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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.