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Friday, 30 August 2013

LRI Workshop: Science-led Decision-Making

Cefic’s Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) programme will hold its 15th annual workshop on 20-21 November 2013 in Brussels and registration is now open. This year’s workshop is titled: “Science-informed decision making: are we on track?”

The workshop’s objective is to demonstrate to scientists, academia, regulators and stakeholders the value that the LRI programme has created and to present its future direction. The workshop will commence on the evening of November 20 with a poster exhibition and dinner at the Sheraton Brussels hotel.

The event aims to examine in particular how science and scientific thinking can contribute to a decision-making process which ensures that future policies and initiatives are based on a holistic view and a realistic assessment of all the relevant data.

On November 21, the morning session of the workshop will discuss new results from the programme’s current project portfolio. The workshop will focus on key areas including thresholds of concern, bio-monitoring, domestic exposure, endocrine disruption, nanomaterials, toxicogenomics and sediment testing.

Innovative Science
In the afternoon, the workshop will continue with the official ceremony for the prestigious Cefic-LRI Innovative Science Award for early career scientists. This will be followed by presentations from external stakeholders (European Commission, European Parliament and specialised media) on the subject of science-informed decision making. The venue for the workshop will be the International Auditorium, Boulevard du Roi Albert II 5, Brussels.

A highlight of the workshop will be a presentation by Dr. Sabine Langie (left) of the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO). Dr. Langie is this year’s winner of the Cefic-LRI Innovative Science Award worth € 100 000. The award will help fund her studies on the environmental programming of respiratory allergy in childhood and, specifically, the effect of exposure on DNA methylation. The overall goal of the research is to provide new levels of insight into the molecular mechanism underlying the effect of prenatal exposure on childrens’ allergy risk. The objective of Dr Langie’s research falls within one of the main priorities of the Global ICCA-LRI Research Strategy: to improve our understanding of exposure to chemicals and their effect on health. The research is also highly relevant to European strategy priorities on public health and the Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan in Europe (CEHAPE).

Science for Policy Impact
The LRI programme is one of the major voluntary initiatives of the European chemical industry to support its competitiveness and innovation potential. LRI aims to identify hazards posed by chemicals and to improve the methods available for assessing any associated risks.

LRI strives to have a policy impact for its scientific research. It is acknowledged as a preferred partner to provide industry inputs in scientific debates for our stakeholders, particularly on the regulatory side.

In particular LRI engaged with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) to develop a better understanding of the use of alternatives in the context of REACH (the European regulation on chemical products) context, resulting in a collaborative workshop on acceptance of read-across methodology in late 2012. On the basis of that success, LRI initiated a further collaboration with ECHA on use of alternative testing (in vitro) for skin sensitization in February 2013.

Dr. Bruno Hubesch, LRI Programme Manager commented: “I believe LRI is an ideal platform to engage with stakeholders on research areas of public interest.”

More information
The LRI workshop will be attended by representatives of the European institutions and bodies, academia and industry and provides an excellent opportunity to network with both scientists and policy makers. For more information visit the Cefic-LRI website or contact LRI Programme Manager Bruno Hubesch. The draft programme for the event can be access here and you can register for the event here.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Carbon Dioxide for Chemistry and Polymers

For the second consecutive year, experts will gather in Germany to discuss the subject of carbon dioxide (CO2) as the feedstock of the future. The event, organized by Nova-Institute, will take place on 7-9 October 2013 at Haus der Technik in Essen and will be the biggest event on CO2 as chemical feedstock this year bringing new insights into the utilisation of carbon dioxide: an area of great interest to SusChem.

Life on Earth has thrived successfully for more than three billion years relying only on CO2 as a single feedstock in combination with water and solar energy. Recently a vision of a ‘CO2 economy’ has emerged based on different technologies developed to capture CO2 and convert it into the wide range of chemicals that are vital to modern society. CO2 utilisation could enable recycling of CO2 as an everlasting raw material and the main carbon source for a truly circular economy. These new and exciting chemical technologies are described by the generic acronym CCU: Carbon Capture and Utilisation.

The first steps to achieving this CO2 vision are already in hand and many interesting technologies are under development with the first investments in energy storage (power-to-gas) and polymers (polyurethanefrom CO2) made this year in Europe.

CO2 can provide a feedstock for many different chemical routes. These include renewable energy storage via CO2 upgrade, chemicals and polymers from CO2, CO2 mineralization, CO2 as carbon source for biotechnology applications (for example algae and bacteria) and artificial photosynthesis via chemical processes – perhaps the ultimate goal. The source of CO2 as feedstock could be from industrial flue gases or directly from the atmosphere.

Carbon insights
The Essen conference will present a range of these new technologies. On the first day, the vision and framework for a modern CO2 economy will be outlined by representatives from European and German political bodies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Gernot Klotz from Cefic will describe how Cefic and SusChem are organising to boost research and innovation in this area.

In addition the Virgin Earth Challenge will present their vision for CO2 utilisation’s role in combating climate change. And finally some projects from Europe and Japan will give insights into their work on artificial photosynthesis and sustainability aspects of CO2 utilisation.

