elements of the Innovation Union - a flagship of the Europe 2020 Strategy - include the establishment of an Innovation Union Scoreboard, new measures to improve access to finance, a stepping up of existing research initiatives, a major research programme on public sector and social innovation, dedicated budgets for public procurement of innovative products and services, and the modernisation of Europe's intellectual property regime amongst ten main elements.

Further details can be found at the EU's Innovation Union website.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

2010 Brokerage Part Two: Projects, partners, networking

With military precision the SusChem brokerage event yesterday (20 September) in Brussels successfully brought together dozens of potential FP7 project proposals and ideas with a wide variety of collaborative research expertise and experience from across Europe.

Opening the event at the Hotel Bloom in Brussels SusChem coordinator Ger Spork told the capacity crowd of delegates that “this is very much your event.” He reminded them of the many opportunities to make contact with collaborators provided throughout the day and the main aim: “to support chemistry and industrial biotechnology to take up the opportunities in the FP7 2011 call for projects.” He wished all delegates a “creative, dynamic and successful day.”

Ron Weerdmeester of PNO outlined the day’s programme and also the follow-up process. Two formal presentations sessions before and after lunch covered specific project proposals and expressions of interest or expertise respectively. With each session involving around a dozen individual presentations good time-keeping was essential. The formal presentations were followed by a speed networking / speed dating session and a parallel poster/ networking event.

Follow up
Following the brokerage event all the presentations will be published on the members’ area of the SusChem website and may be published on the public site if the presenters wish.

Delegates can also request for a specific partner search to fill expertise gaps in their project by contacting PNO via Ron Weerdmeester or Pablo Garcia Tello.

Finally PNO can support validation of a project outline description either through the Grant-It website (for Cefic members only) or by submission of a project concept in a template that will be sent to participants after the event by email. This later option is open to both Cefic members and others.

For more information, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

SusChem Brokerage 2010 - Second Phase

On 20 September SusChem will organise the second part of its 2010 FP7 brokerage programme at the Hotel Bloom (right) in Brussels.

The first part of the 2010 Brokerage programme was held on 4 June and involved European Commission officers describing the content and objectives of four relevant FP7 funding programmes for the chemical industry: NMP, KBBE, ENERGY and ENVIRONMENT.

In parallel Cefic has developed with the support of PNO Consultants an on-line grant information tool called GRANT-IT, to provide easy access to all relevant EU funding opportunities.

“The overall aim of this integrated approach is to prepare the chemical industry and the SusChem community in a timely way for the upcoming calls for proposals that have submission deadlines at the end of 2010,” explains Ron Weerdmeester of PNO.

The second event on 20 September will be targeted at brokering and matching partners around FP7 emerging project ideas and proposals that are under preparation. More than 50 participants from large chemical corporates (including Dow, Solvay, Rhodia, BASF, DSM and UMICORE amongst others), research institutes (for example VITO, Dresden University and TNO) and cluster organisations (Cefic, Essenscia, EuropaBio, Dechema and VNCI) will join together to present and discuss their interest to participate to specific FP7 projects.

Following a brief introduction by SusChem coordinator Ger Spork of Cefic and an overview of the process from Ron Weerdmeester, the morning sessions will focus on participants presenting project ideas and their expressions of interest.

Expressions of interest
A large number of expressions of interest have already been received covering a range of interesting FP7 topics such as:
• Active nanomembrane/-filters/-adsorbents for efficient water treatment,
• Smart and multifunctional packaging concepts utilizing nanotechnology ,
• Large-scale green and economical synthesis of nanoparticles and nanostructures
• Multiscale Modelling as a tool for Virtual Nanotechnology
• Materials for new energy efficient building components with reduced embodied energy
• The Eco-Factory: cleaner and more resource-efficient production in manufacturing
• BioWASTE - Novel biotechnological approaches for transforming industrial and/or municipal biowaste into bioproducts

The afternoon sessions will be dedicated to “speed-dating” in which participants will meet with possible project partners around these and other dedicated FP7 topics.

“The purpose of this activity is to facilitate the direct networking with potential interested partners that can contribute to your project idea,” explains Ron.

