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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

BIO-TIC Workshops: Building blocks, Biofuels and Bioplastics

Three Bio-Business workshops are being organised by SusChem’s FP7 BIO-TIC project during Q4 2014. The workshops will help shape BIO-TIC’s strategic agenda to boost the uptake of industrial biotechnology (IB) in Europe. The workshops cover three major IB product segments that promise significant potential for Europe’s industry and society: Chemical Building Blocks, Biofuels and Bioplastics.

Building blocks
The first workshop takes place on 1 October in Reims, France as part of the major IB event: the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Biobased Economy (EFIB 2014). Its title is: "Chemical Building Blocks – What do we need to do to build sustainable foundations for the bio-based chemical industry in Europe?

“The objective of this workshop is to collect input from stakeholders interested in chemical building blocks, discuss the main hurdles that impact the use of IB in this market segment and develop concrete actions to mitigate these hurdles,” says Pierre Barthélemy, Innovation Manager at Cefic. “The information collected during this and the other workshops will be included in the final version of the BIO-TIC roadmap that will be published in mid-2015.”

The second workshop is organised in London on 23 October and covers "Advanced Biofuels – Fuelling the Industry in Europe." Although at present the production of advanced biofuels world-wide is still quite low, various policy drivers both in the EU and elsewhere provide a significant incentive for their future development. However, many hurdles exist to the full exploitation of advanced biofuels production in the EU.

The outputs of this workshop will be used in the development of a roadmap to identify research and innovation funding priorities within the EU and will help shape the EU research and innovation agenda to 2030.

You can download a flyer for this workshop here.

Finally a workshop entitled "Bio-based Plastics – How do we grow the EU Industry?” will be held on 1 December in Brussels. Today, bio-based plastics have an established market, demonstrating rapid growth both in Europe and globally. While Europe is currently the largest producer and user of bio-based plastics, this situation is expected to change in the future with production increasingly being based in countries where feedstocks are cheaper and where production costs are lower. Even with increasing fossil fuel prices expected to make bio-based plastics more competitive compared to fossil-derived plastics, ensuring the cost-competitiveness of EU bio-based plastics production compared to other regions globally is expected to become an increasingly difficult challenge.

“Stakeholders interested in bioplastics will have the opportunity to discuss the main hurdles that impact the use of industrial biotechnology in the bioplastics market segment and propose concrete actions to overcome these hurdles,” explains Pierre Barthélemy.

Registration for all the workshops is now open and can be accessed via a dedicated website.

With these workshops and two previous events, the BIO-TIC project consortium aims to bring together industrial biotechnology end users (downstream) with technology providers (upstream), innovation agencies and decision makers to stimulate interconnected discussion and knowledge exchange platforms and processes.

The objectives of all the workshops are to:

  • identify technological, non-technological and market hurdles for the uptake of industrial biotechnology in these sectors, 
  • develop recommendations and solutions to overcome the identified hurdles, 
  • contribute to the development, testing and fine-tuning of the BIO-TIC roadmaps,
  • bring together industrial biotechnology end users (downstream) with technology providers (upstream), innovation agencies and decision makers to stimulate interconnected discussion and knowledge exchange platforms and processes,
  • collect data to develop draft indicators to measure the socio-economic and environmental impact of IB and the use of renewables-based products in the European Union.

More information
Input from the market and experts in industry and research are critical to build a basis for the BIO-TIC roadmaps and to ensure that actions are developed which best fit the needs of this sector. SusChem, Cefic, EuropaBio and all the BIO-TIC partners welcome any comments on the current draft documents. You can submit comments via email.  

For more information on the BIO-TIC project and the business-case workshops visit the project website or contact Pierre Barthélemy, Innovation Manager at Cefic.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

SusChem at Expoquimia 2014!

Barcelona will be hosting the seventeenth Expoquimia International Chemical Show from 30 September until 3 October and both SusChem Europe and SusChem Espana are organizing activities throughout the conference and exhibition.

On 30 September SusChem Spain will hold its annual General Assembly. Among the topics to be discussed are the use of CO2 as a raw material for the chemical industry, process intensification and the added value that the SusChem network brings to the industry, the wider chemical and process community and society as a whole. In the evening, there will also be a session dedicated to new opportunities to finance research and innovation activities including combining funds for maximum effect.

October 1 sees a session entitled ‘Smart cities: Chemicals inside’. The meeting will be chaired by Prof. Carlos Negro, President of the forum “Chemistry and Society” and will include presentations by Elisa Martin Garijo, Director of Innovation and Technology at IBM, and Antonia Morales from Cefic.

