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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

SusChem Stakeholder Event 2012 Announced

Save the date! SusChem has just announced that its 10th Annual Stakeholder Event will take place in Brussels on 17 - 18 April 2012. The event takes the theme 'Partnering for Sustainable Innovation through Chemistry' and will be held at the Diamant Business Centre and Conference Complex on the east side of the city.

As usual, the SusChem stakeholder meeting will be a high profile event and offer participants the latest insights on key topics such as water efficiency, sustainable processes, raw materials, smart cities and other areas where chemistry is playing a central role to develop sustainable solutions for society.

The SusChem event will offer plenty of networking opportunities and provide valuable information on European partnership programmes driven from the Innovation Union and Horizon 2020 objectives.

The 2012 stakeholder event will look to build on the game-changing 2011 event and further engage with value chain partners on concrete priority themes where sustainable chemistry has committed to promote partnerships and inspire innovation to achieve real growth in the EU.

Value chain solutions
No single component in today's complex value chain can deliver the comprehensive and timely solutions that society requires alone: we need to engage the whole value chain and SusChem is looking to deliver this. The 10th SusChem Stakeholder event will be a significant, dynamic, inspiring and productive step towards achieving this. Be there!

The preliminary programme and registration will be available soon via the main SusChem website. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the 2012 SusChem stakeholder event please contact the SusChem secretariat.

And don't forget to follow SusChem news via this blog and also via @suschem on Twitter.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Water Efficiency Workshop looks to ETPs for Innovation

Today (15 December), the next step towards the Water Efficiency European Innovation Partnership (EIP) took place at a workshop in Brussels organized by the European Commission. The event held at the EUREKA offices in Woluwe Saint Lambert highlighted possible innovative contributions to the EIP from SusChem and other European Technology Platforms (ETPs).

Under the Innovation Union flagship initiative of the European Union, the Commission’s DG Environment, in cooperation with DG Research and Innovation and other DGs, is developing a proposal for a candidate EIP on Water Efficiency. The objective of the Water Efficiency EIP is to develop innovative solutions for water related challenges and boost innovation to create a global leadership position for European water technology and services.

The 15 December workshop was one of a series of stakeholder consultations to help develop the EIP and was specifically targeted at relevant European Technology Platforms, including SusChem and the Water Supply and Sanitation ETP (WssTP), to discuss existing innovative solutions, develop a prioritization of areas in which innovative solutions need to be developed and identify where the activities of these ETPs and the EIP can support each other. Other topics included discussion of the optimal governance model for such an EIP.

SusChem solutions
The meeting was active, open and free discussion on priorities and possible research and innovation needs in the water sector. SusChem’s input was led by Cefic Innovation Manager Antonia Morales Perez.

“The meeting was very positive and constructive,” commented Antonia. “SusChem is determined to show leadership and to make a significant contribution to solving water issues by working with partners to pursue large-scale projects which can demonstrate real value for society.”

Water is one of four key innovation initiatives for SusChem. SusChem is looking to develop breakthrough technologies and provoke a paradigm shift in integrated water management systems. This essentially involves revaluing water as a precious raw material rather than a utility product: rethinking the traditional approach in order to avoid future competition for water supply between industry and citizens in, for example, urban areas.

Priority for Europe
In June 2011, the Council of the European Union concluded that 'while water availability and water quality are essential for sustainable development and green economy, waters face many threats including increasing trends of global population growth, urbanization, pollution, overexploitation, desertification and climate change.’ Due to these increasing challenges and greater demand for scarce water resources it has been estimated that a global water supply shortage of up to 40% may emerge by 2030.

To achieve water resources protection and sustainable water management the Council highlighted the importance of innovation to find sustainable solutions and invited the Commission to 'investigate an innovation partnership on water in close cooperation with the Member States, with a view to achieving sustainable and efficient use of water.'

The overarching visionary objective of the candidate EIP is that in 2020 Europe will have safe, available and affordable water supply and waste water treatment for all users in place, based on sustainable management of the water resources and the most innovative, competitive and cost effective solutions.

