13th ECRN Congress 8-9 October 2015
The 13th Congress of the European Chemical Regions, “Sustainable Chemistry for Life – the role of chemistry in the European bioeconomy” was held in Italy on 8-9 October 2015. Jointly hosted by our Italian members, the first day was organised in Novara and the second day in Milan. This year the event focused on bioeconomy in Europe and particularly the role of chemistry and innovations in the process towards more sustainable future. During the first day, sustainable innovations and technological advancements in the field of biotechnology and bioeconomy were discussed. The afternoon of 8 October was dedicated to networking in the “Market of Ideas” with partners from all over Europe. During the second day, debate outlined strategies for new policies and future perspectives. See more information in the Congress section.
ECRN and ERRMA cooperate on bioeconomy
The European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN) and the European Renewable Resources and Materials Association (ERRMA) are working closely together on Bioeconomy. To mark this collaboration, we present a joint statement on our common interests on sustainability and the future of the European Bioeconomy. Read more here.
Bioeconomy is an important issue for regions and Europe as a whole. Bioeconomy will also be the focus of the upcoming 13th ECRN Congress that will be organised in Italy in October 2015. While bioeconomy and questions related to sustainability are attracting increasing interest at the European level as well as globally, as an interregional network we also wish to underline the important role of the regions and regionally based activities in the process.
ECRN workshop on chemical parks in ACHEMA on 17 June 2015
ECRN partnered together with leading experts in chemical park planning and management for a workshop on chemical parks in ACHEMA on 17 June 2015. Under the theme of “Worldwide best practices in eco-efficient construction and management of chemical parks”, the role of chemical parks as value creation drivers for entire chemical regions was illustrated by numerous examples presented by practitioners from different parts of Europe.
In the discussion on the key success factors of a modern chemical park and the future of parks, it became clear that modern chemical parks are much more than industrial sites. They are platforms and fertile breeding ground for value creation and new innovations. Moreover, chemical parks are very integrated in the communities in which they operate and these links to the society, the universities or other research or education institutions, as well as relations with the public are important parts of park operations. Thus cooperation does not only take place within the parks, but also with partners beyond the physical boundaries of a park (clusters, experts, researchers, inter-institutional collaboration etc.). Exchange of views and broad-based cooperation across organizational as well as sectoral boundaries were seen as keys to future development. See the workshop agenda for more information and see the workshop photos.
New projects and good progress in ECRN Project Council
The third ECRN Project Council meeting was organised in Brussels on 25 February 2015. After its first year of activities, the Project Council has grown into an active platform for interregional collaboration and networking. The third meeting attracted more than 45 participants to share their project ideas and look for partners for new activities.
Previously introduced project proposals are currently in further development and new initiatives were brought to the Council during the meeting. Collaboration and work on these proposals will continue in the coming months. The ECRN Project Council is an open platform and new partners are welcome to join and participate in the activities. See photos from the meeting here and more information about the ECRN Project Council here.
ECRN General Assembly held on 24 February 2015
The ECRN General Assembly was held in Brussels on 24 February 2015. ECRN members spent an engaging day in the Committee of the Regions that hosted the General Assembly, as well as en Executive Board meeting and an ECRN Workshop on SMEs, all of which took place on 24 February. In addition to strategic discussions on future activities and approvals of the ECRN Action Plan and budget framework for 2015, new Executive Board members were elected.
Hartmut Möllring (Saxony-Anhalt) continues as the ECRN President after re-election, Fabrizio Sala (Lombardy) joins the Executive Board as a new member and Vice President, and Twan Beurskens was also re-elected for a new term 2015-2017. They will work together with previously elected board members (2014-2016 term) Karl-Uwe Bütof (NRW, ECRN Vice President), Petr Fiala (Usti, ECRN Treasurer), Daniel Collet (Wallonia), and Piotr Popik (Mazovia).
Workshop on SMEs: Small and Medium-sized Enterprises - The engine of the European industry, 24 February 2015
As a regional network, ECRN is committed to enhancing cooperation and exchange of experiences across regions. In our workshop “SMEs – the engine of the European Industry” (24 February 2015, 14-17), we focused on important role of SMEs not only in the chemical industry but as an integral part of the overall European economic fabric. Hosted by the Committee of the Regions, the workshop session brought together policy makers and practitioners to discuss how local authorities can design more efficient strategies to encourage the development of innovative SMEs. Concrete examples were also provided on how SMEs can be supported at the regional level. See the more information here.
