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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.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

SusChem in Lyon: Clear goals, clearly communicated

Delegates to the 8th SusChem Stakeholder event held in Lyon, France on 4 May were told that Europe is in the business of smart, sustainable, inclusive growth and that the chemical community is a key partner in this. Applying the benefits of SusChem research through its innovation initiative is a key priority and SusChem will be working through the remainder of 2010 to prioritise the best candidates for future Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) that could be taken forward under FP8 from 2014.

In his keynote address Prof. Rodney Townsend, the Chairman of the SusChem Board, reminded delegates of SusChem’s success in promoting sustainable chemical and biotechnology research and innovation in FP7. “It is a big programme …with some €800 million in FP7 currently,” he said. “But now we are doing much more than research – we are not just a technology platform - we are looking at the big picture.”

Townsend stressed a new approach based on “partnership, looking at the whole system (or value chain) and bringing integrated thinking to provide sustainable solutions to society’s challenges” as the platform’s key objective.

He sees SusChem in partnership with government, industry and society, working through instruments such as Lead Market Initiatives (LMIs) and PPPs that assess the whole supply and value chain across thematic programmes using research, development and innovation to implement the sustainable changes required. These sustainable solutions might not always be only technological in nature.

This process is informed by the recommendations of the European Commission’s High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the Chemical Industry in Europe and Expert Group on European Technology Platforms (ETPs) that looked to strengthen the role of ETPs in addressing societal challenges and also boosting educational aspects.

The thematic programmes would address societal challenges that have significant innovation contribution requirements from chemistry. A first wave of themes was on the agenda for the Lyon meeting: Energy, Environment and Water. A second wave could include health and food.

SusChem’s priority goal was to develop an Innovation Implementation Action Plan (I2AP) by the end of 2010 that outlined a few potential themes for major PPPs that would be proposed to the Commission as part of FP8.

Such PPPs would integrate new research and available technologies to achieve full (pre-competitive) societal implementation including demonstration and proof of concept projects. The initiatives would address technology and non technology barriers for implementation that can overcome challenges to market and societal introduction. This should also include a strong communication and engagement role that was public-facing to assist and guide implementation.

Townsend outlined the numerous collaborations that were already in place for SusChem, including the collaboration with the Water ETP, sustainable production (where a white paper had recently been delivered to the Commission), sustainable construction, and nanotechnology.

SusChem was now a research and innovation technology platform with a developing policy on education. He concluded by stating that SusChem was “about thinking big …about changing things”.

The EC view
Herbert von Bose, the Director for Industrial Technologies at DG Research, outlined the European Commission’s approach to the current economic crisis: the 2020 initiative. “Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – green but competitive” was at the core of the initiative and “chemistry was in the centre of all this … without chemistry we would go nowhere”, he said, “SusChem is one of the key actors in the transition to sustainability.”

Von Bose stressed the need for the transformation from resource-based to knowledge-based industry in Europe and the need to move more towards innovation in the Commission’s research programme.

Looking at the future for SusChem Von Bose agreed that SusChem’s Strategic Research Agenda “had involved massive participation and was a great success”. Chemistry and industrial biotechnology are enabling technologies which meant that SusChem is a very important – essential - partner for many potential PPPs but it was not yet a leading partner. SusChem needed to think about future possibilities for PPPs and this meant talking and working with other ETPs. He admitted this was not easy and was time-consuming but he noted that this was something that SusChem was already doing.

Von Bose said that there would be no new PPPs before 2014 (the start of FP8) but to significantly influence thinking on FP8 themes in the Commission the “window of opportunity” was this year.

Panel and workshop pointers
A lively panel discussion moderated by journalist Willy De Backer completed the morning session. The panel included (from left to right in the image below)Prof. Mike Matlosz of ENSIC in Nancy, Suschem board member Paul-Joel Derian from Rhodia, Herbert von Bose, Willy De Backer, Denis Bortzmeyer of Axelera and Horst Soboll: a prominent member of the Commission’s ETP Expert Group.

Their discussions covered how to foster the sustainable innovations needed to address the major challenges facing society, the necessity of building value chain collaborations, and how ETPs might find a role or indeed catalyse these major collaborations.

Following an active networking lunch delegates split into three parallel sessions to start the process of building value chain approaches to innovation in three sectors identified as the first wave for potential SusChem PPPs: energy, environment and water.

The results of the three sessions were presented in the final plenary session before Prof. Townsend’s final remarks and will form one basis for SusChem’s I2AP.

Earlier delegates were welcomed by Pierre-Jean Brochand, President of Dow France and a Member of l’Union des Industries Chimiques (UIC) executive committee who described French support for a strong “green and sustainable” chemical community.

For more information and to view the presentations made at the 8th SusChem Stakeholder event on the SusChem website.

Hybrid article

The latest issue of Chemistry and Industry (C&I) magazine contains a comprehensive article on the joint SusChem - DPI Hybrid Materials Workshop held in Luxembourg in early March.

The Hybrid Workshop article by C&I deputy editor Cath O' Driscoll is directly accessible via the C&I website. The same issue of C&I also contains a leader column by editor Neil Eisberg that links the Hybrid Workshop with a presentation made by Wolfgang Plischke of Bayer and vice president of Cefic in April to the European Parliament's Industry Research and Energy (ITRE) committee that called for one-third of EU research funding to be allocated to innovation projects in FP8.

SusChem: the Value Chain Approach

SusChem's chairman Prof. Rodney Townsend was interviewed by Alex Scott from Chemical Week at the very successful 8th SusChem Stakeholder event in Lyon on 4 May. In the video interview Rodney explains SusChem's future plans and aspirations.

A related article on the Lyon event is available to Chemical Week subscribers on their website.