For more information and registration, please visit the Brokerage page on the SusChem website.

KBBE 2020

The Knowledge Based Bio-Economy towards 2020 conference that took place in Brussels on 13 and 14 September saw biotechnology experts and policy-makers discuss real-world solutions to a variety of societal challenges. And SusChem representation was well to the fore.

Opening the presentations European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (below) said: "The Belgian Presidency and the Commission are in complete agreement about the need for a more coherent approach to the bio-economy in the EU, and this conference is an important step. The bio-economy has the potential to address many of the things Europeans care most about: food security, reducing the environmental impact of agriculture and industry, providing healthy food at affordable cost, supporting coastal and rural development, reducing and recycling of bio-waste."

The European Commission will publish by the end of 2011 a more coherent approach to biotechnology research, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn told the conference.

The communication will “[outline] a European strategy to develop a sustainable knowledge-based Bio-Economy, integrated into overall European policy, and linked to the Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies, and our Industrial and Environmental policies,” she said.

The communication will also propose an agenda for delivering the strategy, detailing the specific steps needed at European, national and regional levels to achieve its goals.

“Today, Europe has a strong life sciences and biotechnology research base to support the development of a sustainable and smart Bio-Economy. It has a leading position in chemical and enzyme industries and a fast growing biotechnologies sector. However, a lot of work still needs to be done in order to fully exploit the potential of the sector today and ensure that Europe remains competitive tomorrow,” she commented.

EuropaBio policy guide
To coincide with the KBBE 2020 conference SusChem partner EuropaBio has published a policy guide ‘Building a Bio-based Economy for Europe in 2020’. The guide describes what a bio-based economy would look like and the driving forces behind such a move, before outlining the key priorities and actions needed to make it happen.

“Europe is at the forefront of industrial biotechnology and the bio-based economy,” commented Ian Hudson, Chair of EuropaBio’s Industrial Biotech Council, “But we need the right policies and focus to develop and implement a clear strategy. Now is the time for our regulators and decision makers to make some bold regulatory moves. We must focus on developing and applying an integrated and holistic approach towards our competitiveness and sustainability to make sure Europe has the world’s leading bio-based economy for 2020.”

SusChem Belgium
Belgian Minister for Science and Innovation Ingrid Lieten stated that European regions and member states such as Flanders are taking action to implement the bio-economy in a public private partnership with stakeholders. The chemical industry in Flanders has launched a strategy for greening industrial processes and production via the newly created SusChem Flanders technology platform.

The Minister also highlighted the € 21 million euro INTERREG project Bio Base Europe. On the first day of the conference delegates were able to visit a number of industrial biotechnology sites in the Ghent region including the pilot plant facility of this SusChem associated project. Conference delegates are pictured outside the Bio Base plant building below.

SusChem board member Wim Soetaert co-chaired one of the Thursday conference sessions on innovative bio-based products at KBBE 2020 and is a leading figure in the Bio Base Europe project. His conference session looked at the role of bio-based products in greening industry by the replacement of conventional fossil fuel based raw materials with bio-based alternatives.

For more information on KBBE 2020 organised by the Belgian Presidency of the EU, including more images and presentations from the various sessions, please visit the conference website.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

IndTech2010 profiles SusChem ambitions

The European Commission’s Industrial Technologies 2010 conference and Exhibition on September 7-9 proved to be a valuable platform for SusChem to engage with policy-makers and potential collaborative partners.

Speaking on the last day of the three-day event at Brussels’s Tour & Taxis site, SusChem coordinator and Cefic Innovation Manager Ger Spork said: “SusChem had a very strong presence in the conference and exhibition and our message was clear - SusChem is ready and able to take an active role in shaping and contributing to programmes under the Commission’s Europe 2020 initiative.”

The Europe 2020 initiative is looking to drive the EU economy towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. In his presentation to the conference Ger (right) had outlined the SusChem approach which combines definition of strategic research needs, deployment of large demonstration or proof of concept projects, and implementation.

“This final implementation stage involves the addressing of non-technical and non-financial challenges to the market implementation of sustainable innovations,” explains Ger. “To successfully get to rapid market implementation must, in our view, require a collaborative public-private approach that includes input from the full value chain. This is clearly an enhanced collaborative dimension that SusChem is ready to drive with strong support from the chemical industry.”