SusChem project workshops
Also on 1 October SusChem FP7 project E4Water is hosting a workshop on ‘Industrial Water Management: New Ways to Improve Efficiency.’ E4Water addresses crucial process industry needs to overcome bottlenecks and barriers for an integrated and energy-efficient water management. Its main objective is to develop, test and validate new integrated approaches for a more efficient and sustainable management of water in the chemical industry, with cross-fertilization possibilities for other industrial sectors.

SusChem Europe and the SPIRE PPP will be presenting on 2 October and SusChem FP7 projects BIO-TIC and R4R (Chemical Regions for Resource Efficiency) will be holding workshops on 3 October. See you there!

Smart Chemistry
Expoquimia takes place at Barcelona's Gran Via Exhibition Centre and will be attended by the leading companies and organizations from the international chemical industry. A major feature of the event is the Smart Chemistry, Smart Future initiative headed by the Spanish Federation of Chemical Industries (FEIQUE) that showcases the sector's capacity to generate wealth and employment and its contribution to improving the well-being of society as a whole.

The Smart Chemistry, Smart Future zone at Expoquimia is based around four main themes where, both now and in the future, the contribution of the chemical sector is absolutely fundamental:
  • Smart Cities (how we can make the cities in which we live more sustainable)
  • Energy & Water (how to improve the management of our natural resources)
  • Life: Health and Food
  • New Technologies4U (new technologies and their impact on our daily lives).
Expoquimia is being held in conjunction with Eurosurfas and Equiplast, two benchmark events in the surface treatments and plastics sectors respectively effectively making Barcelona the industrial and scientific capital of the chemical industry in Spain and southern Europe during the event.

For more information contact the conference organisers.

Innovation in Raw Materials Policies, Technologies and Strategies

The availability of raw materials and their sustainable use is of increasing concern in Europe and globally and is a significant focus for research and innovation activity. Cefic, together with ERRIN and the East & North Finland EU Office, is organising a seminar and brokerage event in Brussels on 22 October at Norway House to discuss and demonstrate how European Regions and the Chemical Industry can work together to address the challenges in this area.

With around 30 million EU jobs depending on the availability of raw materials, there is a need to bring innovation and new ideas into the sector in terms of policy initiatives such as the future Raw Materials Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC), the European Innovation Platform (EIP) on Raw Materials, and the SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industries through Resource and Energy Efficiency) PPP.

The supply and use of our raw materials must be smarter and more sustainable and, with recent increased attention on the concept of a truly circular economy, must be able to keep added value in products for as long as possible and work towards the elimination of waste.

The transition to a more circular economy requires changes throughout our value chains but also regional commitments - many of which are linked to smart specialisation strategies. This workshop will be an opportunity to get an excellent overview of EU policy and industry perspectives and how these perspectives are being implemented at the regional level.

The 22 October workshop will also be an excellent opportunity to network and to find collaborative partners for future Horizon 2020 calls in this topic. Registration is for the workshop is open now!

For more information on the workshop, please contact Antonia Morales at Cefic.

Material partners
In addition to Cefic the workshop is being organised by ERRIN and the East & North Finland EU Office.

Founded in 2001, ERRIN is a Brussels-based platform of Research and Innovation Organisations and Stakeholders based in the European regions. ERRIN aims to strengthen regional Research and Innovation capacities by exchanging information, sharing best practice, supporting European project development, helping to shape policy and raising its profile by working together for a partnership-based approach. ERRIN helps regions get their voice heard in Brussels!

The East & North Finland EU Office represents several regions of Finland in Brussels with a focus on regional policy, research, development and innovation policies, transport and energy policies, external relations, demographic challenges, industrial policies and international co-operation between the regions.

Friday, 19 September 2014

The KETs Manifesto

With a new intake of MEPs at the European Parliament and Team Junckers in the process of confirmation as the new European Commission, the High Level Expert Group on Key Enabling Technologies (HLG KETs) has launched a new manifesto. The document underlines the vital role of KETs as the cornerstone of a European industrial renaissance.

The members of the HLG, including SusChem representatives, see an integrated KETs-based industrial policy as an essential element to enable the re-industrialisation of Europe.

The KETs Manifesto calls on politicians and policy-makers to support KETs and give a high priority to an integrated KETs innovation and manufacturing policy that can stimulate jobs and growth in the European Union. The document states that a market pull can be created by ensuring a systematic use of EU KETs to meet Europe’s societal challenges including the use of public procurement to accelerate market uptake.

