Dear Colleagues and friends,
As we are entering a phase that we aspire to acknowledge as post COVID19 period, the aftermath of the pandemic seems to beset Europe and the rest of the world. Unthoughtfully the intense health crisis has destabilized markets and governments with the latter, seeking to outline a viable strategy that will bring different sectors of the economy out of this bottleneck
In these challenging times, the Greek extractive industry has shown resilience, as stated by Mr A. Kefalas President of Greek Mining Enterprises Association, the newest member of the Greek EIT RawMaterials Community. Although this, indeed, is a hopeful sign, the supply chain connecting the Greek sector to the European market has been disrupted and, thus the need for mitigating the effects of the coronavirus towards a rapid recovery, is top priority.
Addressing this need in a pan European level the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) released additional funding opportunities for new projects and start-ups/SMEs addressing the COVID-19 crisis during June 2020 and, is evaluating joint call options with other EIT KICs (Knowledge and Innovation Communities) to ensure coverage of all societal challenges.
The prospect of returning to normality seems unclarified; yet, can everything continue to function in the same mode as ante COVID? Or is it braver to draw new “normality” lines that will assist us to restart in a more innovative way?
RCGREECE is determined to follow this path and overcome the barriers in communication with the Greek and Cypriot Community that COVID created. In this respect, our effort has been redirected towards the implementation of 2020’s work plan in digital form. Consequently, we would like to announce the 5th Edition of the Greek Raw Materials Community Dialogue which will take place as a 2day web-forum, in December 2020 (Week 50). This year’s event aims to outline the current and future integration of circular economy in the Greek Raw Materials ecosystem while the technical e-workshop on Waste Management and Characterization as a back-to-back event will assess this important challenge in a problem solving orientation. Earlier this fall, in mid October, the 2nd edition of Young Raw Materials Professionals Workshop will take place, addressed to pre- and post-graduate students from the region with the aim to connect them to the EIT RawMaterials Alumni and inflate the mindset of Business creation. Further information regarding the Community Dialogue and the other upcoming events will follow in due course.
The RCGREECE Community seems to be determined, as well, to overcome the abrupt halt that coronavirus imposed, investing in research, innovation and professional evolvement.
RCGREECE is following the activities of the EIT RawMaterials Project CEBRA – Integrated Circular Economy Business model for decoupling Europe from Platinum Group Metal (PGM) supply that focuses on the dual objective to manufacture ACC, integrating 100% recycled PGM, while simultaneously decreasing the PGM quantity via partial substitution by a low-cost and politically less sensitive transition metal such as copper. Launched in January 2020, the project is coordinated by MONOLITHOS Catalysts & Recycling Ltd and, as a result, aspires to create immediate value for the consortium and also for Europe, by providing a breakthrough valorization technology of end-of-life products (spent autocatalysts), improving the PGM supply chain, reducing EU’s dependence on external supply and commercializing an eco-conscious, cost effective product line of ACC. The CEBRA consortium is completed by the participation of four other European organizations: Centro Ricerche Fiat S.C.p.A. (CRF) (Italy) – Industry, Comet Traitements SA (Belgium) – Industry, Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation (Spain) – Research and Technology Provider and Université de Liège (Belgium) – Academia
Furthermore, the EIT RawMaterials Project ENACT-SDGS –Enhancing the skills of ESEE RM students towards the achievement of SDGs focusing on its mission to modernize education, increasing the skills of ESEE University graduates and Raw Materials (RM) professionals and coordinated by NTUA is conducting a survey to identify educational needs for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Raw Material (RM) sector.
Last but not least, another important and targeted effort to reinforce the potential of RIS countries’ RM Sector is EIT RawMaterials TrainESEE v.2, a capacity building project targeted at six universities of the East and South Eastern Europe, with a focus on improving specific generic skills, in line with the curricula insufficiencies identified through the implementation of the EE S – Train ESEE pilot (2017-2018). During the 2 years of the project four training modules will be developed, implemented and prepared as acceleration programmes: Teaching methodology; Project preparation and management; Innovation and entrepreneurial module and Science to Business module.
One can say that the pandemic has left, not only turmoil but important lessons to learn. EIT RawMaterials Community has identified, perhaps, the most important: we can be stronger if we are together. Stay safe!
On behalf of the EIT RawMaterials HUB Regional Center Greece,
Professor Ioannis Paspaliaris
Director of EIT RawMaterials HUB Regional Center Greece
Director of the Laboratory of Metallurgy, SMME, NTUA