“With respect to Europe 2020, SusChem’s four focus areas are ‘Quality of Life’, clean environment and water, low carbon society, and economic prosperity,” he continues. “These fit well with some of the potential Innovation Partnerships described by the Commission such as critical raw materials, water efficient Europe, and low carbon cities.”

“SusChem has already outlined four of its own proposals for public-private partnerships to the Commission in areas that are essential to the Europe 2020 strategy and where the chemical community is ready to take a lead,” concludes Ger. “The four areas are sustainable urban construction, sustainable individual mobility in large cities, resource efficiency in processing, and energy for a low carbon society; all designed as modular concepts to enable effective alignment with priority policy initiatives.”

F3 factory
SusChem board member Klaus Sommer (below) presented on the F3 factory at the conference. He described the SusChem-inspired project as a major coordinated effort between industry and academia to boost the competitiveness of chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Europe. This four year, 25 partner project provides a critical mass involving contributions along the value chain to meet the scale of the technical challenge. And it is deploying interdisciplinary teams addressing complex issues to create and demonstrate new process concepts.

He summarised the F3 project as a collaboration that enables all its partners to get farther and faster, together.

Klaus also stressed that many aspects around Sustainable Chemistry can integrate very well with up- and downstream partner industries and other process industries. The chemistry industry is a key component in very many value chains.

Commenting on the conference, Klaus said: “What I find important is that this interaction with the Commission is really strong. That we feel that we understand what the plans of the Commission are, but the Commission also hears the input that people from different corners of the industry give to the Commission.”

SusChem Board member Martina Bianchini also gave a short presentation on SusChem as part of her chairperson and moderator role for the conference session ‘Towards Environmentally Sustainable Production’.

As usual the SusChem stand (see below) with its interactive Smart Energy Home and F3 exhibits was also a very popular part of the exhibition area with SusChem representatives having to field a large number of queries over the three days.

For more information on the Industrial Technologies 2010 Conference, please visit the conference website.

All photos copyright ©2010 Mark Florquin

Monday, 6 September 2010

SusChem at major EU Industrial Technologies event

SusChem will be actively supporting the European Commission’s major Industrial Technologies 2010 conference and exhibition that is taking place in Brussels from 7 to 9 September at the Tour & Taxis site.

SusChem board member Martina Bianchini of Dow will be chairing and presenting at one of the conference sessions (D1) on Environmental Sustainable Production on the first day of the conference. This session also includes contributions from fellow Technology Platforms the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP) and the European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP) plus Inbicon the biorefinery company.

Also on September 7 SusChem board member Klaus Sommer of Bayer will present on the SusChem F3 Factory project and SusChem ideas for a Sustainable Production Public Private Partnership (PPP) in session C2. This session covers new approaches for emerging and traditional industrial sectors.

Finally Ger Spork, Innovation Manager at Cefic, will present on SusChem’s Technology Roadmaps including outlining SusChem plans to address major societal challenges during session G1 on September 8.

In addition SusChem will have a significant presence in the exhibition area on all three days of the event. The SusChem stand will feature both the F3 and Smart Energy Home demonstration tools.

Great platform
“This conference is a great platform for SusChem to demonstrate its plans and potential to contribute to addressing major societal challenges,” says Ger Spork. “We have the support of the chemical industry in this initiative and our approach fits well with the EU’s 2020 policy development and related initiatives.”

The Industrial Technologies 2010 conference is organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the Belgian EU presidency with a focus on the nanotechnologies, materials and production technologies that are key areas of the FP7 NMP theme.

The conference aims to address the need for innovation within European industry and look at obstacles that hinder innovation. A second major theme will be outlining future perspectives for industry with the new technologies and materials that are being developed. Finally the conference will survey the social, environmental sustainability and competitiveness perspectives of European manufacturing industry.

Ger Spork also sees the conference as an opportunity to reinforce contacts with potential partners for PPP and Innovation Partnership developments. “We will be networking during the three days with fellow technology platforms and other partners to discuss and look for alignment between our programme proposals,” he concludes.

