SusChem 2021 Brokerage Event reveals funding opportunities to accelerate chemical innovations


Sustainable chemistry is the next step for our industry” stressed Josef Wuensch, SusChem Chairman at the SusChem 2021 Brokerage event Unraveling Horizon Europe calls: Team up to apply for funding’ on June 21st.. To reach it, investments in Research & Innovation are crucial”, he continued. One of the main goals of the Horizon Europe funding programme is precisely to stimulate innovation and support the objectives of the European Green Deal to fight climate change and make Europe climate-neutral by 2050.

Wuensch highlighted the sense of urgency to apply for Horizon Europe’s first calls, with deadlines in September 2021. “Please put your ideas on the table, we need your creativity for applications to support the EU Green Deal”.  

Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design is the guiding principle for funding innovation

With a total of €14.7 billion in funding, researchers and top-class innovators will be able to develop and deploy their ideas for a green, healthy, digital and inclusive Europe. A guiding principle for future work will be the concept of Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design. Jürgen Tiedje, Head of Unit of Industrial Transformation at DG-RTD, highlighted “We would like to embark on a debate on safe and sustainability-by-design when it comes to the use of chemicals and materials, in some application areas”.

This principle can be translated as an approach to the design, development and use of substances, materials and/or products that focuses on providing a function (or service), while reducing harmful impacts to human health and the environment. However, Tiedje pointed that the European Commission has not yet fully defined the criteria for Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design. “It is an ongoing discussion. For those who would like to apply, the focus should be on the application areas highlighted in topic requirements”, he added.

Horizon Europe calls of interest to the chemical industry

According to Eric Peeters, Chair of the Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative (EMIRI) and Vice President of Sustainability, Performance Materials & Coatings at Dow, “Advanced materials are the backbone of innovation for clean and sustainable energy and for mobility technologies. Integrating these technologies in society is fundamental”. Calls of interest to the chemical industry in the area of energy and mobility  are under Cluster 4 (Digital, Industry and Space) and Cluster 5 (Climate, Energy and Mobility) of Horizon Europe WP 2021-2022.

He added that “sustainability will be crucial for every single technology moving forward. When we want to bring a new technology to the market, three dimensions have to be considered. I call it the sustainability triangle: First, the technology needs to be more sustainable. Second, the technology has to be affordable. And the third element is performance. All three dimensions have to be met to scale solutions and make impact.”

Gilles Dennler, Chief Technology Officer at Innovation Plasturgie Composites (IPC France) identified “Resilience” and “Twin-transition”, under Cluster 4, and “​CIRCBIO​”, under Cluster 6, as relevant for materials circularity. He also emphasized the importance of collaboration showing how IPC is aligned with the innovation priorities of the SusChem SIRA on plastics circularity , published in 2018 with an updated version in 2020 . Moreover, he highlighted the Circular Plastics Alliance which aims to boost the EU market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025. Under the context of forming a collaborative community, the European Composites Plastics and Polymer Processing Platform (ECP4) was underlined, a gathering of research institutions (RTOs) of which IPC is a member. “It shows how we can work together to prepare for the calls and work on solutions for circularity”.

Examples of successful Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)

Angels Orduña, Executive Director at A.SPIRE describes Processes4Planet, the co-programmed partnership under Horizon Europe, as “a unique cross-sectoral community to reach ambitious of high ambitions on climate neutrality, circularity  and competitive Europe”. This partnership aims to develop and deploy the innovations needed for a profound transformation of 10 sectors of the EU process industries (including cement, chemical, steel) in order to achieve the EU Green Deal targets by 2050.

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) is working together with the European Commission on a new institutional public-private partnership for the bio-based industries. “The Circular Bio-based Europe partnership will contribute significantly to the 2030 climate targets, paving the way for climate neutrality by 2050, and will increase the sustainability and circularity of production and consumption systems, in line with the European Green Deal”, explained Dirk Carrez, Executive Director at BIC. The first calls for grants under this partnership, which is the successor to the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU), are expected to be published in the first quarter of 2022.

ADRA,  a new co-programmed PPP, will be driven by developing and deploying value-driven trustworthy AI, Data and Robotics  based on European fundamental rights, principles and values. “It will build a coherent infrastructure to stimulate deployment and adoption, ​build up an effective innovation ecosystem and drive excellent research”, stressed Iddo Bante, Business Director at Digital Society Institute of University of Twente. ADRA expects to be open for membership applications in the last quarter of 2021.

Which other sources of funding exist?

The chemical industry as well as its Academia and RTOs stakeholders can benefit from the European Innovation Council (EIC) funding programme and connect to start-ups and SMEs with disruptive innovations.

EIC is the €10 billion flagship programme of the European Commission to identify, develop and scale up breakthrough technologies and disruptive innovations in Europe. It is unique in the world in combining  research on emerging technologies with an accelerator for startups, SMEs and scaleups. It has a pro-active approach with flexible funding and aims at enhancing the European innovation ecosystem. “It is a unique opportunity for Europe to go further on innovation and create jobs and growth from the high-level science that we already have in Europe. The EIC is there to bring together actors and stakeholders interested in innovation, and with partners like SusChem and Cefic, we are sure we can get the most out of this programme in Horizon Europe”, concluded Manuel Mendigutía, EIC Strategy Advisor and coordinator of the EIC Corporate partnership programme. 

Participants of the SusChem Brokerage Event 2021 can still share project ideas and access B2Match to book and enroll for the matchmaking session/networking with potential partners for consortia until 02 July 2021.

For questions, contact the SusChem team at

To download the webinar presentations, click here