Friday, 23 June 2017

BIC Announces New SIRA For Europe’s Bioeconomy

To help build a resource-efficient, circular and bio-based economy, the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) has just launched its new Strategic and Research Agenda (SIRA). The SIRA identifies the activities needed to speed up the development of sustainable and competitive biobased industries in Europe – an aim that SusChem wholly supports and has helped to foster for many years.

The SIRA reflects BIC’s ambition to transform Europe into a world leading bioeconomy. The updated SIRA addresses the technological and innovation challenges facing the biobased industries, takes a ‘multi-value-chain’ approach and integrates new feedstocks such as aquatic-based sources, biowaste (including from waste from food processing) and the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). The document also considers the aims of BIC’s newest members, as well as technology and market developments since the first BIC SIRA was adopted in 2013.

The new BIC SIRA identifies the research and innovation actions needed to deliver tangible and increasingly ambitious environmental, social and economic benefits by 2020 and also 2030.
Biobased value chains are at the heart of the SIRA, which is founded on four key pillars:

  • Fostering a supply of sustainable biomass feedstock for both existing and new value chains 
  • Optimising efficient processing for integrated biorefineries through research, development and innovation (R&D&I) 
  • Developing innovative biobased products for identified market applications 
  • Creating and accelerating market uptake of biobased products and applications 

The biobased industries in Europe have been evolving rapidly. Driven by business and consumer demand for greener products and by policy developments such as the European Bioeconomy Strategy and equivalent strategies in Member States, they have started to invest in technological advancements and deployment. They will receive a further boost from the increased efficiency of innovative technologies and their upscaling to commercial levels, and from the new policy focus on the circular economy and decarbonisation that initiatives such as the European circular economy package and COP21 have brought.


Circular bioeconomy
John Bell, Director for Bioeconomy, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission said:
“The latest SIRA is designed to attract new industrial sectors and stimulate closer collaboration between different industries. It envisages the creation of novel value chains, making it easier for the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) to fully support the development of a circular bioeconomy, while enabling Europe to achieve its climate goals and the objectives of the Juncker Plan to boost investment, sustainable growth and job creation.”
Mat Quaedvlieg, Vice President Strategic Business Projects at Sappi, and Chair of the BIC and BBI JU Governing Boards said:
“Since the start of the BBI JU, new value chains have emerged using feedstocks from the food processing sector, the aquatic-based sector, and even biowaste and CO2. More and more industrial sectors are collaborating on BBI JU projects, seizing the opportunity to create value from waste and side streams. This growth will speed up the development of an innovative, sustainable and competitive European economy, in line with the European Bioeconomy Strategy.”
Dynamic and sustainable
Dynamic and sustainable biobased industries in Europe can deliver many environmental, economic and social benefits. They can help to meet EU objectives in areas ranging from economic growth, job creation, the circular economy and resource efficiency to climate change mitigation, security, agriculture modernisation and regional development.

Biobased industries make use of European biomass sources and sustainable European supply chains. As such, they lower our dependency on imports and contribute to our raw material security. With 90% of Europe’s chemical industry feedstocks for non-energy use coming from fossil resources, access to alternatives is an important strategic issue. In addition Biobased industries can create opportunities for local regeneration in rural and coastal areas, fostering cooperation between different stakeholders along the value chain.

You can access and download the revised SIRA here.

Biobased Industries Consortium
The Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) is a non-profit organisation based in Brussels. It represents the private sector in the public-private partnership (PPP) with the EU on Bio-based Industries (BBI). Worth €3.7 billion, the partnership mobilises investment in innovative facilities and processes that manufacture high-quality bio-based products as well as in biorefining research and demonstration projects.

BIC is host to a unique mix of sectors that currently covers agriculture, agro-food, forestry, pulp and paper, chemicals, energy and other manufacturing sectors. With over 200 members including large companies, SMEs, SME Clusters, RTOs, universities, technology platforms and associations spread across Europe, BIC brings together an authoritative pool of cross sector and multi-disciplinary expertise in the field of bio-based industries.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Together for Sustainable Chemistry: The new SusChem website

Today, (15 June 2017), SusChem has publicly launched its new website featuring fresh content and the platform’s distinctive new branding. The SusChem website’s bright and distinctive new visual style emphasises the platform’s values and aspirations, and is designed to help widen its appeal and accessibility. SusChem stakeholders were briefed on the new design at #suschem2017 on 8 June. SusChem was conceived in 2004 to shape one voice on innovation for the European chemical industry and has been very successful in promoting the chemical sciences and biotechnology in European research and innovation programmes for over the past decade.

