European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship and a leader of the Commission's High Level Steering Group on Raw Materials, commented in Rome: "Innovation in raw materials – be it in mining, processing, recycling, or substitution – holds the key to future growth and jobs. We need our young people to take up the challenge help to create a sustainable supply and use of raw materials in the EU".
The European Commission launched in Sapienza University of Rome the first of a series of "Raw Materials University Days", to educate students about the potential for interesting careers in the raw materials sector.
Raw materials are very important for our modern society. Many innovative products that are now part of our daily lives, such as mobile phones, PCs, flat screens, and hybrid/electric cars, cannot be produced without the use of certain raw materials. Such raw materials are not only used to produce our modern consumer products, but they are also becoming increasingly important for emerging technologies and in environmentally-friendly energy applications. At least 30 million jobs in the EU depend upon access to raw materials.
Representatives from all parts of raw materials sector meet students
The event in Sapienza University – held two days after the feast of Saint Barbara, the miners’ patron – includes the launch of a video on raw materials, a high level debate and open discussion, a workshop and exhibition.
The debate includes representatives from:
• Research bodies: Giovanni Lelli, High Commissioner, National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA); Bernardo De Bernardinis, President of the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA); and Luca Demicheli, Secretary General, EuroGeoSurveys
• Academia: Giuseppe Bonifazi, Professor of Raw Materials Engineering at Sapienza University of Rome and the Interuniversity Consortium for GeoResources Engineering (CINIGeo)
• Industry: Marco Sertorio, Chairman of the mining sector of the Italian Petroleum and Mining Industry Association (Assomineraria); Aurelio Regina, Vice-President of Confindustria; and Danilo Bonato, Director General, ReMedia
• National government: Franco Terlizzese, Director General for Mineral and Energetic Resources, Ministry for Economic Development.
To allow participants to meet with companies working in the primary and secondary raw materials sectors a workshop has been held and the companies hosted exhibition stands.
From 2014 until 2020, the Commission will organise a series of Raw Materials University Days four times per year, in different universities across Europe. To date, 16 universities from 12 countries have expressed interest in participating.
The aim of the Raw Materials University Days is to highlight the benefits and attractiveness of work opportunities in the raw materials sectors. The target audience is young people who are about to choose their third level studies, as well as future university graduates who have already specialised in raw materials and other related fields.
Raw Materials Initiative
In 2011 the European Commission adopted a strategy document which sets out targeted measures to secure and improve access to raw materials for the EU. Based on a three-pillar approach, it aims at improving access to raw materials for Europe by:
1. Organising a fair and sustainable supply of raw materials from international markets
2. Fostering sustainable supply within the EU
3. Boosting resource efficiency and promote recycling
European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials
The Raw Materials university days are organised in the framework of the communication strategy of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials, which aims to promote sectorial competitiveness, sustainable growth and employment by drawing attention to the huge potential of European raw materials. Its objective is to bring Europe to the forefront in raw materials sectors while also mitigating the sector's negative environmental and social impacts.