The project managed to reinforce the research community's pivotal role in the SET Plan, bolster the urgently needed collaboration with EU13 countries and strengthen the R&I sector cooperation with industry.
Brussels, June 26, 2023 - The SUPEERA project (Support to the coordination of national research and innovation programmes in areas of activity of the European Energy Research Alliance) reached its end with an anticipated final event.
Over the course of three years, the SUPEERA project has achieved remarkable progress in strengthening EERA's position within the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan—a key European initiative aimed at establishing a climate-neutral energy system through the advancement of low-carbon technologies. Moreover, the project has successfully attained the following milestones:
About the SUPEERA final event
Organised by the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA), the event was held on June 14, 2023, at the University Carlos III of Madrid (Madrid, Spain) and brought together representatives from the European Commission, the Spanish government, and the EERA community. With over 100 participants in attendance, the conference served as a platform for fruitful discussions and collaborations on key strategic topics.
Adel El Gammal, EERA's Secretary General, welcomed the distinguished participants and underscored the significance of the project's outcomes. To follow, Hélène Chraye, Head of Unit, Clean Planet, DG RTD, European Commission, praised EERA for its pivotal role in coordinating clean energy research efforts across the European Union. She acknowledged the organisation's unwavering support in advancing the initiatives of the SET Plan and fostering collaborative research. Chraye also underlined the central part that EERA could play in the future structure of the SET Plan by coordinating key stakeholders in cross-cutting topics.
For its part, representatives from the Spanish government, next in line to assume the presidency of the Council of the EU, intervened. Teresa Riesgo, Secretary General of Innovation at the Ministry of Science and Innovation, recognised the SET Plan as a roadmap for the future of research centres, technology, and companies. At the same time, Gonzalo Arevalo, Director General of Research Planning at the Secretary General for Research, Ministry of Science and Innovation, outlined the Spanish presidency's programme, highlighting their objective of advancing the integration of "science for policies". Arevalo emphasised the importance of leveraging the best available scientific evidence-based knowledge across multiple disciplines.
The panel discussions held during the event focused on three key themes, including "Bringing R&I and industry together for innovation uptake", "Engaging EU13 Countries in the execution of the SET Plan", and "R&I and policymaking: aligning priorities".
The first panel discussion emphasised the significance of enhancing collaboration between the EERA community and the industry. Panellists discussed the available European Innovation Council (EIC) funding schemes for innovative ideas and shared successful collaboration examples from both Europe and the United States. They also deliberated on the primary barriers to collaboration between research and industry while exploring the divergent "investing mentality" in clean technology innovations between Europe and the United States.
During the second panel discussion on "Engaging EU13 Countries in the execution of the SET Plan", experts highlighted the reasons behind the low participation of EU13 countries in the SET Plan and Horizon Europe projects. Success stories from front-runner countries were also shared. The discussion emphasised that increased engagement of EU13 countries in the SET Plan would align their national research and innovation objectives with EU policies, shaping the future of energy research, innovation, and deployment. The role of National Contact Points was underscored as crucial in empowering Horizon Europe participants, providing essential information and resources, and facilitating effective networking to enhance transparency and accessibility.
In the third and final session, experts delved into the proposed Net Zero Industry Act, focusing on strengthening Europe's net-zero technology product manufacturing ecosystem. The discussion emphasised the need for Europe to develop its own manufacturing capacities rather than creating additional dependencies. It was underlined that evaluating the feasibility of the plan's ambitions in terms of manufacturing capacity and securing dedicated funds is crucial. The expertise of individuals, coupled with research and innovation, plays a vital role in supporting policymakers in making informed decisions for a sustainable future.
The SUPEERA project has served as a catalyst for progress, strengthening partnerships among stakeholders committed to boosting clean energy research and innovation. By fostering collaboration between research, industry, and policymakers, the project laid solid groundwork for enhanced cooperation to advance Europe's clean energy landscape.
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Maria Luisa Fernandez Vanoni