Public-private partnerships on factories of the future, energy efficient buildings and green cars
A joint statement gives green light to joint calls to be published by July
EC Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik and high level representatives of European industry met on March 30th to discuss priorities for the implementation of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) "Factories of the Future", "Energy-efficient Buildings" and "Green Cars". These PPPs are included in the European Economic Recovery Plan adopted in November 2008.
The Commission foresees to provide a contribution of 50% to the total R&D budget of these partnerships from the budget of the 7th Framework Programme, with matching investment coming from the private sector. The first calls for research projects will be published in July with deadlines at the turn of the year, which could allow the first projects under the PPPs to start in spring of 2010.
Joint call on biorefineries
Shortlisted projects are getting ready for the second stage of the Collaborative Project topic of the call (deadline 5 May) with a budget of EUR 55m
Biorefineries hold potential to supply a wide range of bio-based products and energy in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way as well as to boost the European economy with new competences, jobs and markets. FP7 will invest EUR 57m in the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of value -added products (chemicals, materials, food and feed) and energy (biofuels, power and heat) through a joint call on biorefineries. This is a true cross sectorial approach bringing together competences and resources in the domain of energy, biotechnologies, environment and materials.
The submission deadline for proposals was on December 2nd, 2008. Shortlisted applicants for the first stage of the Collaborative Project topic are preparing detailed proposals for the second stage, which will close on May 5th at 17h00 Brussels local time. Negotiations are expected to start in September. Successful applicants of the Coordination action topic have been invited to negotiations.
This joint call is the result of a significant coordination effort between one Directorate in DG TREN (New and renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency & innovation) and four Directorates within DG Research (Energy; Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food; Environment; and Industrial Technologies). The Commission will report progress to Member States in the meeting of the Specific Configuration of the Programme Committee for 'Cooperation' on April 22nd.
Global standards need to reflect European needs
Interview with Fréderic Barth from Air Liquide
Improving the coordination of European input into international standardisation work is key. In the field of hydrogen and fuel cells, the JTI offers new possibilities to ensure strategic coordination or regulation, codes and standards at European level. Most ETPs will increase market acceptance of their technologies by jointly identifying within ETPs/JTIs priorities for standardisation and for related research.
Bio-economy platforms team up in BECOTEPS project
Nine ETPs active in the Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE) sector are joining forces in this support action funded by FP7. The objective of the project is to improve coordination and collaboration across platforms in the field and to map opportunities for new business concepts. The partners will develop a strategic white paper.
Photonics21 searches partners for internships
In order to contribute to bringing industry and universities closer in their field, the platform Photonics21 offers companies the possibility of communicating their interest in providing internships through their platform website. Once a number of internships has been finalised, the Photonics21 secretariat will organise a workshop with all players (students, representatives of companies and representatives of institutes and universities) in order to collect experiences and establish curricula. The experience and examples of what was missing on the part of each player will serve as an information source.
EIT launches first call for the creation of KICs
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology has launched its first call for proposals to support the creation of knowledge and innovation communities (KICs). KICs are partnerships between universities, research organisations, companies and other innovation stakeholders. They will promote the production, dissemination and exploitation of new knowledge. The call was launched on April 2nd. The deadline for proposal submission is 17.00, 27 August 2009 (Brussels time). Proposal Submission is not possible until May 2009.
Second meeting of SET plan steering group: documents now available
The documents from the second meeting of the steering group of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan have been made public on the Europa site this month. Amongst other issues, the documents report on the development of European Industrial Initiatives and the discussions held with European Technology Platforms. The European Industrial Initiatives (EIIs) aim to strengthen industrial energy research and innovation. They should focus, rationalise and when needed increase the efforts of the industry, the financing sector, the Community and the Member States to collectively achieve the climate and energy goals. Two already running examples are the fusion programme (ITER) and the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative. The SET Plan proposed six initiatives for the most promising technologies in sectors where the barriers, the scale of the investment and risk involved can be better tackled collectively. These are wind, solar, bio-energy, CO2 capture, transport and storage (CCS), electricity grids and nuclear fission.
A Strategy for ICT R&D in Europe: Raising the Game
This new Communication by DG INFSO proposes a set of strategic policy actions that will enable Europe to lead ICT developments and to make better use of ICT innovations. The Communication will help focus the debate with stakeholders in view of defining future actions. The approach proposed in the Communication, adopted on March 13th, cuts across several policy areas.
