An innovative, sustainable Europe depends on the development and growth of key enabling technologies (KETs):
- micro- and nanoelectronics,
- advanced materials,
- industrial biotechnology,
- advanced manufacturing systems.
Deploying these technologies can help Europe maintain or gain a competitive edge in the future – and four of them rely heavily on chemistry. The role of sustainable chemistry is vital in furthering competitiveness and addressing the grand challenges faced by Europe.
A single and comprehensive approach to key enabling technologies
Cefic was an active member the High Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies set up by the EU Commission. This expert group published a report in June 2011 that gives a solid blueprint on how the entire value chain can be activated simultaneously, which includes not only end-user industries like cars and computer chip producers, but also considers value chain process and materials industries such as chemicals. The report was also an important step towards EU 2020 policy goals for sustainable growth, including efficient use of water, energy storage, resource efficiency and health.
Europe needs radical policy objectives to retain critical capability and capacity in Europe through a single and comprehensive approach to KETs. The vital importance of KETs should also be reflected in the structure and funding balance in the upcoming Horizon 2020 framework for research and innovation and in the priorities of the EU's future regional policy.
Sustainable chemistry is at the root of the future manufacturing value chain and on the front foot to exploit KETs quickly. The end game is a strengthened EU manufacturing base, including chemicals, that will produce lighter cars with longer lasting batteries, better medical products, and smarter ways to achieve the EU’s ambitious goals for more energy efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.