For more information on the Industrial Technologies 2010 Conference, please visit the conference website.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

SusChem Flanders helps celebrate Solvay anniversary

SusChem Flanders and the Flanders Strategic Initiative for Sustainable Chemistry (FISCH) will be helping to celebrate 40 years of industrial activities by Solvay in Antwerp at the end of September.

Solvay is holding a three-day event on ‘Sustainability and Innovation at its facility at Lillo in the Antwerp port area. As part of this event SusChem Flanders/ FISCH is hosting an afternoon meeting on 24 September in collaboration with the Flemish Government and essenscia flanders. SusChem Flanders was launched in April this year.

The two themes of the meeting are ‘cluster intensification’ and ‘sustainable development’ in the Antwerp harbour region.

At the meeting Christiane Malcorps and Jean-Marc Chamberland of Solvay will discuss the importance of FISCH/SusChem Flanders to Solvay and the chemical cluster in Antwerp and Flemish Innovation Minister Ingrid Lieten will address how innovation and support policies can support the cluster amongst other speakers.

Eight SusChem projects
In the final part of the programme delegates will be introduced to eight significant socially relevant SusChem/FISCH projects that have just been launched. These are on micro algae as a feedstock, microprocessing technology, separation technology, renewable chemicals, valorization of waste and side streams, an open innovation-infrastructure cluster, a sustainable chemistry knowledge centre, and Hexagon – a meeting and visitor centre where the public can find out more about the impact of sustainable chemistry on society.

To find out more about the Solvay/SusChem Flanders event and the eight SusChem projects, please contact Carl Van der Auwera (essenscia flanders).

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Matthias Beller wins new European Sustainable Chemistry Award

SusChem board member Matthias Beller has been chosen as the first winner of the European Sustainable Chemistry Award an initiative launched this year by the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS).

Prof. Beller will receive the award at the 3rd EuCheMS European Chemistry Congress in Nürnberg, Germany on Sunday 29 August 2010.

Matthias Beller is Director of the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock, Germany (LIKAT), and has been recognised for his exceptional research in the field of homogeneous catalysis. His main research focus is on investigating the environmentally sustainable conversion of small molecules into recyclable or reusable materials.

Ger Spork, Innovation manager at CEFIC, and on behalf of SusChem, congratulated Prof. Beller saying: “Catalysis is a key technology for sustainable chemistry and Matthias has made some outstanding contributions to European research in this area. We are very pleased to have a SusChem Board member receiving this recognition.”

Catalyst for sustainability
In the past decade alone, Matthias Beller and his team have developed three catalyst systems that are already being applied in industry to produce valuable materials on a large scale (tonnes). “This is something uncommon that academic research goes straight into industrial application,” says Beller.

Matthias Beller has also conducted fundamental research that has inspired numerous other academic groups around the world. “Catalysis is the science that tries to explain how chemical reactions can be accelerated and controlled,” he says. “It is not only important for the chemical industry but also for the life sciences, environmental and energy applications.”

The main interest of his work has been the use of precious metal catalysts, such as palladium, in a variety of catalysed reactions.

In the field of synthesis for new pharmaceutical ingredients, Matthias Beller’s research group has worked on the regioselective addition of amines to double bonds and carbonylation reactions. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, the research has helped to develop new analgesics, anti-Alzheimer active ingredients and kinase inhibitors.

Bio-inspired catalysis
More recently he has been active in the development of new catalysts based on bio-relevant metals, especially iron, that are cheaper and more available than precious metal equivalents. “These ‘bio-inspired’ catalysts have not yet been implemented in industry,” explains Beller. “But nature shows that these metals can be used as biocatalysts in a very efficient manner.”

An example of this ‘bio-inspired’ catalysis is Beller’s recent work on hydrogen production using bio-relevant, or biomass-derived compounds, or water. “One of the most efficient catalysts that nature has developed are iron and iron/nickel hydrogenases,” explains Beller. “Very recently we have developed an iron-based hydrogenase that catalyses the production of hydrogen from formic acid .”