Pooling efforts to finance European research infrastructures
Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik stressed the importance of combining efforts across Europe to develop costly and complex research infrastructures, particularly in a time of increasing pressure on national budgets. At a conference in Prague on April 25th he defined the role of the Commission as a facilitator, a provider of framework conditions for such collaboration, and as a source of funding: 1,7 billion Euro have been made available in FP7, and the EIB could leverage 1 more billion. In the Convergence regions, the Structural Funds have a potential 10 billion Euros for construction of Research Infrastructures and Centres of Competence. Infectious diseases, carbon dioxide management, natural disasters warning or space observation are among the top priorities areas where 10 new Pan-European Research Infrastructures will be set up, according to a roadmap announced in December. The roadmap includes ambitious projects such as high security labs for research on fatal human pathogens, cutting edge installations to test technologies for carbon dioxide capture and storage, state-of-the-art radars to study the Earth’s atmosphere, infrastructures to better understand the physical processes controlling earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis and new generation telescopes for high-energy gamma-ray astronomy.
Commission opens new lab for testing emissions of trucks and buses
The new installation, "VELA 7" at the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra (Northern Italy), realistically simulates wind drag, tyre/road friction and full drive cycles for real-life articulated lorries of up to 40 tonnes or 12m long buses. It comes at a crucial time since implementation guidelines for new emission standards, notably the Euro VI regarding heavy duty vehicles, must be defined by 1st April 2010.
EIB approves new loans for cleaner cars of EUR 866m
On April 7th the European Investment Bank’s Board of Directors approved loans to European-based car makers worth a total of EUR 866m to help design and build cleaner cars with lower CO2 emissions. The sum adds to the EUR 3.6 bn in loans approved since last December for European car and truck makers. Further loans planned for submission to the Board in May and June would reach an even wider range of beneficiaries. Some 63 percent of the lending approved today for the motor industry will be provided under the EIB’s European Clean Transport Facility (ECTF), which targets significant cuts in vehicles’ CO2 emissions through research, development and innovation, as well as the production of cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars and other transport.
Commission earmarks 15m EUR for sustainable energy investment in cities
The European Commission adopted on March 31st the 2009 Work Programme of the Intelligent Energy-Europe (IEE) Programme aiming at co-financing non-technology projects to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transport. For the first time financial support will be provided for technical assistance helping cities to develop bankable projects or investment programmes in the field of urban sustainable energy.
Nearly 1 billion for trans-European transport network funding
The European Commission launched on March 31st the 2009 TEN-T Calls for Proposals, making nearly EUR 1b of financing available for European transport infrastructure projects. This year's Calls include a EUR 500 million call in the framework of the Commission's European Economic Recovery Plan, aimed at giving an immediate boost to the European economy by accelerating investments in infrastructure. In addition, there will be funding opportunities under the TEN-T Annual Programme and Multi-Annual Programme, whose priorities in this Call include Motorways of the Sea, Intelligent Transport Systems for Road, and the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). The Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA), which manages the technical and financial implementation of the TEN-T programme, is responsible for the management of the calls for proposals and the evaluation of project proposals submitted on behalf of its "parent", DG Energy and Transport.
Nominees for the Inventor of the Year 2009 award
Breakthrough inventions such as the commercial use of solar energy, powerful long-life batteries for hybrid cars, a successful malaria drug, and the "fastskin" swimsuit inspired by shark skin are among the nominations for the Inventor of the Year 2009 award. The European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Commission announced on March 18th the twelve nominees for this year's edition of the awards. The winners will be announced in Prague on April 28th.
EU funds for Research: Lost in translation? New guide to help better use of European research, innovation and cohesion funding
The Commission launched the 'Practical Guide to EU funding opportunities for Research and Innovation' to help all stakeholders to find their way into the different existing EU funding. Central to the realisation of the goals of the Lisbon Agenda is the need to promote the knowledge economy, in particular through research, technological development and innovation (RTDI). EU support for RTDI is provided mainly through the 7th Research Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the Structural & Cohesion Funds. If their impact is to be maximised, it is essential that these sources of funding are used in a coherent way.
1 July 2009 in Brussels, Belgium, 19th Advisory Council meeting