SusChem brings together a wide spectrum of organizations and individuals looking to boost sustainable chemistry, industrial biotechnology and chemical engineering research, development and innovation in Europe. The technologies and activities covered by SusChem will be at the heart of future sustainable development initiatives and are critical to continuing and increasing competitiveness of European enterprises across all sectors. The research topics brought forward by SusChem address the great challenges and needs faced by our society today including energy use, transport, health, and communication technology. Our fundamental goal is to contribute to a sustainable quality of life for all Europe’s citizens.
What is SusChem?
Creating solutions together
European Technology Platforms (ETPs) are industry-led stakeholder organizations, supported by both private and public funding, that develop long-term research and innovation agendas for action at European and national level.
ETPs were established in 2003 but their specific role in the frame of Horizon 2020 has been recently redefined.
Building on the strategies for Europe2020 and for an Innovation Union, the European Commission's proposal for an integrated research and innovation framework programme, Horizon2020, recognises the role of European Technology Platforms (ETPs) as part of the external advice and societal engagement needed to achieve the new programme’s objectives.
SusChem addresses challenges that are specific to Research and Innovation in the European chemical industry and in the industrial biotechnology industries. It favours a value-chain vision, in full coordination with other industries and ETPs and in connection to the societal challenges expressed in the Innovation Union and in Horizon2020.
SusChem is an open organization with regular yearly stakeholders’ meetings and brokerage events to boost collaboration between all the interested parties in the value-chain. The activity of the European organization is leveraged through the SusChem National Technology Platforms
- SusChem is the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry. It is a forum that brings together industry, academia, governmental policy groups and the wider society.
- SusChem’s mission is to initiate and inspire European chemical and biochemical innovation to respond effectively to society’s challenges by providing sustainable solutions.
- SusChem’s vision is for a competitive and innovative Europe where sustainable chemistry and biotechnology together provide solutions for future generations.
- SusChem’s priority areas, led by industries, include Resource and Energy Efficiency, Water, Raw Materials, Smart Cities, Enabling Technologies and Education.
What is Sustainable Chemistry?
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defines sustainable chemistry as:
- 'Sustainable chemistry … seeks to improve the efficiency with which natural resources are used to meet human needs for chemical products and services. Sustainable chemistry encompasses the design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes.
- Sustainable chemistry … stimulates innovation across all sectors to design and discover new chemicals, production processes, and product stewardship practices that will provide increased performance and increased value while meeting the goals of protecting and enhancing human health and the environment.”
- Essentially sustainable chemistry is about doing more with less: reducing the environmental impact of processes and products, optimizing the use of finite resources and minimizing waste.
- Sustainable chemistry can ensure eco-efficiency in everything we do, both individually and as a society. Sustainable chemistry also means protecting and extending employment, expertise and quality of life. It provides a sustainable basis for the innovation needed to stimulate a competitive, knowledge-based, enterprise-led economy across Europe.
- But solutions provided by sustainable chemistry must also be acceptable to society: they must be trusted and designed according to what society wants and needs and they must be economically sound.
- In practice, it means that SusChem projects and programmes should address clear societal needs, be environmentally sound and economically viable.
- Sustainability and competitiveness are strategic priorities for SusChem. Progress on sustainability, competitiveness and environment protection are intimately linked; chemical products and chemistry-driven technological advances provide critical answers and ensure the sustainable development of modern societies.
- The chemical industry, being a critical element of most value chains and supplying its products to all sectors of the economy, is at the forefront of the transition to a more sustainable development; the move towards increased sustainability requires developments that entail the knowledge and competences present in the European chemical sector and within its networks.
Chemistry for a sustainable future
- Sustainable chemistry has a huge part to play in solving society’s current and future challenges. These challenges include meeting future energy needs, reducing our energy and water consumption and emissions, favoring a circular economy (recycling, waste management, making best use of essential raw materials or finding substitutes, helping our urban areas to be better places to live.
- These efforts are supported by enabling technologies, falling in three main categories in the Chemical Industry: Industrial Biotechnologies, Reaction and Process Design and Materials Technologies.
- SusChem believes that sustainable chemistry can help inspire the change of pace and mindset that is needed to make the vision of a sustainable, smart and inclusive society a reality.
SusChem and the European Research & Innovation Agenda
Since its launch in 2004 SusChem has established the chemical sciences and sustainability as central components of the European Union’s essential knowledge base to make Europe more successful and improve its citizens’ quality of life.
Through highlighting the critical role of sustainable chemistry in addressing society’s challenges SusChem has made a strong impact on the European Commission’s Research Framework Programmes FP6 and FP7.
Analysis of SusChem’s direct input to the European research agenda shows that between 2007 and 2009 FP7 research projects funded to the tune of over € 900 million were inspired by it. In the calls of FP7 projects, we estimate that 30% of the calls are connected to SusChem’s proposals.
Horizon 2020, the new European framework for Research, Development and Innovation that starts in 2014, has an enhanced focus on innovation to ensure that more of Europe’s excellent research ideas are swiftly transferred into successful products and services in the global market. This offers a huge opportunity to boost jobs and growth and increase the competitiveness of the European Union.
SusChem sees Horizon H2020 as a key turning point for research and innovation in Europe and as a major opportunity for sustainable chemistry. The funding available for all aspects of chemistry research and innovation activities in Horizon 2020 will be greater than for its predecessor programme FP7, which in turn was greater than its predecessor FP6.
As an active and acknowledged partner, SusChem has made a significant contribution to policy development in the European Institutions, including but not limited to: the Key Enabling Technologies initiative and important European Innovation Partnerships: Raw Materials, Water, Smart-Cities and Communities.
SusChem is actively engaged in supporting EU-financed projects in research and innovation (Coordination Support Actions): BIO-TIC, R4R, E4Water,CRM_InnoNet to name a few which aim at recommending policies to support innovation and meet societal challenges identified in Horizon2020.
The chemical and process industries hold key positions within critical value chains across Europe. Their active contributions are essential to achieve the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth that Europe desires.
As well as inspiring new research and innovation projects SusChem has provided a framework to bring academia and industry together. SusChem has enabled an improved industry involvement in European research projects and increased enthusiasm for European collaboration with national governments.
SusChem makes valuable contributions in all aspects of European collaborative activities:
- SusChem helps formulate the research & innovation agenda by presenting the real needs of industry and understanding what benefits new breakthroughs can deliver
- Through its Brokerage Database and Brokerage events, SusChem presents calls and helps bring partners together
- With its tools, such as the Cefic Grant-it initiative, SusChem can evaluate projects, help to develop proposals and suggest the most appropriate funding opportunities.
SusChem will contribute to catalyse proposals for sustainable solutions to society’s major challenges in partnership with the European and national public authorities. It will do so by developing and leading large-scale, integrated research and innovation programmes where chemistry plays a significant role. These initiatives will link research and partners along the value chain to real world markets through accelerated innovations, with a public private incentive.