The second day will focus on feedstock preparation and utilization in innovative inorganic and organic chemistry and also on the production on 'solar fuels'. Following some overviews, several international speakers from the industry and academia will present their most recent project results.

On the final day, the conference will focus on polymers and building blocks made from CO2 via chemical and biotechnological routes. Highlights of that day will be presentations of companies such as Bayer and BASF and research organisations including the BioBase Europe Pilot Plant in Belgium.

A technical exhibition and poster session will run in parallel to the conference.

More information
You can find more details about the exhibition and the poster session and register online for the conference at its website or contact the organiser Dominik Voght at Nova Institute

SusChem closely follows progress in CO2 utilisation and regularly tweets on developments using the #useCO2 hashtag.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

SusChem at Ecochem

The Ecochem Exhibition and Conference on Smart and Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering taking place on 19 – 21 November in Basel, Switzerland will feature an all-day SusChem session. In addition the various conference streams will include presentations from many SusChem personalities.

The SusChem technical session will take place on the first day of Ecochem (Tuesday 19 November) after a plenary opening session by Hubert Mandery, Director-General of Cefic.

SusChem coordinator Jacques Komornicki will open the special day-long session that will include contributions on the two SusChem inspired public private partnership initiatives SPIRE (from Pádraig Naughton of Cefic) and BRIDGE (from Ulrich Kettling of Clariant).

Many other streams across the three-day event will be of interest to SusChem stakeholders including sessions on ‘bio-based chemicals’, ‘clean synthesis and process intensification’, ‘industrial biotechnology’, ‘opportunities and challenges in sustainable chemistry’ and ‘financing sustainable chemistry’ amongst many others.

Eight streams
In total eight session streams are available during each day of Ecochem of which five (including the SusChem session) are free to register for. The other three streams comprise a comprehensive Strategy Summit on Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering that requires separate registration.

For more details on Ecochem visit the event website or download the Event brochure. Details on registration for the event can be found here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

CRM_InnoNet August Newsletter Published

The recently launched SusChem-supported CriticalRaw Materials Innovation Network (CRM_InnoNet) FP7 project, has just published its latest newsletter. The project aims to support Europe’s strategic objective to ensure the availability and supply of critical raw materials needed to secure the competitiveness of European industries. The project partners hope to achieve this by driving innovation and influencing policy in the field of substitution of critical raw materials. 

This third issue of the newsletter details CRM_InnoNet’s upcoming workshop on 16th of September 2013 in Warsaw, Poland. The workshop has three main objectives. The first is to present a value chain analysis for three key sectors (Energy, ICT and Electronics and Transport) in order to identify CRM-related bottlenecks. Second, to validate the analysis and identify next steps and lastly, to map potential technologies which may act as substitutes.

This issue also features CRM_InnoNet’s partner TUDelft and covers their research achievements and an article on how the substitution community should be preparing for Horizon2020. To read these articles and more read the newsletter.

To learn more about the project, please
visit the project website and for more information about the project, contact Antonia Morales Perez at Cefic. You can also contact the network by email and follow the project on Twitter via @CRM_InnNet.

Friday, 2 August 2013

MatVal Website is Online

Today the website of the FP7 Project “Alliance for Materials – A value chain approach to materials research and innovation” - MatVal for short - has gone online. The website is the roof of the Alliance for Materials “common house” where to bring together all the players of the Material community in Europe. It is the portal that can contribute to answer questions on materials in Europe as well as about the scope and goals of the MatVal projects.

The new website features relevant content on new EU policies on materials, on the ideas of innovation and value-chain are how deeply interconnected they are. The interactive design of the website will enable you to easily learn more: What are the priorities in the sector in the new EU Research and Innovation framework, Horizon 2020? What programs have been developed to tackle the challenges of new and innovative materials? All these and other queries are answered on the website.

On top of all these idea, the website explores the application of some of these key concepts in different fields: you can read about examples of good practices in the materials communities dedicated to energy and construction. More dossiers will come along.  

The MatVal website is also a portal for new initiatives! Have a look at the News on upcoming events and initiatives. And if you really want to delve in some issues or events, you can check the Focus On: where you can find extensive description of the most important initiatives, events and activities.

What is MatVal?

Materials research & development is a technology area that affects almost every industrial sector. The achievement of effective coordination between different sectors, while maintaining their relative autonomy, interests and strategies is an essential condition to achieve the best and most effective use of community resources.

Guided by this principle in 2010 a group of European Technology Platforms with strong materials agendas (EuMaT, Textiles and Clothing, SusChem, Manufuture, Steel Technology and Sustainable Mineral Resources) came together to create Alliance for Materials (A4M).

A4M intends to enter into its full implementation phase by creating the conditions for a significant enlargement of the network. Its goal is to include the other sector-oriented European Technology Platforms who are active along different value chains, while in parallel bringing together other relevant players in the European Materials Community to achieve a real integration of voices and visions.

To reach its goal, A4m has started the MatVal project. MatVal is part of the European Commission FP7projects. It targets materials innovation implementation through value chain collaboration and sharing ideas/visions from the European materials community.

The project brings together all key European Technology Platforms, including SusChem, involved in materials research and innovation as well as other key materials organisations representing research societies and networks of excellence. The project is also supported by more than 20 external partners with prominent reputations in materials.