Policies are needed that increase the confidence of both the public and investors in new technologies and that address barriers to investment and implementation. Similarly policies must support the reduction of the skills gap in KETs-related industrial sectors in Europe.

Policy-makers are also called upon to support large-scale manufacturing initiatives undertaken in strategic European industrial domains.

Call for success
“We are calling on MEPs and all European policy-makers to give their full support to ensure the success of Europe’s industry, today and tomorrow,” said Dr. Gernot Klotz, SusChem board member and a member of the HLG.

KETs support the drive for jobs and growth in Europe. The global market volume for KETs-based products will be € 1000 billion by 2015 and could grow between 10 and 20% in the following decade.

Europe’s target of manufacturing achieving a 20% share of the EU’s total GDP by 2020 can only be achieved through a comprehensive development and deployment of KETs.

What are KETs?
Six KETs have been defined:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced Materials
  • Industrial Biotechnology
  • Micro-Nanoelectronics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Photonics

These are all areas where SusChem has an active research and innovation agenda and a contribution to make and the chemicals sector enjoys a unique position in European industry able to deploy KETs into the products society needs and uses on a daily basis.

The selected KETs are areas where Europe has a strong knowledge base but needs to accelerate the translation of this world-beating knowledge into innovative products and service.

This means that Europe must continue the process of rebalancing policies towards enhanced technological research and innovation and must invest in KETs to boost Europe’s competitiveness and accelerate our industrial manufacturing renaissance.

The HLG KETs was initiated by the European Commission and includes representatives from key actors along strategic European value chains. You can find more information here.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Register for the EIP Water Conference

Registration for the EIP Water Conference 2014 is now open. The event takes place on Wednesday 5 November in Europe’s "iCapital" Barcelona. The programme includes numerous high-level speakers and thought-provoking sessions at this major water innovation conference. The EIP on Water’s annual conference has grown into Europe’s flagship event on water innovation within just a year!

The conference organisers are looking forward to the active involvement of delegates at the conference including participating in Q&A sessions, voting on innovative water solutions, and making the most of some excellent networking opportunities.

The programme also includes the launch of the CDP water programme's Global Water Report 2014, which analyses business understanding of water risk in the world’s largest listed corporations on behalf of 573 institutional investors representing in excess of US$60 trillion.

Places are limited at the EIP Water Conference 2014, so please register soon to avoid disappointment!

Full programme and visits
The EIP Water Conference 2014 is organised by the European Commission, with the support of the Municipality of Barcelona, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Spanish Ministry for Economy and Competitiveness, and CETaqua / Agbar. As well as a full conference programme on 5 November there are also free-of-charge site visits in and around Barcelona on Thursday 6 November to innovative and state-of-the-art water facilities.

In addition, delegates will be able to interact with the 25 EIP Water Action Groups, WssTP, Water JPI and others significant water sector players in the conference exhibition area. And several organisations, including ZINNAE, the European Water Partnership (EWP) and the Portuguese Water Partnership, have scheduled back-to-back meetings which are open to Conference participants before or after the Conference.

Please do not hesitate to contact the EIP Water Secretariat for more information about the Conference or other activities of the platform.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Shaping the Future of Europe’s Materials Research & Innovation through a Value Chain Approach

To celebrate the end of a very successful FP7 project, the MatVal team will present its final findings and recommendations at its closing conference on September 30, 2014 in Bologna, Italy. The event will take place during the LETS (Leading Enabling Technologies for Societal Challenges) 2014 Conference organized by the European Commission and the Italian Presidency of the European Union

The LETS 2014 conference addresses how Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) can address the Societal Challenges facing Europe and bring about a new European Renaissance. The conference will focus on the potential use of nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing, processing and biotechnology.

Closure and continuity
The Bologna MatVal workshop will be the public closure event of the MatVal project and a critical moment to discuss the achievements and the future actions Europe should take to ensure the continuity of the groundwork laid for the construction of a unified policy on Materials R&D. Specifically, Materials R&D as a real enabler of the European industrial renaissance through its promotion of jobs, growth and competitiveness. We believe this message is particularly relevant in the current transition from the old to new European legislature (EP and EU Commission). It is essential to ensure the continuity of dialogue between institutional representatives and the Materials community.

