SusChem Publishes New Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda

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BRUSSELS, March 16, 2015 —Today the European Technology Platform (ETP) for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) has published its Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA).  SusChem’s new SIRA sets out its innovation priorities for the short and medium term.

The new strategic document highlights the role of the chemical industry in boosting innovation in Europe and the potential for sustainable chemistry technologies to tackle societal challenges, as outlined in the European Commission’s Research Framework Programme Horizon 2020.

The new SIRA introduces major changes from the past SusChem Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) by addressing new topics such as ICTand manufacturing, the value chain impact, mobility and health. It also outlines the crucial links between SusChem’s priorities and the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) that Europe has been pushing forward.

Chemical value

Some 20% of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the European Union (EU) is due to the direct and indirect contributions of the chemical industry to EU Gross Value Added (GVA). The industry works along nearly all value chains and across industrial sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals and crop protection to the automotive sector, defence, construction, textiles and consumer goods.

The European chemical industry plays a pivotal role in supporting Europe 2020: the EU’s growth strategy for the next decade that aims to transform the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. The SIRA explains the strategy and role of SusChem in this context. It highlights a portfolio of sustainable chemistry research and innovation actions that the platform believes can make a significant contribution to improving competitiveness and sustainability in the EU, address societal challenges and contribute to achieving jobs and inclusive growth.

"Everything we do should be focused on ultimately improving societal conditions, in particular, with respect to sustainability – working for ‘People, Planet and Profit’”,says Dr Klaus Sommer, Chairman of the SusChem Board. "Our work will be fully justified if we can simultaneously create jobs, improve the environment and generate greater economic success and wellbeing.”

"In this spirit, the new SIRA is a great opportunity for SusChem and sustainable chemistry research and innovation across Europe,” continues Dr Sommer. "The SIRA will add value to the societal, scientific and industrial debate and help us to focus on the real challenges we face.”

Societal challenges

The SIRA is organised around five of the seven key societal challenges described in Horizon 2020 and highlights a portfolio of potential sustainable chemistry solutions. Each challenge is covered in a dedicated SIRA chapter.

  • Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials (SC5) addressing issues around the circular economy, raw materials and feedstock, water and waste management, resource and energy efficiency, and process intensification for the chemical plant of the future.
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and the bioeconomy(SC2)  contributing solutions along the full bioeconomy value chain from planting to new biobased products and fuels.
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy (SC3) shows benefits for energy efficiency gains (due particularly to new materials) within industry and in wider society and contributes to low carbon energy production and advanced energy storage technologies.
  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing (SC1) illustrates SusChem’s potential to enable personalised healthcare and advanced diagnostic techniques.
  • Smart, green and integrated transport (SC4) shows how sustainable chemistry will contribute to greener vehicles providing mobility with low or no emissions.

Two further SIRA chapters cover Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), describing how more sustainable processes can be enabled by ICT and how sustainable chemistry itself enables advances in ICT, and Horizontal Issues illustrating SusChem’s ambitions to build skills capacity, better assess sustainability in manufacturing, address issues of societal uptake of technologies, and promote innovative business models.

The SIRA has been presented to European Commission officials and will form part of the input to future calls under Horizon 2020. Next steps and the implementation of the SIRA will be discussed at the next SusChem Stakeholder event on June 8-9 2015.

For more information or to receive a printed copy, please contact Esther Agyeman-Budu, Cefic communication manager for research and innovation via eab@cefic.be. The full SIRA document can be downloaded here.

Note to editors: SusChem is joint initiative between Cefic, DECHEMA, EuropaBio, GDCh, ESAB and RSC that has the objective to revitalize and inspire European chemistry and industrial biotechnology research, development, and innovation in a sustainable way. More information on the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) can be found here: http://www.suschem.org

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