Formic acid is a major product of biomass processing and could be a stable and widely available carrier for hydrogen for use in fuel cells and other clean energy applications. The new catalyst is cheap and activated by visible light to liberate hydrogen at room temperature.

“Hydrogen production is very important to the chemical industry but is also of major interest for energy applications,” says Beller. “In combination with fuel cell technologies hydrogen can deliver a very clean form of energy.”

For more information visit the EuCheMS website.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Record-breaking FP7 calls announced

The latest calls in the European Commission’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) announced today (July 20) cover research and innovation projects worth some €6.4 billion.

Discussing the calls at a press briefing on 19 July Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “Investment in research and innovation is the only smart and lasting way out of crisis and towards sustainable and socially equitable growth. This European package will contribute to new and better products and services, a more competitive and greener Europe, and a better society with a higher quality of life.”

The project calls focus on the big economic and societal challenges: climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population. The calls will cover both research and innovation actions.

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn sees the package as a key element within the EU's Europe 2020 Strategy and in particular the Innovation Union flagship initiative, which she will be launching in autumn 2010.

51 calls
A total of 51 FP7 calls were announced on the Cordis website on 20 July. From a SusChem perspective the new calls include €270 million allocated to the NMP area with a focus on research that could lead to patenting and commercialisation opportunities, the building up of the knowledge based bio-economy in Europe is supported with €240 million and a total of €210 million is devoted for energy research. €436 million will be devoted to the generation of innovative industrial products, processes and services.

Material for environmental friendly production receives a budget of €210 million. Development of new materials for energy generation, storage and efficiency is allocated €145 million. The three public-private partnerships launched in the automotive, construction and manufacturing sectors will be allocated €130 million.

Environmental research projects will get about €205 million. In this area the Commission is introducing steps to speed up sharing of environmental research results. Beneficiaries of EU funding from this environmental call will be obliged to make their research findings freely available via publication after an agreed embargo period.

For more information see the Commissioner's press release and accompanying memo.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Key Enabling Technologies for sustainable European industry

The inaugural meeting of the European Commission’s High Level Group (HLG) on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) took place in the Berlaymont building in Brussels today (13 July 2010). The chemical industry, and the wider chemistry community, is committed to playing an active role in the deliberations of this vital strategic initiative for European competitiveness and innovation policy.

The HLG is an initiative of Commission vice-president Antonio Tajani (enterprise and industry) with the active support of vice-president Neelie Kroes (digital agenda) and commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn (research and innovation).

At the opening meeting Antonio Tajani said: “Most of the goods and services that will be available in 5 to 10 years are yet unknown, but surely they will be based on key enabling technologies. The advice of the high-level expert group as to how to deploy these key enabling technologies is crucial for the renewal of our industrial base.”

The Group consists of representatives of key Member States and various industry high level executives, including Wolfgang Plischke, Cefic Vice-President and Bayer Board member. “We are committed to actively contribute to shaping and implementing concrete actions for the deployment of these technologies into value for society”, he commented.

Suschem board member Gernot Klotz (second right above), executive director of Cefic R&I, who attended the initial meeting for Dr. Plischke commented: “Looking at the value chain from the chemical industry perspective brings you different angles and new opportunities for breakthrough solutions that can benefit innovation in many sectors, for instance flat screens, imaging, lighting, data storage, sensors, lightweight cars or self-cleaning surfaces.”

As SusChem is already showing, new innovative ways of working together between various industry sectors and public bodies are key to turning these technologies into competitive advantage for Europe.

The HLG exercise should ease the path for other emerging technologies. What is valid for nanotech or biotech today could be deployed to ensure rapid market application for all future technologies.

KET HLG role
Establishing the KET HLG was the main recommendation of the Commission’s Communication ‘Preparing for our future: Developing a common strategy for key enabling technologies in the EU’ published at the end of September last year. The importance of Key Enabling Technologies was also underlined in the recent Europe 2020 strategy communication.

The group will assess the competitive situation of the relevant thematic technology areas, including nanotechnology, micro and nanoelectronics, photonics, advanced materials, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing systems, with a particular focus on industrial deployment and their potential to contribute to addressing the major challenges facing society.