Following the current intense consultation period, it is hoped that a final blueprint for a Water Efficiency EIP could be published in an EC Communication in June 2012. This would be highly appropriate as 2012 has been declared as European Year of Water. Following endorsement by the European Council and European Parliament this could allow the EIP to become operational by early 2013.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Euro-Chemistry Summit in Strasbourg

On December 15 Euro-Chemistry, the new pan-European organisation representing chemistry funding agencies across the continent, is organizing a summit at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg to deliver a powerful message on how chemistry can help resolve the grand challenges facing the world today. SusChem will, of course, be there.

The summit will bring together stakeholders including chemistry performers, chemistry funders, chemical industry, policy makers (national & European level), international organizations, and non-European stakeholders such as the US National Science Foundation to discuss how funding for the vital work of chemistry can be improved.

SusChem board member Dr. Louis Vertegaal is President of Euro-Chemistry and will open the summit. He will be followed by Nobel Prize winner Prof Jean-Marie Lehn and Prof George Whitesides of Harvard University who will outline the grand challenges facing society. A policy viewpoint will be given by Catherine Trautmann, MEP.

Gernot Klotz of Cefic and SusChem will chair a round-table discussion on future funding. Further details of the summit programme can be accessed here.

Established in Autumn 2010, Euro-Chemistry brings together national research organizations and funding agencies to establish joint strategies for collaborative research and improved funding mechanisms for European research in chemistry.

Chemistry is one of the key driving forces behind the welfare development of our society and for the global competitiveness of the European economy. It is ready to help meet the grand challenges facing society today including environment, health, energy and materials. These challenges for chemistry go beyond what can be acheived at a national level and demand wider collaboration. European research organizations and funding agencies need to join forces to create the synergy required for such a challenge.

Euro-Chemistry will collaborate with other consortia including industry federations. European networks and technology platforms and scientific societies to help design the future of European chemistry. SusChem has observer status in Euro-Chemistry.

For more information on Euro-Chemistry download their brochure or contact the organization now.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Commission gets Chief Scientific Advisor

Yesterday (December 5) during the first Innovation Union Convention in Brussels, the appointement of Professor Anne Glover as the European Commission's first Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) was announced. Prof. Glover will provide high-level and independent scientific advice in all stages of EU policy development and delivery. She will also provide advice directly to President Barroso and give regular updates on major scientific and technological developments.

Prior to this appointement Prof. Anne Glover (right) has served as CSA for the devolved Scottish government in Edinburgh since August 2006. She holds a Personal Chair in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Aberdeen, and has honorary positions at the Rowett and Macaulay Institutes. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a member of the Natural Environment Research Council, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Most of Prof. Glover's academic career was spent at Aberdeen University where she had an active research group pursuing a variety of areas from microbial diversity to the development and application of biosensors for environmental monitoring and investigating how organisms respond to stress at the cellular level.

While announcing the appointment President Barroso praised Prof. Glover saying: "I believe her outstanding background and calibre will bring invaluable expertise to the Commission. She has a strong track record in leading the Scottish Science Advisory Committee which made her the standout candidate for this post."

Science for policy
The appointment of a CSA to the European Commission is a very welcome move and will hopefully lead to a strengthening of the scientific input to policy-making across the European Commission.

President Barroso announced his intention to appoint a CSA in September 2009. Prof. Anne Glover will report directly to the President with administrative support being provided by the Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA).

The functions of the CSA are:
  • To provide independent expert advice on any aspect of science, technology and innovation as requested by the President
  • On request, to provide analysis and opinion on major policy proposals being submitted to the Commisson touching upon issues of science, technology and innovation; in particular the CSA will provide authoritative guidance on interpretation of scientific evidence in presence of uncertainty, and will be involved in strategic emergency planning
  • To build relationships with high-level advisory groups (e.g. European Research Area Board), the scientific Committees of the Commission, the EU agencies (European Medicine Agency, European Food Safety Authority, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies
  • To build relationships with similar structures in Member States and other countries
  • To advise on novel science, technology and innovation issues arising both in the context of the EU and internationally; to serve as an early warning conduct point on issues that might arise when scientific progress entails either opportunity or threat for the EU
  • To communicate the scientific values on which specific Commission proposals are based in order to enhance public confidence in science and technology, and in general to promote European culture of science and technology widely within Europe and abroad