Friday, 30 October 2015

LRI Workshop looks at progress in Non-animal-based safety assessment

Don’t forget the Long-Range Research Initiative Programme (LRI) of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) is holding its 17th annual workshop on 18 and 19 November 2015 in Brussels. This year, the Annual CEFIC-LRI Workshop will focus on non–animal-based safety assessment and will showcase the outcome and impact of several LRI projects completed in 2014-2015 from the fields of environmental risk assessment, bioconcentration, chemo-informatics, exposure modelling, skin sensitization and acceptance of innovation.

Registration is now open and free!
The Cefic-LRI workshop is a must-attend event for the scientific community and an excellent networking opportunity for policymakers. This year’s venue is Le Plaza Hotel Brussels.

On the evening of the first day the LRI programme will present the winner of the LRI Innovative Science Award for 2015 and also catch up with the progress of winner of the 2014 LRI Award winner Dr Alexandra Antunes of the Centro de Química Estrutural, Complexo Interdisciplinar Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal and her work on Covalent Modification of Histones by Carcinogens: a novel proteomic approach toward the assessment of chemically-induced cancers.

AMBIT tool
The second day will feature plenary sessions on the impact of LRI projects that cover subjects including an integrated modelling tool for ecological risk assessment, a mechanistic bioconcentration model for ionogenic organic compounds in fish, passive sampling formats, exposure modelling platforms and much more.

One of the presentations will feature the project to revise and update the AMBIT tool as a predictive toxicity model based on read-across and category formation. The tool can be used for both research and regulatory purposes and will be released in early 2016 and will be fully loaded and formatted with the non-confidential part of the REACH database. LRI will soon organize hands-on training to familiarize research experts with this new web-based application. Keep an eye on the LRI website for more announcements on this.

Panel discussion
And in the afternoon of Day 2, Prof Ian Kimber of the University of Manchester with moderate a dedicated panel discussion on non-animal-based safety assessment to consider the questions: “Non-animal based safety assessment: within reach or over-sold? Do we need to set back expectations?”

The panel will focus on current and future developments in non-animal toxicity testing methods and address the key issues and challenges to developing non-animal methods in toxicology. It will also examine visionary versus unrealistic regulatory expectations e.g. in view of REACH 2018.

The panel will consist of:

  • Dr Karel de Raat, ECHA
  • Dr Karen Niven, Shell
  • Dr Alan Poole, ECETOC
  • Dr Rick Becker, American Chemistry Council
  • Dr Raffaella Corvi, JRC/EURL-ECVAM
  • Prof Jim Bridges, Univ. Surrey
  • Dr Kirsty Reid, Eurogroup for Animals

More information
For more details of the 17th Annual CEFIC-LRI workshop visit the dedicated webpage and download the final programme.

To register for the event, please click here.

You can follow the event on Twitter via the hashtag #lri2015

For more information on the workshop, please contact Dr. Bruno Hubesch, LRI Programme Manager or the LRI Secretariat.

More about LRI
The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) programme is a major voluntary initiative of the European chemical industry to support the long-term sustainability of its sector and European society. Through the programme we hope to identify the hazards posed by chemicals and improve the methods available for assessing the associated risks.

The LRI sponsors high-quality research of a standard publishable in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, and seeks to provide sound scientific advice on which industry and regulatory bodies can draw-on to respond quickly and accurately to the public's concerns.

LRI research supports the 3R's principle. Read more here: http://cefic-lri.org/lri-research-programme/research-areas/intelligent-testing/ and http://cefic-lri.org/news/cefic-lri-in-joint-cross-sector-workshop-on-alternatives-for-skin-sensitization-testing-and-assessment/.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Get Going with Grant-It

Use our Grant-it tool to find your partners for the 2016-2017 Horizon 2020 calls! Following the SusChem brokerage event on October 6 2015 in Brussels, more than 20 project proposals can now be found on the Grant-it website and are freely accessible to all SusChem members. You can also browse for calls of interest to you and post our own proposals.

Connect to Grant-it now!

The project proposals can be found here and range across the portfolio of SusChem inspired calls in the Horizon 2020 work programmes for 2016-17. The proposals include ideas to optimize biocatalysis and processing, recovery of high-value raw materials from waste streams, novel smart food packaging, and 3D printing applications amongst many, many more ideas. Just use your SusChem username and password to get access!

