European challenges in the sector of raw materials


European-commission-raw-materialsThe pan-European consortium RawMatTERS won the 2014 Call for Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC) in the area of Raw Materials. RawMatTERS plans to address serious raw materials supply challenges that the EU is facing. The KIC covers the whole value chain including sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution, and brings together more than 100 partners from 20 EU Member States.

The launch of the KIC RawMatTERS is a milestone in achieving the objectives of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials. One of the key targets of the EIP is indeed to set up a Network of Research, Education and Training Centres on sustainable raw materials management organised as a Knowledge and Innovation Community.

Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director said that the outstanding factor behind the decision was the potential of the winners to create innovations needed to address critical challenges for today’s societies. He also believes that EIT Raw Materials is an excellent partnership that will generate impact, in terms of growth and job creation, which is at the heart of the Europe 2020 Strategy and President Juncker’s Commission top priorities.

Prof. Jens Gutzmer from Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, the key coordinating partner of RawMatTERS said that the EIT will enable the partnership to make a real societal change and to turn the challenge of raw materials dependence into a strategic strength for Europe. The goal is to boost the competitiveness, growth and attractiveness of the European raw materials sector via radical innovation and entrepreneurship. According to him, the strongest consortium ever created in the raw materials field will focus on sustainable growth and job creation by boosting start-ups, SMEs and education. By 2022, the KIC is aiming to create, among others, 64 start-ups and 5 new primary/secondary sources of critical raw materials (CRM).

The EIT would like to rapidly launch EIT Raw Materials so that it can deliver innovation and growth. In order to facilitate a rapid and smooth start during its first year, the winner will receive a start-up grant of up to 4 million EUR. The KIC is expected to become fully operational shortly after having signed a seven-year Framework Partnership Agreement with the EIT in 2015.