Towards a System Approach for Materials Research, Development and Innovation for Europe

Towards a System Approach for Materials Research, Development and Innovation for Europe

Margarethe Hofmann-Amtenbrink*, Heinrich Hofmann, Rudy Koopmans, Erik Schuring, Jan Meneve, Roland Gauss, Amaya Igartua, Paloma Fernández

Keywords:Materials research, development and innovation, systems approach, research policy, mission approach, Horizon Europe

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2019-Towards a System Approach for Materials Research, Development and Innovation for Europe


The present model of a stand-alone materials research, development and innovation (R&D&I) is based on the 20thCentury linear production-consumption concept. It does not align to effectively address complex 21stCentury societal challenges. In HORIZON EUROPE, the ninth European Framework Programme, materials R&D&I becomes part of  Mission Oriented Research and Innovation. The ambition of Missions is paradigmatically shifting science and technology development that impact the fabric of society. Advanced materials science and technology are key enablers to successfully conclude those Missions. However, the structuring a large-scale programme typicallyfragments the Materials R&D&Iefforts. The engagement ofmultiple industrial sectors operating at different technology readiness levels and each with distinctive commercial ambitions and interests leads to loss of oversight and missing out on potential synergies to effectively advance future materials research. Thus, a European Materials Innovation Strategy is needed that monitors and coordinates the EU’s investments into materials R&D&I. Alliance for Materials (A4M) was launched in December 2010, thanks to the collaboration of several European Technology Platforms (ETP’s)  and materials societies like the Federation of European Materials Societies (FEMS) and the European Materials Research Society (EMRS), sharing a strong Materials agenda. The main driving force was “to ensure a Value Chain coverage to improve the speed of implementation of innovations in Europe that address the Grand Societal challenges[1]”. Atthis point, an update of A4M is required to ensure a strategy of oversight and enables information flow and knowledge transfer across fields of technology fields and industrial sectors. This update concerns the implementation of a functional European Materials & Engineering Advisory Group, EMEAG, in a reinforced A4M. Such an Advisory Group in the reinforced Alliance for Materials (A4M) can boost business creation, identify specific materials demands across technology fields, provide cross-fertilisation along the Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs), identify cases for industrial symbioses, remanufacturing, reuse and design for recycling. In brief, a reinforced A4M having a functional European Materials & Engineering Advisory Group can create solid knowledge base to ensure the implementation of true circular economy business models.