One-stop shop
Launched in 17 December 2013, the Grant-it portal is your ‘one-stop’ shop for information and project building tools for Horizon 2020 and a range of other financing initiatives for collaborative research and innovation projects in Europe.

The experience gained by SusChem in FP7 was used to shape the Grant-it portal to enable SusChem stakeholders to successfully engage with the new opportunities presented by Horizon 2020. The Grant-it website is your ‘one-stop’ access to funding opportunities from the European Commission and from selected national and regional governments in the field of sustainable chemistry.

With Grant-it you can search for funding opportunities, search for and identify project opportunities, propose project ideas, and search for potential project partners. The system also allows searches of past funded EU projects including FP5 to FP7 and other initiatives.

For SusChem
Grant-it is a password protected free service offered by Cefic to its members and SusChem stakeholders to further boost industry participation in collaborative research and innovation activities. SusChem members can log-in with their SusChem username and password.

Grant-it is based on the cloud-concept of sharing innovation knowledge, projects and funding between stakeholders in Europe and has been specially developed by Cefic for the SusChem community working with PNO Consultants and its software partner Innovation Engineering.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

BioHorizon Brokerage Event on 26 November

BioHorizon will host a Brokerage Event in Brussels on 26 November 2015 dedicated to Horizon 2020’s Societal Challenge 2: ‘Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy’. The event will be hosted in connection with the European Commission’s Open Info Day.

The objective of the BioHorizon Brokerage Event is to assist you in finding the right project partners for the SC2 calls for 2016. The new work programme for 2016 - 2017 has just been launched and the first proposal submission deadlines will be at the beginning of 2016, making this the perfect opportunity for your institution to begin building a consortium.

The main part of the day is dedicated to bilateral meetings between participants interested in the same topics. On the basis of the registration form inputs, the organisers will prepare an individualised schedule of bilateral meetings for participants. The programme for the event will also see attendees provided with information on what makes a good consortium, and provide a selection of researchers and entrepreneurs a platform to present their project ideas during a series of five minute flash presentations.

The partnering event will target a wide spectrum of stakeholders, from companies (including SMEs), universities, research organisations and other interested parties, from Europe and beyond, seeking to share new project ideas and to find collaboration partners for the Horizon 2020 SC2 work programme for 2016.

Registration for the event closes on 2 November 2015 so be quick! Places are limited. For more information and to register click here. The brokerage event is a full day event and will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Place Charles Rogier, 1210 Brussels.

About BioHorizon
BioHorizon is a network of specialised NCPs (National Contact Points) for Horizon 2020 within the scope of the Societal Challenge 2 (SC2) “Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy” and the Key Enabling Technology (KET) “Biotechnology” (KET-B). The network consists of officially appointed Food Security NCPs and Contact Points in International Cooperation Partner Countries coordinated by the Instytut Podstawowych Problemów Techniki Polskiej Akademii Nauk (IPPT PAN) in Poland.

The mission of BioHorizon is to facilitate transnational cooperation within the network of BIO NCPs with a view to identifying and sharing good practices in order to improve general standard of support to programme applicants taking into full consideration the diversity of stakeholders and actors involved in SC2 and KET Biotechnology.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking now fully operational!

On 26 October the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) became fully autonomous, enabling it to manage its own budget and launch its own calls for proposals, grants and public procurement. The €3.7 billion public-private partnership has remained under the European Commission’s supervision since its formal launch in July 2014. But now the BBI JU will function as an independent body, with its own staff and offices.

The European Commission, which provides €975 million of the overall budget for the BBI JU, welcomed the new status. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “This is great news for the EU’s efforts to develop a more sustainable economy. Once again, we are joining forces with industry and investing together in the huge potential of the bioeconomy. BBI will help expand our knowledge of how we can convert Europe’s untapped renewable resources and waste into greener everyday products and biofuels".

BBI JU Executive Director, Philippe Mengal, commented that it was a proud moment for the Joint Undertaking. "It has only been a year since it was formally set up, but we have worked hard to launch calls for proposals and grants, identifying promising initiatives across Europe,” he said. Philippe Mengal became Executive Director on 1 October 2015. He has some 25 years’ experience in green technologies, engineering and the food/life sciences industries.

