Wednesday, 28 June 2017

#suschem2017 in tweets

We've assembled the story of the SusChem Stakeholder event on June 8 as told through twitter! Enjoy!



Please feel free to share with your colleagues.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Sustainable chemistry: Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe

On 8 June 2017 the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) held its 15th annual Stakeholder event (#suschem2017) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels, Belgium. The theme for #suschem2017 was ‘Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe: Shaping expectations and priorities for the next EU Framework Programme (FP9)’. A full proceedings document for #suschem2017 will published on the new SusChem website in the near future.

#suschem2017 brought together senior players from the chemical and biotechnology industries, academia, research technology organisations (RTOs) and EU institutions to address common challenges and debate priorities crucial to the sustainability of the European chemical and biotechnology innovation sectors.

Sustainable, circular, responsible
In an opening plenary presentation Peter Dröll, Director for Industrial Technologies at the European Commission DG Research and Innovation (below) stated that “Our common future must be sustainable, circular and responsible” - concepts that SusChem and its activities are very much aligned with.


Dröll described some current thinking on aspects of FP9 including the concept of ‘missions’ and called on all attendees to make the collective case for investing more in EU research and innovation in the future - a theme that was repeated by many speakers during the day. In particular, the key to ensuring future funding was demonstrating the societal impact of current funding initiatives for research and innovation.

In his plenary address SusChem Chairman Dr Klaus Sommer stressed the need for a continuing role for industrial leadership in FP9 projects and the need for adequate funding to bridge the innovation ‘valley of death’ and ensure commercialisation. He noted SusChem’s key messages in its contribution to the Horizon 2020 consultation: in particular the value of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), such as SPIRE and the BBI JU, as instruments to promote competitiveness.

SusChem – a success story
SusChem is a clear success. Sommer stated that “85% of the input on topics found in SusChem’s Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) was now reflected in Horizon 2020 programmes”. This was a significant impact of which all SusChem stakeholders should be proud!


He also highlighted the swift success of the SPIRE PPP, a SusChem inspired initiative, in raising some €750 million of private funding for its projects. He said that “SPIRE is on its way and is already mission driven with a set of clear key performance indicators (KPIs) for Europe.”

Underlying this success is the plain fact that SusChem – and sustainable chemistry in general – is providing the solutions for the challenges that society faces across areas from climate change and energy transition to high performance materials to enable a circular economy and digitisation of the chemical and other process industries.

Breakout sessions
Participants split into three parallel breakout sessions all focused on various aspects of the future FP9 programme. The sessions consisted of short presentations on the topic area and then an interactive session with moderated small groups discussing the topic and providing insights and solutions. The results of the session were shared in an afternoon plenary session.


Breakout Session 1 looked to define success factors for EU funded projects to optimise innovation impact and value for Europe. Breakout Session 2 examined the role of SMEs as a driver of the EU innovation ecosystems and how we can stimulate market-creating innovation through SME funding. Breakout Session 3 looked at shaping funding instruments to accelerate innovation and competitiveness in Europe.

Panel discussion
In the afternoon SusChem stakeholders received updates from the SusChem NTP network and feedback from three morning workshop sessions on FP9. These had focused on aspects of boosting innovation impact, the role of SMEs and appropriate framework instruments.


The culmination of the FP9 debate was a high-level panel discussion that examined how to accelerate innovation and deliver impact in the forthcoming framework programme. The discussion was moderated by Cefic Executive Director for Research and Innovation Pierre Barthelemy with contributions from the European Commission and key SusChem stakeholders including large industry, small companies, research and technology organisations and PPPs.


Kurt Vandenberghe, Director for Policy Development and Coordination at the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, opened the discussion by describing the important role that SusChem and other European technology platforms can play in shaping FP9.  He said that there are calls not to change anything from Horizon 2020 but there is a need to balance change and continuity to maximise impact. For industry Ulrich Küsthardt, SusChem Board Member and CIO at Evonik, insisted that continued public funding for larger companies should continue. The executive director of SPIRE Àngels Orduña explained the added value of PPPs, such as SPIRE, saying that the public-private partnership is able to gather together complete innovation ecosystems, connecting existing systems and networks, increasing the participation of industry both large and small. From the research perspective, Professor Michael Matlosz from the French National Research Agency (ANR) stated that FP9 must maintain the research competitive edge that previous programmes had delivered and that the EU should continue to base its strategies on its strengths. Muriel Attané of EARTO felt that more pilot and demonstration projects would be needed and we should be building a technology infrastructure that would be appropriate for decades to come. Iryna Sukhotska from Spanish SME Biopolis stressed that all sizes of companies are important in the innovation ecosystem and partnerships with large chemical industry are crucial for small companies.

