On Tuesday, the Commission has proposed an encompassing strategy to move towards EU industrial leadership in advanced materials, a key enabling technology highly relevant for the twin green and digital transition. The Communication on Advanced Materials for Industrial Leadership puts forward concrete steps enabling to align research and innovation priorities and investments in the EU, ensuring European leadership in this key technology. This initiative, eagerly anticipated by the Member States and industry, is the first step towards a common European approach for advanced materials, laying the groundwork for further action.

Advanced materials are intentionally designed and engineered materials to display superior performance or special functions, which can be developed with unprecedented speed thanks to today’s scientific understanding and computing power. They are fundamental for example for innovation in energy, electronics, construction and mobility, and therefore crucial for the green and digital transition. The first list of research areas is expected to be expanded overtime in dialogue with the Technology Council to be set-up. The demand for advanced materials is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, for instance for the production of renewable energy, batteries, zero-emission buildings, semiconductors, medicines and medical devices, satellites, space launchers, planes or for other dual-use applications as well as defence equipment.

The strategy aims to enhance the EU’s long-term competitiveness by ensuring the Union remains at the forefront of new material technologies, supporting development, testing and deployment capacities. The actions will also strengthen the EU’s open strategic autonomy and economic security by reducing dependencies on critical materials by replacing them or supporting their recycling and reuse.  The Communication proposes actions along five main pillars to be implemented together with EU Member states, industry players and other key stakeholders:

  • Strengthening the European research & innovation ecosystem on advanced materials.
  • Fast-tracking innovative materials to the market. This includes developing a “materials commons”, a European digital infrastructure for advanced materials research and innovation. It will significantly accelerate the design, development and testing of new advanced materials in a controlled environment, also using AI.
  • Increasing capital investment and access to financing. As part of this package of actions, the EU will set up a new partnership with the industry under Horizon Europe, aiming at €500 million of investments for 2025-2027, with at least €250 million coming from private sources.
  • Fostering the production and use of advanced materials. This includes procurement for innovation, standard setting and the launch of an Advanced Materials Academy with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology to make sure European workforce has the necessary skills.
  • Creating a Technology Council for advanced materials to advise on the steering of this initiative with Member States, countries associated to Horizon Europe and industry.

Source: European Commission

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