Important role
The BBI JU plays an important role in supporting business models that link economic actors all along the entire bioeconomy value chain. The BBI JU’s second call for proposals, published on 25 August 2015, aims to improve cooperation between the different economic sectors: from the biomass supply (breeding and plant production, forestry, farming) to biorefineries and consumers of bio-based products.

Marcel Wubbolts, Chief Technology Officer at DSM, commented: “This marks a vital step in the BBI JU’s evolution: innovate in products from locally grown feedstocks, invest in regional value chains and inspire citizens in Europe that the biobased economy creates jobs, growth and a sustainable future.” Marcel Wubbolts is chairman of the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) - the private partner in the public-private partnership BBI.

About autonomy
Under Article 19 of Council Regulation (EC) 560/2014 of 6 May 2014 that established the BBI JU, the European Commission is responsible for the establishment and initial operation until the JU has the operational capacity to implement its own budget. The budget of the BBI JU must be established and implemented in accordance with the principles of unity, budgetary accuracy, annularity, equilibrium, unit of account, universality, specification, and sound financial management which requires effective and efficient internal control and transparency.

More information
Along with the SPIRE PPP the BBI JU is one of two public-private partnership (PPPs) under Horizon 2020 that can be said to be ‘SusChem inspired’. The BBI JU PPP is part of the EU’s plan to move its economy to a post-petroleum era. It is expected to help make the EU’s economy more resource-efficient and sustainable, while supporting growth and employment. The BBI is dedicated to realising the potential of the European bioeconomy and contributing to a sustainable circular economy, by turning biological residues and wastes (from agro-food, forestry and municipal) into greener everyday products, through innovative technologies and biorefineries, which are at the heart of the bioeconomy.

MATCH for Materials

The latest newsletter of the MATCH Horizon 2020 project has been published.  The MATCH project was initiated to strengthen and deepen the Alliance4Materials strategy by building a broader stakeholder network. The project is coordinated by Italian Centro Sviluppo Materiali and the consortium consists of 18 partners from nine countries representing the six related European Technology Platforms (including SusChem) and several major European material research organisations.

This second issue of the newsletter highlights some recent European materials research and innovation news including features on research group activities, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Raw Materials initiative, and events. You can download and subscribe to the MATCH newsletter here.

Material foundation
The European Commission has set the ambitious goal to re-industrialise Europe and to raise industry's share of the GDP to 20% by 2020. Innovation in cross-cutting applications of advanced materials, including in the transportation, health care, energy and consumer goods sectors, provides an opportunity for Europe to reindustrialise and secure jobs. One of the key objectives of MATCH is to enable the connections between the scientific creativity represented by academia and European enterprises focusing on market needs.

Another important objective of MATCH is to promote the alignment of national and European materials research policies and funding. MATCH has the goal of creating a single interactive and informative platform for the international materials research community.

MATCH is pushing for the creation of a strong, sustainable, inclusive network where any European Materials players, whether from Industry, Research or academia, can feel comfortable and gain real value for their interests and expectations in respect of materials research, development and innovation. The MATCH partnership promotes the integration of concerted and strategic challenges of national, regional and European needs in the field.

Material targets 
MATCH focuses on four main targets, crucial for the promotion of European sustainable development and innovation actions. These are:

  • The enlargement and improvement of the Materials network at EU level
  • The multidisciplinary connection of Materials to a large number of fields relevant for European growth and where concerted management actions are needed
  • The integration with existing and/or promotion of new Materials networks at National and Inter/Regional levels
  • The integration of EU and national and regional networks in sustainable and effectively aligned network hubs

Through the MATCH project all organisations interested in materials research in Europe will have a single reference network through which to obtain information, contacts and guidance in an efficient and transparent way. Established and well-connected material research stakeholders will be able to intensify their activities and extend their collaborative activities at European level, realising the A4M concept for the “The Materials Common House”.