The debate highlighted also the need to preserve the right balance between research and innovation in FP9, as well as the industrial eco system of funding for small and large companies. In particular a clear narrative demonstrating the impact of sustainable chemistry innovation to help citizens and politicians to understand its value to society must be developed – and fast!

FP9 – our mission
From the #suschem2017 discussions it is clear that SusChem needs to think about the concept of missions in FP9: what do we want missions to be and how can we develop our vision for mission targets. We also need to support the success of PPPs in Horizon 2020, such as SPIRE and BBI, and their ability to operate along the whole innovation value chain – an essential element to deliver impact.


FP9 needs to be more inclusive for new member states, but also ensure that successful innovation is the paramount objective to achieve sustainable jobs and growth in Europe. More simplification of procedures in FP9 was desirable, but we need to conserve what was good in Horizon 2020.

Better alignment between EU programmes and national level initiatives is also needed, and funding for industry large and small should be continued to ensure a healthy industrial innovation ecosystem that can deliver new goods and services to the market.

SusChem’s new brand
Earlier in the day the new SusChem branding was presented by the SusChem Communication team who invited delegates to “step into your sustainable future!”. The new branding underlines the message that “We are all SusChem” and that together all stakeholders should stand as strong ambassadors for the SusChem brand.


During the day stakeholders got an in-depth brand experience with visual, taste, auditory, smell and touch elements. In addition other brand experiences included an on-site animator and a wish tree (see below), where stakeholders were encouraged to write down their one main wish for FP9 with one lucky delegate’s wish winning an iWatch in a draw at the end of the day.


Thank you Klaus!
At the end of the day SusChem board Chairman Klaus Sommer (below) received a standing ovation from the delegates after announcing that, due to new responsibilities, he would be standing down from the SusChem board later in the year. Dr Sommer has been a significant figure in SusChem since its formation and he said that it had been wonderful to work with so many committed people and was proud that SusChem had achieved so much. We will miss you Klaus!


A full proceedings document for #suschem2017 will published on the new SusChem website in the near future.


To view more of the #suschem2017 photo gallery click here.

Friday, 23 June 2017

BIC Announces New SIRA For Europe’s Bioeconomy

To help build a resource-efficient, circular and bio-based economy, the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) has just launched its new Strategic and Research Agenda (SIRA). The SIRA identifies the activities needed to speed up the development of sustainable and competitive biobased industries in Europe – an aim that SusChem wholly supports and has helped to foster for many years.

The SIRA reflects BIC’s ambition to transform Europe into a world leading bioeconomy. The updated SIRA addresses the technological and innovation challenges facing the biobased industries, takes a ‘multi-value-chain’ approach and integrates new feedstocks such as aquatic-based sources, biowaste (including from waste from food processing) and the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). The document also considers the aims of BIC’s newest members, as well as technology and market developments since the first BIC SIRA was adopted in 2013.

The new BIC SIRA identifies the research and innovation actions needed to deliver tangible and increasingly ambitious environmental, social and economic benefits by 2020 and also 2030.
Biobased value chains are at the heart of the SIRA, which is founded on four key pillars:

  • Fostering a supply of sustainable biomass feedstock for both existing and new value chains 
  • Optimising efficient processing for integrated biorefineries through research, development and innovation (R&D&I) 
  • Developing innovative biobased products for identified market applications 
  • Creating and accelerating market uptake of biobased products and applications 

The biobased industries in Europe have been evolving rapidly. Driven by business and consumer demand for greener products and by policy developments such as the European Bioeconomy Strategy and equivalent strategies in Member States, they have started to invest in technological advancements and deployment. They will receive a further boost from the increased efficiency of innovative technologies and their upscaling to commercial levels, and from the new policy focus on the circular economy and decarbonisation that initiatives such as the European circular economy package and COP21 have brought.