The HLG will then analyse the available public and private R&D capacities for KETs in the EU and propose specific policy recommendations for more effective industrial deployment. The group is expected to consider many policy aspects including innovation, technology transfer, joint programming, state aid, climate change, public procurement, international cooperation, trade policy, financing and skills. A report outlining policy recommendations will be the main deliverable of the Group.

A list of members of the HLG is available.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

SusChem relevant calls in FP7- July 2010

Following the SusChem Info day on June 4 covering the forthcoming Summer 2010 calls in FP7 a spreadsheet describing calls with relevance to SusChem in the KBBE, NMP, Energy and Environment themes has been collated.

The spreadsheet can be downloaded here. The spreadsheet includes theme, area and individual call information, a brief description of the research topic itself, the type of funding scheme (large-scale , small-scale etc.), and the likely deadline for initial submission of a project proposal to the Commission.

The sheet also includes details of contact details from the Info Day of people who have expressed an interest in this area and an area for project notes and comments.

For more information, or if you want to express an interest in collaborating in any of the projects, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Hybrid report delivered to EC

A report compiling the conclusions from the successful SusChem/ DPI Hybrid Materials workshop held in March was officially handed over to the European Commission on Wednesday 9 June.

Present at the meeting in the Commission's Champs de Mars offices in Brussels were (from left to right in the picture below) John van Haare from the Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI), Renzo Tomellini, Head of Unit for 'Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies' at DG Research European Commission, Ger Spork Innovation Manager at Cefic/ Suschem, Helge Wessel of DG Research, and Jacques Joosten from DPI.

Common trends
The report highlights the conclusions from the intensive workshop sessions in Luxembourg that covered future materials needs in five key sectors: automotive; solar energy; solid state lighting; civil engineering; and aviation and aerospace.

The workshop aimed to identify technical hurdles and potential technology bottlenecks; capture new ideas; define potential R&D projects; and prioritise those projects.

A number of common technology trends or requirements were identified across the five sectors including better energy management (in terms of consumption, conservation and generation), improved and cost effective hybrid materials and better prediction tools.

Material needs
The report lists some desirable characteristics and functionality that new hybrid materials should possess. These include light weight but with sufficient mechanical properties, smart capabilities such as sensing, self-monitoring, self-cleaning, self-healing etc, resistance to corrosion, wear, UV and moisture, the capability to generate or store energy, halogen-free flame retardancy, be easier to recycle as useful devices, be low-cost and/ or produced from renewable resources.

New multi scale modeling tools are needed to help predict material properties, optimise structural design and the lifetime of different devices amongst other tasks. High throughput screening tests are also needed for assessing different materials and their properties, and validation tools are needed to shorten the time needed to evaluate new hybrid materials to replace existing components.

In terms of manufacturing and recycle processes the workshop is looking to standardised evaluation processes to make, assemble and disassemble hybrid materials and to help in scale-up of materials to industrial quantities. Improved life cycle analysis and recyclability is required, as is lower manufacturing and recycle process costs.

Finally fundamental studies are needed to investigate the influence of molecular structure on material properties, compatibility between different hybrid materials, and interface properties between hybrid materials.

The full report is available to download from the SusChem website. For further information, please contact the suschem secretariat.

Monday, 7 June 2010

SusChem Brokerage 2010 – First Phase

For the 2010 FP7 calls SusChem is taking a multi-step brokerage process. The first stage was undertaken on 4 June in Brussels with an Information Day highlighting SusChem-relevant parts in the current FP7 draft calls and a briefing on collaboration building and other non-FP7 opportunities for funding.

Ron Weerdmeester of PNO (left) outlined the new Grant-it service that is available for Cefic member companies to help them navigate the maze of EU funding opportunities and facilitate consortium building.

A second full brokerage event will be staged in Brussels on September 20 after the final calls have been published but well before the deadlines for proposal submission.

Ger Spork (below) outlined SusChem strategy in the short to medium term. Innovation and a full ‘value chain approach’ were key elements – but Ger emphasized that SusChem was still very much committed to research.