The project started in January 2015 and will continue for 30 months until June 2017. MATCH is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. It follows on from the previous Alliance4Materials initiative, the MatVal project, in which SusChem was also an active partner.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: A breakthrough for DNA Repair research and cancer treatment

This year, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 has been awarded jointly to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar "for mechanistic studies of DNA repair" – they mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. The work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments. Nature Magazine is calling “The Nobel Prize 2015: The year of DNA repair”. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. To date, the prize has been awarded 107 times to 172 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2015.

About the study - The cells’ toolbox for DNA repair
Each day our DNA is damaged by UV radiation, free radicals and other carcinogenic substances, but even without such external attacks, a DNA molecule is inherently unstable. Thousands of spontaneous changes to a cell’s genome occur on a daily basis. Furthermore, defects can also arise when DNA is copied during cell division, a process that occurs several million times every day in the human body.

The reason our genetic material does not disintegrate into complete chemical chaos is that a host of molecular systems continuously monitor and repair DNA. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 awards three pioneering scientists who have mapped how several of these repair systems function at a detailed molecular level.

In the early 1970s, scientists believed that DNA was an extremely stable molecule, but Tomas Lindahl demonstrated that DNA decays at a rate that ought to have made the development of life on Earth impossible. This insight led him to discover a molecular machinery, base excision repair, which constantly counteracts the collapse of our DNA.

Aziz Sancar has mapped nucleotide excision repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repair system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. The cell also utilises nucleotide excision repair to correct defects caused by mutagenic substances, among other things.

Paul Modrich has demonstrated how the cell corrects errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division. This mechanism, mismatch repair, reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousand fold. Congenital defects in mismatch repair are known, for example, to cause a hereditary variant of colon cancer.

The Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2015 have provided fundamental insights into how cells function, knowledge that can be used, for instance, in the development of new cancer treatments.

Interesting fact
Frederick Sanger is the only Nobel Laureate who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry twice, in 1958 and 1980. This means that a total of 171 individuals have received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

For more information about this year’s prize (including scientific background and some illustrations), click here.

The Nobel Prizes in Chemistry won during the last decade by:

  • 2014 Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy
  • 2013 Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems
  • 2012 Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors
  • 2011 Dan Shechtman for the discovery of quasicrystals
  • 2010 Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis
  • 2009 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome
  • 2008 Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP
  • 2007 Gerhard Ertl for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces
  • 2006 Roger D. Kornberg for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription
  • 2005 Yves Chauvin, Robert H. Grubbs and Richard R. Schrock for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis

More information
You can find more information about each study here.

EFIB 2015: The Chemical Industry and ‘Biobased’

The European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB) 2015 takes place on 27-29 October at the Square in Brussels and the eighth EFIB promises to be bigger than ever. SusChem and Cefic are organising a dedicated session on biobased chemical value chains as part of the conference on 29 October. In advance of the session Cefic’s Executive Director Research and Innovation Pierre Barthélemy and Dr. Henrike Gebhardt of Evonik Industries AG have been interviewed by EFIB organisers.

With major chemical players looking to move into biobased products and processes the interview focuses on key questions surrounding the session: ‘Is the chemical industry catching up with biobased’. The interview covers changing attitudes and approaches by the chemical sector to biobased, the measures needed to accelerate uptake of renewable feedstocks, views on the most significant recent developments in the biobased industry sector and what they hope the EFIB session will achieve.

Pierre (right) says: “It is important to keep looking at success stories and achievements in the chemical industry, but it is even more important to highlight the challenges faced by the chemical industry to embrace the bio-based approach more widely.  Switching to different feedstock is not just a technical challenge.  It creates new value chains with different stakeholders that have to understand each other.  It is essential for the chemical industry to explain its expectations and challenges in order to make progress in building the connections between stakeholders in these new value chains.”

“EFIB is an excellent platform to network with stakeholders from academia, finance, governments, industry, and NGOs,” comments Henrike (left). “This year I am especially looking forward to getting a insight into the approach of several brand owners to bio-based products, because they are closest to customers’ needs.”

Joining Pierre and Heinrike at the EFIB session will be Reinhard Buescher, Head of Unit for Chemicals Industry at DG Grow giving the view of the European Commission. Further insights from industry will be presented by François Monnet, Exec VP for Renewable Chemistry at Solvay, Dr. Stefan Lundmark of Perstorp AB, and Dr Marcel Wubbolts from DSM who was recently awarded CTO of the Year 2015. The presentations will be followed by a group discussion.

