SusChem launched its new SIRA at the SusChem 2019 Stakeholders event “Sustainable Chemistry to solve global challenges: the new SusChem Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda” on 27 November, in Brussels. The document outlines priorities for sustainable chemistry-related research, development and innovation with the aim of building sustainable societies in Europe and globally.
“Sustainable chemistry is absolutely key to the future and the new SusChem SIRA addresses important topics for the future of Europe,” commented SusChem Chairman Dr. Markus Steilemann. “This new SIRA will further stimulate the chemical sector to find the right answers to the pressing challenges our world is facing, such as climate change and protecting the environment and human health”.
“Over 100 experts, from across Europe and across the innovation ecosystem, were involved in formulating the technology priorities outlined in the new SusChem SIRA” said Vivi Filippousi, SusChem Manager at Cefic, praising the extensive co-creation and collaboration resulting in the new SIRA. “The journey towards the new SIRA was also supported by the SusChem Board members, the SusChem network of National Technology Platforms (NTPs) as well as the European Commission with consistent feedback along the way”.
Three interconnected challenge areas are identified in the new SusChem SIRA: circular economy and resource efficiency; a low carbon economy; and environmental and human health. Connecting with these three overarching priorities, SusChem’s technology priorities and their specific challenges are clearly articulated in the document. With a horizon of 2030, the SusChem SIRA presents innovation priorities that could be implemented under the next European Commission Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon Europe) and other large-scale collaborative initiatives. The technology priorities range across Advanced Materials, Advanced Processes as well as the implementation and co-development of Enabling Digital Technologies within the chemical sector and associated sectors and value chain partners. Horizontal topics are equally addressed and highlighted, including sustainability assessment innovation, safe-by-design for chemicals and materials, as well as building on education and skills capacity in Europe.
During the Stakeholders event, discussions focused on digital transformation opportunities in the chemical and industrial biotechnology sector, the future role of Horizon Europe partnerships and platforms, and the requirements to enable the circular economy and the low-carbon energy transition.
“This is an important day for SusChem – you have shaped expectations,” said Peter Dröll, Director of Prosperity at the European Commission’s Research and Innovation directorate. “Horizon Europe is about sustainability and supporting the economic agenda of the new Commission.”
The new SusChem SIRA is clearly aligned with the priorities of the new Commission and, in particular, enabling the Green Deal agenda and broadening the scope and implementation of digital technologies across industry and society to make Europe fit for the digital age. “Impact is key and it is highlighted throughout the new SusChem SIRA,” he concluded.
Marco Mensink, Cefic’s Director General encouraged everyone to read the document. “It is full of gems,” he said. “It describes a wealth of solutions that the EU chemical sector can provide for a truly sustainable future.”
The work starts now
In her closing remarks, Vivi Filippousi recognised the complexities of the road ahead and the even bigger opportunities presented through the new SusChem SIRA saying: “2050 should not be the target for achieving sustainability, but 2030; this will not only require improving existing practices but coming up with new ones.”
“The new SIRA is just the beginning. Together, we need to make it real and provide vital sustainable chemistry solutions that can effectively address global challenges.”
The new SusChem SIRA is available here.