2015 Kicked off with a Permanent Working Group meeting
ECRN activities got off to a good start with a PWG meeting in Düsseldorf on 27-28 January 2015. Several new faces joined the group to discuss plans and priorities for the upcoming year. Lot of interesting activities are coming up within the network and in ECRN member regions during the year, so keep an eye on our website and Twitter account for updates!
The first months of the year are time for intense planning and preparations but by the ECRN General Assembly on 24 February 2015 the main lines of activities shall be developed and we will be ready to dive into action. The dates are already fixed for a workshop on SMEs in the Committee of the Regions on 24 February (13:00-17:00), the next ECRN Project Council meeting on 25 February and a workshop on chemical parks on 17 June during ACHEMA in Frankfurt. We hope to see many of our partners there!
12th ECRN Congress on 22 October 2014
The 12th Congress of the European Chemical Regions was organised in Ústí nad Labem (CZ) on 22 October 2014. Under the heading “The competitiveness of the chemical industry and the factors affecting it - 3E (Energy supply, Education & Skills, Economy & Innovation)”, more than 70 participants gathered to Usti to discuss the competitiveness of the European chemical industry and exchange ideas and experiences on how to support future competitiveness and sustainability of the sector in Europe and in our regions.
A range of representatives from authorities, academia, industry and stakeholders from regional as well as EU-level gave their inputs to the discussion.
See the Congress section here for more information about the event.
ECRN Project Council off to a good start
The ECRN Project Council had its second meeting in Munich on 9 July 2014. Building on to the results of the successful kick-off in April, the ECRN Project Council is now fully up to speed. Around 40 regional representatives and project experts gathered in Munich to introduce new initiatives and present progress made so far. Several new organizations were represented in the group and the Council has now a solid project pool with which to work further.
Based on these first months of activities, an action plan has been set up. Key project initiatives have been identified and are being developed further within the group, while new proposals and ideas are also welcome. The ECRN Project Council activities are open to all interested regional partners - please get in touch with us for more information! You can read more about the ECRN Project Council here.
Sino-European Collaboration in EU-Jiangsu Cluster Forum
ECRN and Chemie-Cluster Bayern organised a cluster forum with regional representatives and chemical stakeholders and decision-makers from Europe and China on 10 June 2014 to exchange experiences and to explore potential areas of collaboration. Over 40 participants gathered together for a day of discussions and debates, which culminated in a signing ceremony for a MoU on the Realisation Phase of the Sino-European Eco-Industry Park in Yancheng and a roundtable discussion on how to involve other chemical clusters, regions and business networks in further Sino-European cooperation. Both the Chinese and the European partners identified numerous opportunities and potential for benefits from mutual learning and future cooperation. You can read more about the event here.
Reinhard Buescher(DG ENTR) outlining
the European Commission’s perspective
Hanny Nover (ECRN) presenting the benefits of
interregional collaboration in Europe and
illustrating the potential and possibilities
for greater exchange in the Sino-European context
Bio Innovation Growth megaCluster BIG-C launched in May 2014
On 19 May 2014, 10 leading public-private organisations in biobased innovation of North Rhein Westphalia (NRW), The Netherlands and Flanders launched BIG-C as the integrating organisation for current and future biobased initiatives. More than 150 industrialists, scientists and politicians from the area attended the launch event. The driving forces of the initiative are CLIB2021 (NRW), BE-Basic (NL) and FISCH (Flanders). NRW and Flanders are both ECRN members and the Netherlands is represented in our network by Limburg. The megaCluster BIG-C is a prime example of interregional collaboration at its best and we hope that BIG-C fulfils its potential in adding value for the whole region and helps in capitalising on the biobased opportunities and sustainable solutions. Read more about the launch event here.
ECRN Permanent Working Group meeting in May 2014
The second Permanent Working Group meeting of 2014 was held on 20-21 May. Representatives from member regions gathered once again to Brussels for two days of intense work to plan and prepare upcoming activities for the latter half of 2014 and beyond. Cooperation and joint activities played a prominent role in the discussions, and several good examples were shared by the members. For instance, Flanders and NRW held a joint economic conference in March and plans have been made to extend the collaboration next spring by organizing an interregional chemical summit and the ECRN General Assembly in NRW next spring.