The session will cover topics such as differentiation in times of barrel price volatility, meeting changing consumer needs and connecting uncommon partners in new biobased value chains.

Industrial Biotechnology is currently worth €23 billion – this represents just 6% of sales in the overall worldwide chemicals market. However, the sector is significantly out-performing the overall chemicals market at an impressive 20% annual growth rate and has the potential to become the dominant technology of tomorrow’s chemicals industry - and represents a huge future opportunity.

SusChem and the bioeconomy
The SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) includes has a dedicated chapter on ‘A Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy’ and SusChem is an essential link between the chemical industry, industrial biotechnology and stakeholders in the bioeconomy.

The platform is actively involved in two large and relevant PPPs between the European Commission and industry launched in 2014:


SusChem contributes to the alignment of both initiatives. The interface between BBI and SPIRE is the provision and use of biobased platform chemicals. In addition, both PPPs may support projects using biotechnological conversion processes and specific improvements of biotechnology processes may be eligible for funding through either PPP. SusChem will enable the coherence of on-going and future funding initiatives and the deployment of flagship projects that demonstrate technological leadership and that Europe is a globally competitive location to invest in the bioeconomy.

More information on EFIB
The conference kicks off with a set of pre-conference Workshops on 27 October with the full conference programmes on 28 October and 29 October.

Register your place today here!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

European CTO of the Year 2015 Award

Dr. Marcel Wubbolts of Royal DSM has received the European CTO (Chief Technology Officer) award of the Year 2015, an award for excellence in technology and innovation leadership, for laying the foundation for the growing number of bio-based manufacturing processes in DSM’s businesses.


Dr.Wubbolts has a central role in Royal DSM, a company that over the past two decades has transformed itself completely from a petrochemical to a life and materials sciences company active in health, nutrition and materials.  Royal DSM is also a leading player in the biotech industry. “The frontrunner development and commercialization of lignocellulosic ethanol technology is only one very relevant example of many in which Dr. Wubbolts is intimately involved. His enthusiasm and drive for science and sustainable innovation for society is an inspiration for many”, praises Gert-Jan Gruter of Avantium, jury member and European CTO of the Year 2014
in SME category.

“The European CTO of the Year Award is a unique way to recognize outstanding individuals whose vision and passion have made a big difference in keeping their companies at the forefront of innovation. All the winners have shown exemplary leadership as technology managers, we’re happy and proud to recognize them for their impressive accomplishments.”, states Dr. Carlos Härtel, jury member and Managing Director Europe

The other two winners of the CTO of the Year 2015 are Martin Curley of Intel Corporation and Jonathan O’Halloran of QuantuMDx.

  
About the CTO of the Year Award

European CTO of the Year is the leading European award, awarded by EIRMA (European Industrial Research Management Association) and Spinverse (Nordic leader in innovation consulting). The concept is Pan-European and, as Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission says: “Europe needs to celebrate those who advance technology and innovate. Initiatives like the “CTO of the year award” are very welcome as they lead to role models and further strengthen innovation in Europe”.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

'Seal' identifies project proposals which merit funding from alternative sources





TODAY – 13 October 2015 the European Commission has launched a new initiative called "Seal of Excellence". This new scheme will allow regions to recognise the quality label awarded to promising project proposals submitted under Horizon 2020 and promote their access to different funding sources like the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and other national or regional investment programmes. By introducing this new label, the European Commission wants to improve the synergies between EU funding for regional policy and for research.

The initiative was launched today by Commissioners Corina Creţu, responsible for Regional Policy and Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, at the OPEN DAYS - Week of European Regions and Cities.

Commissioner Corina Creţu said: "For 2014-2020, €100 billion worth of investments from the European Regional Development Fund will foster research and innovation, including over €32 billion earmarked to support SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs, the main drivers of innovation in Europe. The Seal of Excellence will help identify and support innovative projects and help them grow and compete internationally."

Commissioner Carlos Moedas said: "EU regions are already a major investor in quality research and innovation in Europe. Through the Seal of Excellence they can benefit from the world class Horizon 2020 evaluation system to easily identify the best projects in their regions to support with their  funds".