Gathering policymakers, R&D experts, material manufacturers and end users, the Bologna workshop will be an ideal place to hear about the key learnings from the MatVal project and an excellent forum to exchange and discuss ideas on how materials R&D in Europe can:

  • shift from a heavy research focus to a more innovation focus, 
  • be better clustered along the value chain, and  
  • create strong partnerships in the overall European materials community.

There will also be an open floor interactive panel discussion, gathering experts from different industry sectors and leading materials experts, where participants can make suggestions on what needs to be done to shape a more successful path to innovating in the field of materials.

For a complete overview of the workshop, you can download the draft agenda here.

To register for the workshop or to get more information about this event, please email Jacques Komornicki, Cefic Innovation Manager.

What is MatVal?
MatVal (a value chain approach to materials research & innovation) is an EU-funded FP7 project which was started in 2012 by the Alliance for Materials (A4M). A4M connects the main European materials community organizations and is developing a common strategy to speed-up the implementation of innovation in materials. SusChem is a member of A4M.

We look forward to seeing you on 30 September in Bologna!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

KARIM: Boosting EU SMEs' Competitiveness

The success of every small and medium sized enterprise (SME) is built on this premise: ‘Manage for today, lead for tomorrow’. Yet today’s economic context coupled with growing global competition has made it all the more challenging for Europe’s SMEs to survive let alone thrive. That’s why the support network developed by KARIM, an EU initiative set up in North West Europe, has been so instrumental.

On 2 October KARIM is organising its final conference that will provide innovation enthusiasts and practitioners fresh insights into ‘Responsible Innovation’, a new philosophy for sustainable growth and competitiveness that the EU is firmly supporting. This free event takes place in the Palais des Académies in central Brussels from 9h00 to 19h00.

Perspectives on Responsible Innovation
Set up to assist SMEs in North West Europe, KARIM has made a significant breakthrough in the innovation landscape by considering ‘responsibility’ from the perspective of those behind the project: entrepreneurs and researchers.

KARIM has just published a new guidance book, ‘Responsible Innovation in the context of the KARIM project’, which proves there is competitive advantage by innovating using new technology from universities in a way that considers the impact of innovation on society, groups within it and the environment. Such is the evidence that the EU has invested in KARIM to encourage wider adoption of responsible innovation. And it is a philosophy that SusChem fully supports.

Organised as a part of the European SME Week, that is taking place from 29 September to 5 October, this one-day event will showcase and evaluate the project’s achievements across three areas of activity:

  1. Knowledge base: Complementing the guidance on Responsible Innovation, the project has conducted transnational research to answer a series of questions related to SME and research laboratories international cooperation: How do SMEs build cooperation in KARIM regions, how do they prepare to go international, what is the available support in their jurisdictions? What is the role of spin-off in technology transfer in the several KARIM regions and their experiences in the technology transfer from academia to industry?
  2. Capacity building: In just over two years, KARIM has proven the value of transnational cooperation between academia and innovation support organisations to foster cross border partnerships between laboratories and SMEs. 
  3. SME support: KARIM provides transnational support to SMEs in order to enhance their involvement in European cooperation. This support builds on tools dedicated to business development managers, students with a collaborative placement scheme, SMEs responsible innovation diagnostic etc.

If you are interested in finding out more about responsible innovation and how it can shape the EU economic agenda, register online and join the debate!

KARIM is the Knowledge Acceleration and Responsible Innovation Meta-network. It aims to facilitate knowledge transfer across North West Europe (NWE), in six main fields:

  • ICT (Information & Communication Technologies)
  • Smart Energy Systems
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Eco-toxicology
  • Nano-bio Science & engineering
  • Bio-medical Technologies

KARIM is helping Europe to boost its future economic growth through innovation in products, services and business models: Europe needs to be better at turning research into new and better services and products if it is to remain competitive in the global marketplace and improve our quality of life.

KARIM is committed to sharing innovation and improving small and medium sized enterprises’ access to high value innovation support and technology in order to make NWE more competitive.

The KARIM project involves a consortium of universities, innovation support agencies, regional and national agencies and, crucially, business representative organisations. The project has created a strategic network of more than 500 innovation actors and provides a range of innovative yet practical offerings for all who share the vision of creating a more competitive Europe.

Actions under the KARIM programme are creating transnational support for innovation and technology transfer; providing SMEs access to a wider range of high quality technologies and innovation support than available locally; increasing the capacity of SMEs and universities to access and provide support transnationally; and reducing regional disparities in SME access to innovation support and technology.

The project is funded under the European Commission’s INTERREG IV B programme.