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Thursday, 27 January 2011

New IYC Blog feature

As part of SusChem's celebration of International Year of Chemistry, we are introducing a new feature to the SusChem News Blog to promote some of our favourite chemistry and biotech blogs, websites and chemical writing around the world.

Links to our favourite sites are in the 'SusChem Favourite IYC Links' section in the right navigation. We will change the featured links on a regular basis with some of our favourites and new sites that we come across during 2011.

But if you have a recommendation, please do not hesitate to contact us with a suggestion for a link.

IYC marathon down under
To kick off the new section we present an Australian chemist, Magdeline Lum, who has has vowed to write a blog on an interesting piece of chemistry every day throughout International Year of Chemistry. She is keeping up so far! Support her efforts at the Chemistry 365 blog.

IYC launches today

Today (27 January) 2011 sees the official launch of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011) at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris.

SusChem will be celebrating IYC 2011 at its Stakeholder annual event to be held in the Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, the Netherlands on May 17. The meeting has already been recognized as an official IYC 2011 event.

SusChem will also be present at the two-day launch event in Paris in the exhibition area featuring the SusChem Smart Energy Home concept. The technology platform will be contributing enthusiastically to this year-long celebration of chemistry as the solution-provider for the challenges facing society today.

IYC 2011 is a joint initiative of UNESCO and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) under the unifying theme “Chemistry – our life, our future”: a sentiment that is at the heart of SusChem thinking.

Monday, 24 January 2011

FP7 rules simplified

European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn today (24 January 2011) announced three initiatives that will have an immediate impact on the administration of FP7 projects.

On her first day in office Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn had pledged to cut the red tape associated with EC Research Framework Programmes, and today she made a first delivery on that pledge.

At a press conference announcing the changes Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn stated: "We need to replace Kafka with common sense, we need to send red tape to the shredder, we need simple and clear rules, consistantly and rigourously applied."

The three changes announced today will save millions of Euros and provide better value for EU taxpayers she claimed.

“The changes outlined should significantly reduce the administrative burden involved in participation in FP7 projects - especially for SMEs,” commented Ger Spork, Innovation Manager at Cefic. “This in turn will encourage innovative SMEs along value chains to get involved with important collaborative research and innovation programmes in the future.”

Flexible, consistent
The first change will allow more flexibility in how staff costs are calculated and reported to the EC. Currently many organisations are obliged to establish parallel accounting systems simply to comply with FP7 reporting requirements. From now on EU research grant-holders can apply their normal accounting systems when requesting reimbursement. In addition special certificates setting out how payments for staff are calculated will no longer be required.

The second measure looks to encourage further involvement of SMEs. In young, small companies it is often the case that owner/ managers do not have a formal salary and this disqualifies them from recieving payments under FP7. Now a flat-rate payment system will be introduced that will allow their contribution to projects to be recognised. This will hopefully open up FP7 to many more dynamic SMEs.

The final element looks to build a consistent approach to the implementation of FP7 through the establishment of a steering group at Director-General level. A number of DGs and EC agencies are involved in managing FP7 activities and this has led to a diversity of management practices. The steering group will ensure that a single set of rules applies to all aspects of participation in FP7.

The Commissioner expects these simpler rules will be better respected and allow abuses to be easier to detect. These three changes can be immediately implemented under the Commission's own area of competence. The Commissioner also expects further simplifications under proposals that will need to be debated with the European Parliament and European Council.

A video of the press conference by Commissioner Quinn is
until 31 January 2011.

The press release on FP7 simplification is available here.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Paul-Joël Derian talks to International Innovation

An extensive interview with SusChem chairman Dr. Paul-Joël Derian has just been published in International Innovation.

In the interview Dr Derian describes SusChems's remit and impact, its current successes and looks forward to the future.

The full Q&A article can be accessed on the magazine's website. International Innovation is published by Research Media Ltd - Europe's leading portal for scientific dissemination.