Triple focus
The new website has a triple focus on SusChem’s policies, its technologies and its initiatives to cater for the diverse audiences that the platform reaches out to.

The primary policy vision driving SusChem’s thinking and initiatives is of a sustainable low-carbon economy in Europe that can avert or adapt to the impacts of significant climate change and support a dynamic innovation and industrial eco-system. Under this overall vision the website focuses on five main policy areas: Competitiveness, the Circular Economy, the Energy Union, the Digital Single Market, and the Bioeconomy.

From a technology perspective SusChem was created to revitalise and inspire European chemistry and industrial biotechnology research, development and innovation in a sustainable way to respond to pressing societal challenges. Its technologies are grouped into three general areas: Advanced materials, Process, and Digital.

In its initiatives section SusChem highlights its robust framework that brings together research, development and innovation actors from academia and industry across Europe providing an open and collaborative space to formulate and implement ideas that address major societal challenges.


Together for sustainability:

“Sustainability and competitiveness are strategic priorities for SusChem,” says Dr. Flavio Benedito, Cefic innovation manager and Secretary of SusChem. “Progress on sustainability, competitiveness and environmental protection are intimately linked; and chemical products and chemistry-driven technological advances provide critical answers to ensure the sustainable development of modern societies. The breakthrough technologies needed to transform our society to a more sustainable future will be enabled through chemistry. This concept of ‘Together for sustainability’ was a key element in the evolution of the new SusChem branding and website.”

The new SusChem branding was developed by DogStudio design and web consultancy based in Namur, Belgium in collaboration with the SusChem communications team.

Esther Agyeman-Budu, Cefic communication manager and leader of the SusChem Communications team said: “Our task in developing the new website and branding was to maintain key visual links with our original artwork concept while modernising it and expressing SusChem’s current values and aspirations as a mature, influential, international and inclusive professional organisation.”

For more information, please visit the new SusChem website or contact the SusChem team directly.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

#suschem2017 in Pictures

The 2017 SusChem Stakeholder event #suschem2017 was  a day full of discussion and debate on the impact of SusChem inspired projects and a look forward to the scope and content of the next European Commission framework programme for research and innovation. SusChem stakeholders also got to experience the new SusChem branding and make their FP9 wish. Here are a selection of images from this highly interactive day.















Thanks to everyone who made #suschem2017 such a success!

#suschem2017 - Sustainable chemistry: Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe

Today, 8 June, 2017, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) will be holding its annual Stakeholder event (#suschem2017) in Brussels. The event will bring together global audiences, senior players from the chemical and biotechnology industries, academia, research technology organisations (RTOs) and EU institutions to address common challenges and debate priorities crucial to the sustainability of the European chemical and biotechnology innovation sectors. The theme for #suschem2017 is ‘Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe: Shaping expectations and priorities for the next EU Framework Programme’.

The SusChem Stakeholder event is the platform’s biggest and most influential event and will culminate with a high level debate on how Europe can accelerate innovation and deliver real socio-economic impact through the next European Research Framework Programme (FP9). There will also be updates from SusChem’s network of National Technology Platforms and the launch of new SusChem branding at the event. All participants will get a chance to give input to the proceedings through parallel breakout workshops.
SusChem Chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer said: “Our SusChem 2017 Stakeholder event will provide input on success factors for innovation impact, how to better stimulate SMEs to engage with FP9 and which new instruments might be required in FP9, amongst other topics. This is exactly the role that a European Technology Platform like SusChem should play, continuing our role as thought leaders for sustainable chemistry Research & Innovation in Europe.”
What’s happening?
In the morning, the event will kick off with plenary presentations from Peter Droell, Director at European Commission DG Research and Innovation for Industrial Technologies and Dr. Klaus Sommer, Chairman of the SusChem Board. The SusChem communications team will also present the SusChem rebranding project.