Circular bioeconomy
John Bell, Director for Bioeconomy, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission said:
“The latest SIRA is designed to attract new industrial sectors and stimulate closer collaboration between different industries. It envisages the creation of novel value chains, making it easier for the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) to fully support the development of a circular bioeconomy, while enabling Europe to achieve its climate goals and the objectives of the Juncker Plan to boost investment, sustainable growth and job creation.”
Mat Quaedvlieg, Vice President Strategic Business Projects at Sappi, and Chair of the BIC and BBI JU Governing Boards said:
“Since the start of the BBI JU, new value chains have emerged using feedstocks from the food processing sector, the aquatic-based sector, and even biowaste and CO2. More and more industrial sectors are collaborating on BBI JU projects, seizing the opportunity to create value from waste and side streams. This growth will speed up the development of an innovative, sustainable and competitive European economy, in line with the European Bioeconomy Strategy.”
Dynamic and sustainable
Dynamic and sustainable biobased industries in Europe can deliver many environmental, economic and social benefits. They can help to meet EU objectives in areas ranging from economic growth, job creation, the circular economy and resource efficiency to climate change mitigation, security, agriculture modernisation and regional development.

Biobased industries make use of European biomass sources and sustainable European supply chains. As such, they lower our dependency on imports and contribute to our raw material security. With 90% of Europe’s chemical industry feedstocks for non-energy use coming from fossil resources, access to alternatives is an important strategic issue. In addition Biobased industries can create opportunities for local regeneration in rural and coastal areas, fostering cooperation between different stakeholders along the value chain.

You can access and download the revised SIRA here.

Biobased Industries Consortium
The Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) is a non-profit organisation based in Brussels. It represents the private sector in the public-private partnership (PPP) with the EU on Bio-based Industries (BBI). Worth €3.7 billion, the partnership mobilises investment in innovative facilities and processes that manufacture high-quality bio-based products as well as in biorefining research and demonstration projects.

BIC is host to a unique mix of sectors that currently covers agriculture, agro-food, forestry, pulp and paper, chemicals, energy and other manufacturing sectors. With over 200 members including large companies, SMEs, SME Clusters, RTOs, universities, technology platforms and associations spread across Europe, BIC brings together an authoritative pool of cross sector and multi-disciplinary expertise in the field of bio-based industries.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Together for Sustainable Chemistry: The new SusChem website

Today, (15 June 2017), SusChem has publicly launched its new website featuring fresh content and the platform’s distinctive new branding. The SusChem website’s bright and distinctive new visual style emphasises the platform’s values and aspirations, and is designed to help widen its appeal and accessibility. SusChem stakeholders were briefed on the new design at #suschem2017 on 8 June. SusChem was conceived in 2004 to shape one voice on innovation for the European chemical industry and has been very successful in promoting the chemical sciences and biotechnology in European research and innovation programmes for over the past decade.

Triple focus
The new website has a triple focus on SusChem’s policies, its technologies and its initiatives to cater for the diverse audiences that the platform reaches out to.

The primary policy vision driving SusChem’s thinking and initiatives is of a sustainable low-carbon economy in Europe that can avert or adapt to the impacts of significant climate change and support a dynamic innovation and industrial eco-system. Under this overall vision the website focuses on five main policy areas: Competitiveness, the Circular Economy, the Energy Union, the Digital Single Market, and the Bioeconomy.

From a technology perspective SusChem was created to revitalise and inspire European chemistry and industrial biotechnology research, development and innovation in a sustainable way to respond to pressing societal challenges. Its technologies are grouped into three general areas: Advanced materials, Process, and Digital.

In its initiatives section SusChem highlights its robust framework that brings together research, development and innovation actors from academia and industry across Europe providing an open and collaborative space to formulate and implement ideas that address major societal challenges.


Together for sustainability:

“Sustainability and competitiveness are strategic priorities for SusChem,” says Dr. Flavio Benedito, Cefic innovation manager and Secretary of SusChem. “Progress on sustainability, competitiveness and environmental protection are intimately linked; and chemical products and chemistry-driven technological advances provide critical answers to ensure the sustainable development of modern societies. The breakthrough technologies needed to transform our society to a more sustainable future will be enabled through chemistry. This concept of ‘Together for sustainability’ was a key element in the evolution of the new SusChem branding and website.”