The primary aim is to address societal challenges by creating sustainable chemistry solutions that use the value chain to connect new (and existing) technology with innovation to ensure societal implementation. One aspect of this approach is a drive towards programmes, via public private partnerships (PPPs), that connect value chain related industry partners with academia, centres of expertise and also include regions to ensure actual proof of concept or demonstration in real-life conditions. This would require efective use of the SusChem network of national platforms and concret linkage between all elements in the SusChem work plan.

He highlighted the Hybrid workshop undertaken in March 2010 that investigated the chemical materials needs for five value chain sectors. A formal report on the meeting will be published on the SusChem website soon. Engagement with other technology platforms in areas where chemistry plays an important role was also a key element of SusChem strategy.

A final element was the inclusion of training and education in the SusChem plan to fully address the knowledge triangle.

Draft calls
Frederic Gouarderes of DG Research outlined the draft proposals for the forthcoming FP7 call in the NMP area. The focus was on smart, sustainable, inclusive growth as described in the EU Recovery package otherwise known as the ‘2020 Strategy’.

He noted that there were calls across 46 topics for 2010 and that the total annual budget for NMP for the 2010 calls was increased compared to that for 2009. The total for NMP is €450 million including topics in the recovery package PPPs (Factory of the Future, Green Cars and Energy Efficient Buildings). The budget would continue to increase towards the end of FP7.

Frederic described the individual topics in detail and SusChem-relevant topics across all the calls described at the Information Day have been collated in an Excel spreadsheet that can be downloaded at the SusChem website.

The final calls should be published at the end of July. The selection for NMP will be two-stage with a first stage submission deadline of (probably) 4 November and probable second stage deadline of 19 April 2011.

Maria Fernandez Gutierrez described the 2010 calls for KBBE. In the main industrial biotechnology area the indicative budget for the 2010 call was just over € 70 million and Maria outlined some 17 call topics of general interest to SusChem stakeholders. The selection process for the calls would be single stage with the deadline for submission probably 25 January 2011.

Finally Alexis Bazzanella of Dechema outlined the relevant topic calls in the environment and energy calls. All presenters emphasised the need for delegates to check carefully the final texts of the call as they are published at the end of July.

Life+ etc
Ron Weerdmeester gave a brief overview of other EU funding opportunities such as LIFE+ and eco-innovation that are part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP). Both these later programmes could be undertaken without the need for partners. He also described other aspects of FP7 such as the ICT calls and elements of the FP7 People programme.

Ron gave examples of successful case studies and encouraged delegates to think wider for funding opportunities. A particular example is the Marie Curie Actions funding that has a specific programme for industrial partners to work with academics often with only two or three partners: the Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) scheme. The IAPP scheme was valuable in its own right as a research vehicle, but could also be used to build the basis for later, more extensive collaborative programmes.

After lunch a number of parallel workshops on the various specific calls were organised followed by a plenary feedback session.

Finally delegates were reminded of the SusChem Brokerage Day to be held on 20 September in Brussels.

All the presentations made during the SusChem Info Day 2010 are available and will be sent to participants. For more information contact the SusChem secretariat.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

SusChem talks innovation at EP

SusChem representatives will discuss how to speed up innovation in Europe through value chain partnerships at a lunchtime event at the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels on June 2.

The SusChem event will be hosted by Austrian MEP Paul Rübig (below) who is a member of the EP’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

With the EU2020 vision calling for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and modernisation of EU Instruments and ways of thinking, this SusChem debate will aim to demonstrate how the platform is inspiring collective collaboration for innovation along the value chain in the context of current policy developments.

Following a welcoming speech by Paul Rübig, Prof Rodney Townsend of the Royal Society of Chemistry and SusChem chairman will outline SusChem’s strategic direction and then SusChem board member Dr. Paul-Joel Derian of Rhodia will discuss how innovation in Europe can be speeded up.

Finally The European Commission’s Director for Industrial Technologies at DG Research, Herbert Von Bose, will consider the role of European Technology Platforms in the EU 2020 vision, before concluding remarks from Paul Rübig.

The floor will then be open for debate which will focus on what is already happening in the innovation roadmap including best practices and the challenges ahead, and why European Technology Platforms are of key importance for driving innovation along the value chain. The EP has a critical role in ensuring that an appropriate the framework for innovation to flower in Europe is put in place.

