The SusChem Brokerage Event 2018 took place at the distinguished Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels on 23 October and was attended by some 180 participants. The audience was updated on Commission proposals for the 2019 and 2020 Horizon 2020 work programme and forthcoming calls in areas relevant to sustainable chemistry. In addition, a wide range of project ideas and consortia were presented in some 39 presentations across three project pitching sessions and inspiring talks on disruptive innovation were given. Information booths presenting the programmes of the SPIRE cPPP, the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), and SusChem National Technology Platforms (NTPs) were open throughout the day and, of course, speed dating and informal networking was facilitated.
Delegates to #SusChemBrokerage2018 were welcomed by Vivi Filippousi, SusChem Secretary and Innovation Manager at Cefic, who introduced a video message of Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro and Chairman of the SusChem board. He welcomed the wide range of SusChem stakeholders at the event and urged them to continue the collaborative style that SusChem has initiated and to be “curious, colourful and make the world a brighter place through sustainable chemistry.”
Overviews of the forthcoming Horizon 2020 work programme and 2019 and 2020 calls were presented by Commission officials, although it was stressed that the topics presented were currently tentative and official texts would be published later in the year.
Potential topics in the materials (NMBP) area were presented by Søren Bowadt, Deputy Head of Unit; Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at the Commission’s DG Research. This was followed by Carmine Marzano, Programme officer for Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Biotechnologies who focused on process technologies – in particular the forthcoming SPIRE calls – and Panos Balabanis, Deputy Head of Unit for Eco-Innovation who concentrated on calls that offered direct support for the EU’s recent circular economy package and that connected economic and environmental gains.
In a second session call presentations from two further Commission speakers were presented. First, Arian Zwegers, Programme Officer for Technologies and Systems for Digitising Industry at DG-Connect described some of the calls in the digital with an emphasis on security, the concept of digital manufacturing platforms and big data applications
Topics on Energy were described by Silvia Vivarelli, Senior Project Adviser on Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency at the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) Goals in particular those putting energy efficiency first and providing the technical basis for the Clean Energy for all Europeans Package. Reducing final energy intensity in industry was a key goal.
Power pitching, disruptive innovation
After the morning coffee break, seven of SusChem’s NTPS (Spain, Finland, Czech Republic, the UK, Belgium, Slovenia and Greece) were introduced by Anne Chloe Devic from Cefic and presented a range of project ideas on behalf of national stakeholders including SMEs, larger companies, RTOs and universities.
An intense second Project Pitching session after lunch saw 22 speakers from large and small companies, RTOs and universities presenting their project ideas.
This was followed by two presentations on disruptive innovation in Europe.
Nicholas Zylberglajt, President and Co-Founder of the European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF) looked at trends and challenges in the European start-up ecosystem. To succeed start-ups needed access to talent and skills, funds and the ability to make effective and useful connections. He said that Europe had made huge progress over the last decade – the last five years especially – in terms of its start-up ecosystem with leading hubs in London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona.
Eric Pol, Senior Advisor at venture capital organisation Ventures4Growth described the sort of initiatives that he looks to invest in: companies doing good, relevant, and credible science with high quality, close-knit teams who were able to react to crisis. Overall, he thought that Europe was doing very well thanks to EU programmes and the existence of the single market.
A final, third pitch session saw presentations on behalf of nine sustainable chemistry start-up companies.
The day was completed with a networking cocktails and throughout the day a dedicated meeting room allowed individuals to meet and exchange ideas, speed date and build consortia. Information booths representing SusChem NTPs and the two SusChem inspired Horizon 2020 programme initiatives – the SPIRE cPPP and the BBI JU – were also open providing information on their forthcoming work programmes.
All in all, #SusChemBrokerage2018 was a packed and exhausting day with, in total, more than 50 project concepts presented and numerous individual contacts facilitated. We look forward to these exchanges leading to the birth of many new and successful projects in the next few months!
See all the presentations of the event here.