Participants will then split into three parallel breakout workshop sessions. The three breakout session topics are:
  • Defining success factors for EU funded projects to optimise innovation impact and value for Europe. How can we maximise the market uptake and impact of EU funded project results by examining success learnings from projects?
  • SMEs as a driver of the EU innovation ecosystems: How can we stimulate market-creating innovation through SME funding? This breakout session will try to identify the right mechanisms and ways to enhance their engagement in European public funding.  
  • Shaping funding instruments to accelerate innovation and competitiveness in Europe. This breakout session we will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the design and structure of EU innovation funding instruments by sharing experiences with Horizon 2020.
FP9 debate
In the afternoon SusChem stakeholders will receive updates from the SusChem NTP network and feedback from the breakout sessions before a high-level panel discussion will examine how to accelerate innovation and deliver impact in the forthcoming FP9 programme.
“The SusChem platform has made a significant contribution to the formulation, execution, implementation and success of the FP7 and Horizon 2020 European research and innovation programmes. The forthcoming FP9 programme is a great opportunity to ensure that this success continues for the benefit of European industry and society in general. For this it is essential that the outcomes of successful projects are widely implemented to achieve tangible impact.” concludes Sommer.
The panel will be moderated by Cefic Executive Director for Research and Innovation Pierre Barthelemy and features contributions from Prof. Michael Matlosz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the French National Research Agency (ANR), Angels Orduña, the SPIRE PPP Executive Director, Iryna Sukhotska, Head of Public Affairs and R&D Project Management at Biopolis, Ulrich Kuesthardt, SusChem Board Member and CIO at Evonik, Muriel Attané, Secretary General of EARTO and Kurt Vandenberghe, Director for Policy Development and Coordination at DG Research and Innovation.



#suschem2017 takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels, You can access the full programme for the event is available here.

Monday, 29 May 2017

ICIS Innovation Awards 2017

You have just over one month to submit your entry for the ICIS Innovation Awards 2017! The awards were launched in 2004 by European Chemical News and are celebrating their fourteenth anniversary this year. The awards have grown in popularity with each succeeding year and SusChem has been proud to contribute to their judging panels on many occasions. This year SusChem board member Dr Pierre Barthelemy will be part of the judging panel. The awards include categories for company innovations and also recognise high performing individual entries.

Innovation is a key driver for sustainable growth and profitability in the chemical sector. And the ICIS Awards look to recognise and reward the very best in innovation in the chemical industry. Sustainable innovation is at the heart of SusChem’s priorities and the platform is happy to support the awards.

The ICIS Innovation Awards focus on companies and individuals that show high levels of innovation in products and processes, as well as providing benefits to the environment and advancing progress towards sustainability.

The winners will be those companies and individuals that have made significant steps forward in technological and business innovation, with tangible results emerging during 2016 and the early part of this year.

For the second year ICIS is again teaming up with Elsevier’s R&D Solutions as the overall sponsor of the awards and as a partner in the Alpha Innovator of the Year Awards for individual achievement that were launched last year.

Judging panel
The awards are open to any chemical company or collaborative effort between industry and academia anywhere in the World. The judging panel will be looking for innovative projects that solve problems or provide solutions for the company or its customers or that demonstrate an innovative approach to business, the environment and sustainability.

Pierre (pictured left) is executive director for research and innovation at Cefic, representing the priorities of the chemical industry towards the EU institutions for innovation-related aspects. He joined Solvay in 1988 and was seconded to Cefic in 2014. He has a PhD in chemistry from the University of Liège, Belgium

"I am really pleased to be part of this year's ICIS Innovation awards judging panel," said Pierre. "And am looking forward to seeing some truly innovative and sustainable entries."

Pierre’s fellow members of the 2017 judging panel include Christina Valimaki, senior director, chemicals segment marketing, for Elsevier; Mike Lacey, new product identification manager within the New Product Platform group of Exxon Mobil Chemical; Just Jansz, an independent board member and advisor, and founder and MD of business and technology management consultancy Expertise Beyond Borders; Mike McKenna, COO for Maroon Group, a North American specialty chemical and ingredients distributor; Paul Bjacek, principal director and lead for Accenture’s chemicals and natural resources strategic research; and Peter Nieuwenhuizen, global research, development and innovation director, specialty chemicals, at AkzoNobel.

Which award?
Past ICIS awards winners have included the largest multinational and the smallest ‘micro’ SME – but the common denominator for success has always been the quality of the innovation. This year there are four prize categories for company entries to choose from:

  • Best Product Innovation
  • Best Innovation by a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME)
  • Best Business Innovation
  • Innovation with Best Benefit for Environmental and Sustainability

An overall winner will be picked from the winners of the four individual categories.