The "Seal of Excellence" quality label will be awarded to promising projects submitted under Horizon 2020 which could not secure funding due to budgetary constraints but received high assessment scores in the demanding and independent evaluation process. In its pilot phase, the "Seal of Excellence" will first be given to proposals by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) submitted under the SME instrument of Horizon 2020. The action could then be extended to cover more areas of Horizon 2020.

How does the 'Seal of Excellence' work in practice?

The Horizon 2020 'SME instrument' has been selected for the introduction of the 'Seal of Excellence' because of the relevance to regional and national funders, as the project proposals are mostly led by a single SME and address small scale R&I actions close to the market with a clear territorial impact.

The action concerns, for this initial ‘pilot’ phase, only proposals applying for the SME instrument and in particular all those SME instrument proposals evaluated above the quality threshold (13 or more out of 15 in Phase 1, or 12 or more out of 15 in Phase 2) but not receiving Horizon 2020 funding. Later on it could be extended to cover more areas of Horizon 2020. A holder of the certificate can then approach alternative funding sources (regional, national, private or public) and presents the certificate as a label of a high-quality project proposal.

What should the SMEs expect?

While the Commission certifies with the seal the quality of the proposals according to Horizon 2020 criteria, it may not always be the case that, at local level, the SME will find funding schemes ready to provide the required support and, where they have been established, funding will not be automatic simply based on the recognition of the seal.

Further information on funding opportunities can be obtained at the local/national level either directly with the Managing Authorities or through Europe Enterprise Network and National Contact Point network.

Interested in implementing the 'Seal' approach?

In order to allow for exchanges of know-how, the European Commission has established a 'Community of Practice' exploring the best ways to implement funding schemes in support of high-quality projects with the 'Seal of Excellence' through ESIF or other sources. The 'Community of Practice' is reserved for National or Regional authorities that have a funding power for Research and Innovation actions. It is also open to other Funding Agencies for Innovating SMEs (including private banks and investors).

National or Regional authorities that can provide funding for Research and Innovation, interested in being part of the Europe-wide 'Community of Practice', can send an Expression of Interest by e-mail.

Background
Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding programme between 2014 – 2020, offers nearly €80 billion in investments for research and innovation projects to support Europe’s economic
competitiveness. At least 20%, or nearly €9 billion from the programme's 'leadership in industrial technologies' and 'societal challenge' pillars, is expected to benefit SMEs directly in the form of grants, including via the "SME Instrument".

Since 2013, the new rules governing investments under the European Structural and Investment Funds call for a more strategic and synergetic use of different EU funds for a greater impact on growth and jobs. With a budget of €450 billion for the 2014–2020 period, the European Structural and Investment Funds invest in key growth-generating areas such as innovation, support to SMEs, training and education, social inclusion and the low-carbon economy.

The OPEN DAYS – the European Week of Regions and Cities are co-hosted by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions. From 12 to 14 October 2015, 6,000 representatives
from Europe's regions and cities are gathering in Brussels for the 13th annual OPEN DAYS to exchange their views on how to fully exploit the potential of Cohesion Policy in terms of growth and job creation.




Monday, 12 October 2015

SusChem Position Paper on the Circular Economy

Following approval by the SusChem board, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry has published a position paper on the Circular Economy. You can download the paper here. Since its inception in 2004 SusChem has inspired numerous research and innovation activities that address major European societal issues. SusChem’s solutions are based on sustainable enabling technologies developed by the chemical industry and its partners in academia, research and technology organisations, and other industrial players from a wide variety of different value-chains and sectors. Many of these technologies are essential to the implementation of a sustainable circular economy.

The position paper develops SusChem’s vision for a functioning circular economy in Europe (and globally) and provides some concrete examples of the high impact contributions that the platform and its partners can make to achieve this essential objective.

The paper has three main messages.

A sustainability-based approach is needed
The integration of all aspects of sustainability is essential to the development of a circular economy in order to effectively ensure a positive impact on society while minimising environmental impact and maintaining economic growth.