Preparations were made for the EU-Jiangsu Cluster Forum that takes place in Brussels in June 2014 and plans were outlined also for the 12th ECRN Congress (21-22 October 2014) in Usti, Czech Republic and other events in 2014 and 2015. The outcomes and plans for next steps after the ECRN Project Council launch in April 2014 were also discussed. Overall, we have several interesting events and initiatives lined up for the next months, so stay tuned for new updates!
NANORA is winner of the first German INTERREG B Project Slam
Dr. Walter Deffaa (DG REGIO, right) congratulates
the NANORA Team (photo by Michael Kirsten)
Interreg IVB NWE Project NANORA (the European Nano Regions Alliance) won the first prize at the German INTERREG B Project Slam in Berlin on 6 May 2014. At the Project Slam, NANORA partners from France and Germany illustrated how the project brings together nano-stakeholders from different regions with a quadrilingual drama-dance performance featuring e.g. a giant bumblebee, an investigative biologist and the “endangered species” of nano-researchers. NANORA unites participants from nanotechnology regions from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands to support nanotechnology as a key enabling technology. Many ECRN member regions are involved in NANORA and the project is lead by Hesse, which is also an ECRN member region. Read more about the prize and NANORA project here.
ECRN Project Council kick-off meeting on 7 April 2014
The ECRN Project Council kick-off meeting was held in Brussels on 7 April 2014, hosted by the ECRN member region Bavaria at their EU Representation. As decided in the ECRN General Assembly (26 Feb 2014), Chemie-Cluster Bayern coordinates the activities of the ECRN Project Council for the next two years.
The kick-off meeting was attended by 35 experts from chemical regions across the EU (ECRN and non-ECRN member regions) representing regional agencies, clusters, and research institutes. During the meeting, 10 key projects were presented by the participants. This gave an interesting overview of different approaches and needs in chemical regions and the development of working relations with clusters, business partners, research institutes and other associations. The presented projects serve as a first step for the creation of a joint Action Plan in order to accelerate chemical value creation among the member regions. The first version of the Action Plan, including concrete projects, activities and success indicators, will be finalized in summer 2014.
The launch of the Project Council was seen as a stimulating initiative with active and dynamic discussions. Further information will soon be available and additional interested partners - and new project ideas - are welcome. The next Project Council meeting is foreseen for July 2014 in Munich.
ECRN supports EU measures for a competitive Europe
In the context of the 20-21 March European Council, the European Chemical Regions Network has formulated a set of recommendations on issues that should be emphasized and addressed in the debate on industrial competitiveness. We stress the importance of a coherent, integrated and effective policy framework that takes into account the implications and/or synergies across different policy issues. As a regional network, we also wish to underline the important role of the regions. You can read the full set of recommendations here.
See also the ECRN position paper on industrial policy for a more detailed overview our views.
Cluster Workshop on 27 February 2014
ECRN and the European Commission (DG ENTR) co-organised a workshop on "Cross-sectorial and cross-border cooperation of clusters in support of green chemicals industries" on 27 February 2014.
The workshop showcased good examples of cluster cooperation across sectors to tap potential of green chemicals and bio-based economy. In addition to learning about the lessons from diverse local and regional initiatives and experiences, participants were also introduced to EU measures carried out by different Commission DGs and other bodies to support further activities and collaboration in the field.
You can access the meeting materials here.
ECRN General Assembly 2014 and first steps of the ECRN Project Council
The ECRN General Assembly was held in Brussels on 26 February 2014, hosted by the newest ECRN member region Baden-Württemberg at their EU Representation. The meeting was preceded by an Executive Board meeting and a meeting with representatives from Cefic to exchange views on the competitiveness of the European chemical industry and common interests in terms of industrial policy and collaboration in other policy areas.
The General Assembly approved the ECRN Action Plan for 2014 and re-affirmed the strategic priorities of the network. The General Assembly also decided to launch a new initiative - an ECRN Project Council. The ECRN Project Council will act as a new forum for developing inter-regional project portfolios and help to upgrade and upscale regional initiatives to the EU level. You can read more about the Project Council here.
Groundwork for sparking further inter-regional project collaboration continued right after the General Assembly, when ECRN delegates were joined by representatives from regional clusters and the European Commission for an ECRN Networking Dinner reception on the evening of 26 February.
The official kick-off meeting of the ECRN Project Council will be organised in Brussels on 7 April, and all interested regional actors (from ECRN member regions and beyond) are warmly invited to participate in the kick-off. Please contact the ECRN Secretariat for further information.
2014 General Assembly participants