In addition the Alpha Innovator of the Year Awards recognise individual scientists, engineers and other R&D professionals who are unafraid to tackle roadblocks head on, and who are unrelenting in their pursuit of innovation and optimisation as they strive to push the industry forward – not only as an industry but as a society.

Again this year, two individuals will be recognised as Alpha Innovators of the Year – one for their work in the area of product development and/or process optimisation and the other for innovations that help develop and promote environmental performance and sustainability in the chemical industry.

How to enter?
The ICIS Innovation Awards are open to any chemical company or individual, regardless of where they are based.

Having decided the appropriate category or categories you want to enter in either the ICIS Innovation Awards or Alpha Innovator of the Year Awards you then need to complete the relevant online application form that can be found at www.icis.com/awards, upload any supporting documents and click ‘submit’ – that is it! 

The deadline for receipt of entries is 30 June 2017. A confirmation of receipt of your entry will be sent by email.

Winners of an award will receive a free trial to Reaxys, Elsevier’s R&D Solutions’ web-based tool for retrieval of chemistry information and data from published literature, including journals and patents; enjoy extensive editorial coverage in ICIS Chemical Business and ICIS online; be able to build on further publicity both within their company and externally, related to their success in the competition; be invited to an Awards lunch with the other winners, sponsors and judges later in the year; and receive an active Innovation Awards logo to host on their website, promoting their success in the competition.

The deadline for entries is 30 June 2017. A shortlist of successful entries in each category will be published in ICIS Chemical Business in August. Winners will be notified in September, and the announcement of the winners will be made in ICIS Chemical Business in October. Award presentations will be made in early December at a special lunch in a leading London venue.

For more information about the ICIS Chemical Business Innovation Awards view the launch video below or for specific queries contact John Baker at ICIS.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Are you the Most Innovative European Biotech SME?

SusChem founding partner EuropaBio is inviting small and medium sized biotech companies (SMEs) across Europe to apply for the 8th edition of its Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award: a unique annual initiative recognising biotech innovation and its contribution to society. SMEs interested in entering the competition are invited to apply by 26 June 2017 via the awards dedicated website.

Three categories are available for entry: healthcare, agricultural or industrial biotechnology. Applications must be submitted online at biotechSMEawards.eu by close of business on 26 June and two companies will be shortlisted in each category by a jury of biotech experts.

The winners will be celebrated during a landmark event for SMEs to held in early October. Each winner will also receive a €10 000 prize and two years free membership of EuropaBio.

In order to be considered for the EuropaBio SME awards a company must qualify as an SME under the standard EU SME definition: the company's primary location of operations must be within Europe, it must employ 250 or less staff, and its annual turnover must be €50 million or less.

Why SMEs?
According to the European Commission, “small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe's economy. They represent 90% of all businesses in the EU. In the past five years, they have created around 85% of new jobs and provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU.” 

In other words, SMEs matter and their leaders in innovation should be recognised and rewarded.

Biotech exemplifies the way in which science and scientific breakthroughs can be applied to respond to society’s current challenges. From new therapies that can address unmet medical needs and fight epidemics and rare diseases, to industrial processes that use renewable feedstocks instead of crude oil, to drought-resistant crops that allow farmers around the world to feed more people under unpredictable climatic conditions, biotechnology pays significant economic, social and environmental dividends.

The awards have become one of the main initiatives in the European biotech calendar, with almost 200 SMEs competing over the years. The success stories from previous winners can be read online at biotechSMEawards.eu.

The jury
The expert jury are all involved in biotech and understand the science, the funding realities and the regulatory and political frameworks in which European biotech SMEs operate. They appreciate the potential of innovation and SMEs for Europe’s future, and they will carefully analyse each application to select the nominees. The jury includes:
  • Peter Heinrich, Chairman of German national biotech association BIO Deutschland and Managing Director of Sinfonie Life Science Management GmbH, Planegg.
  • Frank Bulens, member of the Management Committee and Board of Directors of Capricorn Venture Partners. He is active in diagnostics, therapeutics and medical devices as well as digital health-tech for the various Capricorn funds that are investing in these areas.
  • John Brennan, the new Secretary General of EuropaBio, who takes up his post from 19 June 2017, with over 25 years’ experience both on the regulatory and the industrial sides of the healthcare industry.
Further jury members will be announced before the summer.