Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of raw materials?
Metals and minerals are everywhere around us and play a major role in all our lives. Without them our smart phones and tablets would still be science fiction. If we want Europe to be leading in the digital revolution of this century and to keep being the greenest industry on Earth, we need targeted innovation, resource efficiency and recycling, and sustainable supply of raw materials to the European economy. Moreover, key economic sectors in Europe - such as automotive, aerospace and renewable energy - are highly dependent on raw materials. These raw materials represent the life-blood of today's industry and are fundamental for the development of "green technologies" and the digital agenda. To face these key challenges, and to secure the supply of natural resources to European industry, the EU institutions and Member States have already made significant efforts and brought forward numerous initiatives. ''Raw Materials University Day'' is a communication campaign launched by the European Commission in the framework of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials. Despite the fact that Europe has many universities with a long tradition and excellent programmes in the raw materials sector, the need for knowledgeable and skilled professionals is still highly in demand. Therefore, the European Commission would like to promote skills and employment on raw materials to boost sectorial competitiveness and sustainable growth while showing the huge potential of European raw materials. The aim of the initiative is to attract young people that are choosing their studies or future graduates, who we would like to inform about the study and career opportunities in the raw materials sector. We plan a series of events in various Member States, which will take place four times per year between 2014 and 2020. To date 21 universities expressed their wish to take part. The multiple events should show practical examples of career opportunities in raw materials exploration, extraction, processing but also recycling and substitution, covering a number of industrial sectors, including downstream sectors working on eco-design and substitution (e.g. car, chemical, aeronautic industries). Cooperation with industry associations and existing networks of universities specialised in relevant fields would bring an added value to the initiative. The launching event in Rome took place in December 2013 with the presence of the VP Tajani and was a great success followed by national and international media.