Technology development is required for a sustainable circular economy
A circular economy cannot be achieved only through implementation of new regulations, services and business models.  Advanced technologies are essential to enable a better use of existing resources along the whole life cycle to develop new production and recycling paths – and the expertise of the chemical industry as a material supplier is highly valuable and important here. In particular SusChem believes that the principle technology developments should take place in the following three areas:
  • Utilisation of sustainable alternative feedstock including  secondary raw materials, ligno-cellulosic biomass, waste or CO2 from industrial flue gases. 
  • Design of sustainable materials enabling eco design of ‘products’ that are easy to recycle while maintaining or improving performance.
  • Improved efficiency for production processes to maximise the use of all resources entering the system including primary and secondary raw materials, water, and energy.
These technologies are more fully described in the SusChem’s 2015 Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) and should be supported through the appropriate European funding instruments.

Coherence and stability over time for the policy framework is critical for European leadership
To contribute fully to a sustainable economy, the circular economy policy should be developed in coordination with other related policies such as the Energy Union Package. Policy coherence, as well as policy stability over time, is essential to establish a regulatory framework that enables investment in sustainable, resource efficient and innovative technologies in Europe and ensures European leadership in sustainable/clean technologies.

Case studies
The SusChem position paper concludes with  five case studies that describe a selection of potential contributions by SusChem technology solutions to the circular economy. Each case study describes the potential contribution of the technology to the circular economy, the technology development or deployment required, and the non technology barriers and policy framework aspects that require addressing.

The case studies cover:
  • Utilisation of CO2 as an alternative carbon resource 
  • New composite materials
  • New catalysts 
  • Industrial symbiosis 
  • Biorefineries
More information
The full position paper can be downloaded here. If you have any questions about the paper, how you or you organisation could work with SusChem in achieving the circular economy, or would like more information on SusChem activities in general, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Metal By-product Recovery

The European Commission’s DG GROW is organising an International Conference on ‘Exchange of good practices on metal by-products recovery –technology and policy challenges’ in Brussels on 12-13 November 2015 at the Thon EU Hotel. The Conference will tackle the technology challenges as well as the policies and regulatory framework appropriate to promote the recovery of metal by-products which are currently sub-optimally exploited.

The event will provide a unique opportunity to share experiences, exchange good practices and present existing examples across the whole raw materials value chain. It will bring together industry, academia and research entities excelling in technologies to recover metal by-products, as well as relevant public entities and policy makers from the EU and from third countries.

The conference will be highly relevant to many SusChem stakeholders interested in materials and process technologies. The SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) features access to critical raw materials in its first chapter on climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials.

Existing and emerging technologies vital for the progress of our society and the competitiveness of our economy are highly dependent on the sustainable supply of raw materials. In particular, a number of scarce or critical metals play a fundamental role on innovations in high-tech sectors such as renewable energy, telecommunications, information technology and the defence industry.

Strategic metals
Many of these strategic metals are often by-products of mining, processing and recycling: they are contained in ore bodies or complex end-of life products accompanying elements of the major metals, usually at low concentrations. Nowadays, many by-products are often not properly recovered so they finish diluted in major elements or in waste streams.

There will be a specific session of the Conference aimed to promote cooperation in the field of research and innovation. Draft versions of the Horizon 2020 work programmes for 2016-2017 have recently been published online. The session will include an overview of the topics on raw materials under Societal Challenge 5 of Horizon 2020 Programme, with particular attention to the topic SC5-13b: 'New technologies for the enhanced recovery of by-products (2016)'. These draft calls reflect some of the topics outlined in the SusChem SIRA.

Registration for the conference is free but the deadline for registration is 25 October and space is limited so register soon! You can find the link to registration here.

More information
Further information on the event can be found at the dedicated conference website or contact the conference secretariat. More information on the European Commission’s actions to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials for the European Union can be found on the DG GROW website and the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials website. The raw materials section of the SusChem website can be found here.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Catalysts for Cleaner Cement Production

Sustainable chemistry has a major role in building our future Smart Cities, ensuring our technologies are as clean as possible and providing the basis for 'green' living.

SusChem has provided much input on chemistry's contribution to energy efficiency in buildings and their contribution to Smart Cities initiatives including the SusChem report "Innovative chemistry for Energy efficiency of buildings in smart cities" and our visionary flagship project the Smart Energy Home

Another clear example of chemistry's contribution to cleaner construction is provided by Clariant. Cement production generates considerable harmful emissions including fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and ammonia, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and sulfur oxides. Cement is the main component of concrete, the most widely used construction material in the world.