For more information, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Cefic launches new EU grant service

Cefic has just announced its new Grant-it service. The Grant-it initiative is designed to help Cefic member companies to navigate the maze of EU funding opportunities and increase participation by the chemical industry in EU research and innovation programmes.

In a video announcing the new Grant-it service Christian Jourquin, CEO of Solvay and Cefic president encouraged Cefic companies to access this free initiative to achieve the common goal of increasing the competitiveness of the chemical industry through innovation.

In a related editorial Dr. Wolfgang Pilschke,a member of the Bayer board, Cefic vice president and chair of Cefic's Research & Innovation Programme Council described Grant-it as a major step to help its members access EU innovation funds.

"Grant-it is a new service that will provide a single access to pre‐filtered information for the chemical industry," he said. "Clear and concise, this will cover all major European grants. It will help turn ideas into concrete projects."

Best funding
The scheme will allow companies to identify the best suited funding (for example FP reseach framework programmes, structural funds or SME related) according to their specific needs and profile. Grant-it can also give initial guidance and advice on consortium building for projects.

Although this free service is restricted to Cefic member companies, SusChem project consortia involving Cefic members can also seek advice through this initiative.

For more information on the Grant-it service contact Ger Spork, Innovation Manager at Cefic.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

SusChem Info Day - June 4

With the 2011 work programmes and calls for proposals for FP7 available very soon, SusChem is organising an Infoday on June 4 at the Hotel Bloom in Brussels. The meeting will describe the new draft calls in Nanosciences, nanotechnology, Materials and new Production Technologies (NMP), Environment, the Knowledge Based Bio-Economy (KBBE), Energy, and Transport with potential interest for the chemical and process industries.

Participants will gain an overview of the upcoming calls and be able to attend interactive Q&A sessions and workshops with networking opportunities with potential partners and experienced, successful FP7 collaborators.

The morning will kick-off with an introduction to the 2010 SusChem Brokerage programme and an update on the SusChem Research and Innovation Workplan. This will be followed by presentations from European Commission officials on the 2011 calls.

In the afternoon parallel poster and brokerage workshop sessions will be held with a final plenary feedback session. The full agenda and registration for the event is available on the SusChem website.

The following SusChem Brokerage Event is scheduled for September 20, 2010. For more information contact the SusChem secretariat.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Rethinking Water in the European Voice

On the same day (12 May) that Ger Spork, Innovation Manager at Cefic and Suschem coordinator presents on the joint efforts of SusChem and the European Technology Platform for Water at the the ETP 2010 conference ‘Working together on societal challenges’ SusChem has published a supporting advert (see above) on the joint initiative in the influential European Voice newspaper.

For further details of the joint initiative and to obtain a copy of the SusChem presentation at ETP 2010 please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Friday, 7 May 2010

SusChem at ETP2010

SusChem will be will be heavily involved with the ETP 2010 conference ‘Working together on societal challenges’ that is taking place in Brussels on 11-12 May.

The conference aims to engage European Technology Platforms (ETPs) in working together on key areas of common interest that contribute to tackling societal challenges. The programme includes 16 parallel sessions that cover a wide range of topics from decarbonising transport to healthy eating and addresses horizontal matters such as linkages with national research authorities and public private partnerships.

The two-day conference will bring together 350 invited delegates from industry, academia, civil society, EU member-states and Commission departments to discuss the opportunities to collaborate in addressing societal challenges and to exchange experiences and best practices in innovation.

As well as contributing in general to the wide-ranging debates Gernot Klotz of Cefic will be chairing Session 4 of the Conference on ‘Greening industrial processes’ that takes place on May 12 and Ger Spork, Innovation manager at Cefic will be making a joint presentation on SusChem’s collaboration with the Water ETP on the same day. Other SusChem related presentations include contributions from Marcel Wubbolts of DSM in the ‘Towards a Zero-Waste Society' session, and a presentation on the BioChem innovation initiative.

Other SusChem representatives will include board members Peter Nagler of Evonik and Martina Bianchini from Dow, and from the SusChem Management Team Bernhard Schleich of Evonik, Camille Burel from EuropaBio and Sophie Wilmet from Cefic.