The new SusChem branding was developed by DogStudio design and web consultancy based in Namur, Belgium in collaboration with the SusChem communications team.

Esther Agyeman-Budu, Cefic communication manager and leader of the SusChem Communications team said: “Our task in developing the new website and branding was to maintain key visual links with our original artwork concept while modernising it and expressing SusChem’s current values and aspirations as a mature, influential, international and inclusive professional organisation.”

For more information, please visit the new SusChem website or contact the SusChem team directly.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

#suschem2017 in Pictures

The 2017 SusChem Stakeholder event #suschem2017 was  a day full of discussion and debate on the impact of SusChem inspired projects and a look forward to the scope and content of the next European Commission framework programme for research and innovation. SusChem stakeholders also got to experience the new SusChem branding and make their FP9 wish. Here are a selection of images from this highly interactive day.















Thanks to everyone who made #suschem2017 such a success!

#suschem2017 - Sustainable chemistry: Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe

Today, 8 June, 2017, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) will be holding its annual Stakeholder event (#suschem2017) in Brussels. The event will bring together global audiences, senior players from the chemical and biotechnology industries, academia, research technology organisations (RTOs) and EU institutions to address common challenges and debate priorities crucial to the sustainability of the European chemical and biotechnology innovation sectors. The theme for #suschem2017 is ‘Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe: Shaping expectations and priorities for the next EU Framework Programme’.

The SusChem Stakeholder event is the platform’s biggest and most influential event and will culminate with a high level debate on how Europe can accelerate innovation and deliver real socio-economic impact through the next European Research Framework Programme (FP9). There will also be updates from SusChem’s network of National Technology Platforms and the launch of new SusChem branding at the event. All participants will get a chance to give input to the proceedings through parallel breakout workshops.
SusChem Chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer said: “Our SusChem 2017 Stakeholder event will provide input on success factors for innovation impact, how to better stimulate SMEs to engage with FP9 and which new instruments might be required in FP9, amongst other topics. This is exactly the role that a European Technology Platform like SusChem should play, continuing our role as thought leaders for sustainable chemistry Research & Innovation in Europe.”
What’s happening?
In the morning, the event will kick off with plenary presentations from Peter Droell, Director at European Commission DG Research and Innovation for Industrial Technologies and Dr. Klaus Sommer, Chairman of the SusChem Board. The SusChem communications team will also present the SusChem rebranding project.

Participants will then split into three parallel breakout workshop sessions. The three breakout session topics are:
  • Defining success factors for EU funded projects to optimise innovation impact and value for Europe. How can we maximise the market uptake and impact of EU funded project results by examining success learnings from projects?
  • SMEs as a driver of the EU innovation ecosystems: How can we stimulate market-creating innovation through SME funding? This breakout session will try to identify the right mechanisms and ways to enhance their engagement in European public funding.  
  • Shaping funding instruments to accelerate innovation and competitiveness in Europe. This breakout session we will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the design and structure of EU innovation funding instruments by sharing experiences with Horizon 2020.
FP9 debate
In the afternoon SusChem stakeholders will receive updates from the SusChem NTP network and feedback from the breakout sessions before a high-level panel discussion will examine how to accelerate innovation and deliver impact in the forthcoming FP9 programme.
“The SusChem platform has made a significant contribution to the formulation, execution, implementation and success of the FP7 and Horizon 2020 European research and innovation programmes. The forthcoming FP9 programme is a great opportunity to ensure that this success continues for the benefit of European industry and society in general. For this it is essential that the outcomes of successful projects are widely implemented to achieve tangible impact.” concludes Sommer.
The panel will be moderated by Cefic Executive Director for Research and Innovation Pierre Barthelemy and features contributions from Prof. Michael Matlosz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the French National Research Agency (ANR), Angels Orduña, the SPIRE PPP Executive Director, Iryna Sukhotska, Head of Public Affairs and R&D Project Management at Biopolis, Ulrich Kuesthardt, SusChem Board Member and CIO at Evonik, Muriel Attané, Secretary General of EARTO and Kurt Vandenberghe, Director for Policy Development and Coordination at DG Research and Innovation.



#suschem2017 takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels, You can access the full programme for the event is available here.