22 Nov 2022 EU NEWS

European Commission’s Strategic Research and Innovation Plan

The European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, published an essential report under the Strategic research and innovation plan for safe and sustainable chemicals and materials.

With the European Green Deal, the European Commission has given Europe the tools it needs to become the first continent to be climate neutral by 2050.

Climate neutrality, biodiversity protection, a circular economy, and an ambition for zero pollution for a toxic-free environment are the four interconnected policy goals in the Green Deal that will propel the transition to a sustainable economy and society. The Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) is one of several strategies and action plans adopted to accomplish these goals.

To meet societal needs while maintaining planetary boundaries and preventing harm to people and the environment, the CSS seeks to address the issue of producing and using chemicals. The need for the EU to secure access to those essential substances for our life and health and for achieving a climate-neutral and circular economy makes addressing this challenge even more urgent. This complexity is reflected in the manufacturing and supply chains for some chemicals and materials, which are becoming increasingly complex. Consequently, creating a strategic approach to research and innovation (R&I) for safe and sustainable chemicals and materials is not only a societal and environmental urgency, but it is also a business opportunity for the EU's chemical industry to gain a competitive advantage and win consumers' trust by investing in more sustainable solutions.

In 2022 the CSS announces a Strategic Research and Innovation Plan for Safe and Sustainable Chemicals and materials. The current Strategic Research and Innovation Plan (SRIP) delivers on this announcement and highlights recent research and innovation (R&I) areas crucial for accelerating the transition to chemicals and materials that are safe and sustainable.

This Strategic Research and Innovation Plan (SRIP) intends to support the development of safe and sustainable chemicals and materials by proposing a holistic overview of R&I needs to be collected through consultations with stakeholders across the life cycles of chemicals and materials. By highlighting the critical R&I needs for chemicals and materials across their lifecycle, this SRIP represents a necessary step towards better addressing the interdependencies between safety, circularity, and the overarching sustainability goals.

It is also a chance to encourage open dialogue about shared future R&I priorities by the larger community, including regulators, policymakers, large-scale industries, SMEs, and academic institutions. The objective is to direct research and innovation funders in making investment decisions across EU, national, and private funding programs in conjunction with the future monitoring system.

The objective of the SRIP is to stimulate and guide R&I funders at the EU, national and private levels, as well as R&I performers, to take a joint and coordinated approach to address the outstanding challenges to make chemicals and materials Green Deal compliant. The Commission will refer to this SRIP as an overall strategy to which Horizon Europe contributes to addressing the identified challenges in the Horizon Europe work program.

The Commission invites research and innovation funders across the EU, national and private funding programs, and researchers and innovators to support this strategy and contribute to its implementation.

Click here to access the report.

European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Strategic research and innovation plan for safe and sustainable chemicals and materials, Publications Office of the European Union, 2022, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/876851