Using a combined catalytic process the emissions from cement production can be reduced by 90% or more. In a first stage nitrogen oxides and ammonia in the cement process flue gas react on a catalytic layer, where they bind to iron active centres. The molecules interact with each other forming water and harmless nitrogen.

In the next stage remaining organic contaminants and carbon monoxide are eliminated by catalytic oxidation in an innovative ceramic honeycomb catalyst with an activated zeolite-coated surface. The zeolite matrix provides durable protection against dust, sulfur oxides, and moisture which can result in fast catalyst deactivation. This key innovation enables the catalyst to survive under the harsh conditions of the process for a considerable time.

Benefits
Using the two-stage process toxic pollutants are almost completely purified with pollutant emissions reduced by 90% and more meaning that required emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants can be easily met by cement plants. You can find out more about this innovative process in the video below.



For more information on SusChem initiatives for Smart Cities and construction materials, please contact SusChem coordinator Jacques Kormornicki at Cefic.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Non-animal-based safety assessment: within reach or over-sold?

The Long-Range Research Initiative Programme (LRI) of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) is organising its 17th annual workshop on 18 and 19 November 2015 in Brussels. This year, the Annual CEFIC-LRI Workshop will focus on non–animal-based safety assessment and will showcase the outcome and impact of several LRI projects completed in 2014-2015 from the fields of environmental risk assessment, bioconcentration, chemo-informatics, exposure modeling, skin sensitization and acceptance of innovation.

Registration is now open and free!
The Cefic-LRI workshop is a must-attend event for the scientific community and an excellent networking opportunity for policymakers. This year’s venue is Le Plaza Hotel Brussels.

On the first day the LRI programme will present the winner of the LRI Innovative Science Award for 2015 and also catch up with the progress of winner of the 2014 LRI Award winner Dr Alexandra Antunes (pictured below) of the Centro de Química Estrutural, Complexo Interdisciplinar Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal and her work on Covalent Modification of Histones by Carcinogens: a novel proteomic approach toward the assessment of chemically-induced cancers.

The second day will feature plenary sessions on the impact of LRI projects with a focus on environmental risk assessment, bioconcentration, chemo-informatics, exposure modelling, skin sensitisation, and acceptance of innovation.

And during the afternoon of Day 2, Prof Ian Kimber of the University of Manchester will moderate a dedicated panel discussion on non-animal-based safety assessment with the working title: “Non-animal based safety assessment: within reach or over-sold? Do we need to set back expectations?”

The panel will focus on current and future developments in non-animal toxicity testing methods and examine visionary versus unrealistic regulatory expectations in view of REACH 2018. Key questions include:
  • What progress has been made in assessing risks to man without generating in vivo test data?
  • Has the use of in vitro technologies, “shifted” in the right direction?
  • What can be achieved with new developments and by when?
  • What are the biggest challenges? 
  • What is really needed to get 'omics' accepted in regulation?
The members of the panel will be Dr Karel de Raat (ECHA), Dr Karen Niven (Shell), Dr Alan Poole (ECETOC), Dr Rick Becker (American Chemistry Council), Dr Raffaella Corvi (JRC/EURL-ECVAM), Prof Jim Bridges (Univ. Surrey), and Dr Kirsty Reid (Eurogroup for Animals).
 
For more details go on the 17th Annual CEFIC-LRI workshop visit the dedicated webpage.

A draft programme for the workshop can be downloaded here.

To register for the event, please click here.

You can follow the event on Twitter via the hashtag #lri2015

For more information on the workshop, please contact Dr. Bruno Hubesch, LRI Programme Manager or the LRI Secretariat.

More about LRI
The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) programme is a major voluntary initiative of the European chemical industry to support the long-term sustainability of its sector and European society. Through the programme we hope to identify the hazards posed by chemicals and improve the methods available for assessing the associated risks.

The LRI sponsors high-quality research of a standard publishable in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, and seeks to provide sound scientific advice on which industry and regulatory bodies can draw-on to respond quickly and accurately to the public's concerns.