Newsletter: January 2021

A message from Bernd Schäfer
CEO, Managing Director

Dear members and friends of the EIT RawMaterials Innovation Community,

I look forward to the new year 2021, which will bring lots of opportunities for our community. It will be the first year under our revised Strategic Agenda 2021-2027, and a year of transition to the next framework programme, Horizon Europe. We will also continue our work with the newly founded European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) and the EIT’s new Capacity Building Initiative for Higher Education Institutions (HEI), which EIT RawMaterials will be leading, for the benefit of our partners.

EIT RawMaterials has started 2021 with new partners joining our community. I would like to give a warm welcome to Orion Engineered Carbons, Sandvik SRP, Swatch Group Research and Development, MEAB Chemie Technik, Occami, and Terranigma. Moreover, our collaboration with start-ups FLAXRES and ROSI has transformed into long-term partnerships with both having joined our consortium as associate partners. I am happy to see more companies sharing our vision to turn raw materials into a major strength for Europe.

The new year also brings transformation in our annual Call for Projects. Between 2021 and 2022, we will be transitioning from a single yearly call to multiple calls per year. In 2021, the new calls will open in March and November. The Call for Projects 2022 (KAVA 8) will seek upscaling, education and Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) projects that support the impact and EIT core KPI targets as outlined in the revised Strategic Agenda. We will actively promote the creation of new EIT-labelled programmes that attract many more students to participate in our courses, as well as business-driven Lifelong Learning activities. At least 10% of the overall yearly budget will be used to support RIS activities.

EIT RawMaterials’ regional expansion strategy will be supported by extending to the south of Spain, which is an important mining and processing area. This year, the EIT RawMaterials Hub – Regional Center Southern Spain will open in Seville. The new hub will be led by CSIC (Spanish National Research Council), focusing on primary raw materials exploration, extraction and processing.

Our commitment to the circular economy remains one of our key priorities. This month, EIT RawMaterials joined a new secretariat to support the EU Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) initiative and to expand its activities in mobilising the industry for a clean and circular economy. Moreover, EIT RawMaterials is investing in people to drive the green and circular transition. A great example is “GirlsGoCircular”, our education project that empowers future young women innovators to use digital tools for the development of circular solutions in our sector.

The European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) has kicked off the year with expert meetings in the Rare Earth Magnets and Motors Cluster, working on challenges and regulatory bottlenecks along the value chain. The results of the Cluster’s work will provide recommendations and actions to strengthen the domestic supply chain of rare earths for magnets and motors, including a set of investment opportunities that will have to be realised with the support of the European Commission. As such, ERMA also serves as an interesting opportunity for EIT RawMaterials partners to submit their investment proposals on the ERMA website.

On this note, I would like to wish you a great start of the year, hoping that you and your families are in good health! I am looking forward to exploring more collaboration and partnership opportunities with our community, to foster Europe’s green and circular transition.

Best regards,
Bernd Schäfer
CEO, Managing Director

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