Digital technologies, collaboration and funding are key in moving towards innovative, sustainable solutions for a low carbon and circular economy. That’s how Pierre Barthélemy, Executive Director of Cefic’s Programme Council Innovation, outlined the future of the chemical industry at the EuroNanoForum 2019 held in Bucharest from 12-14 June.
The EuroNanoForum 2019, an event of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, stands as the most significant European forum on Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials that brings together scientists, industrialists and policy makers.
In his presentation Barthélemy said more research and innovation in the chemical industry is needed in going forward. To meet the industry’s objective of a competitive, low carbon and circular economy in Europe and beyond, in the context of very ambitious policy goals, we need to step up investments in innovative and sustainable solutions. Solutions are needed both in terms of advanced materials – building insulation, high performance batteries, lightweight materials – as well as advanced processes – alternative feedstock, better use and storage of alternative energy sources.
To enable these ambitious solutions, the industry needs digital technologies that are fully integrated with processes, materials development and business models. We need cross-sectorial collaboration. More importantly, we need funding. The chemical industry has received funding from Horizon 2020 and relies on Horizon Europe as one of the future possible funding instruments.
Barthélemy, highlighted SusChem as an example of existing collaboration across the innovation ecosystem. The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry brings together industry, academia, policy makers, value chain partners and the wider society. In a parallel session on ‘Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials research in H2020 and Horizon Europe,’ Nieves Gonzalez Ramon, Manager of Advanced Materials at Cefic, built on this example. She explained how this community is working on a Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda to seize the opportunity and pre-empt challenges of Horizon Europe. The agenda is expected to be finalized before the upcoming 2019 SusChem Stakeholder meeting on 27 November 2019.