Wed, 07 July, 2021
Over 70 attendees, from companies including Baker Hughes, Molecular Plasma Group, Hilti Corporation, Uniper, Westinghouse Electric, Spirit AeroSystems and Nquiring Minds Ltd., gathered together recently for the first TWI Innovation and Research: Project Pitching, Partner Matching and Brokerage event on 30 June 2021. This online workshop – focused on green transition and net-zero including green and clean manufacturing, renewable energy, and hydrogen and carbon capture – was the first in a new series of events on the EU’s €95.5 billion Horizon Europe funding programme for novel technology projects.
During a full morning of information and insights, delegates were able to learn about: different aspects of Horizon Europe, including the types of new technologies the programme is seeking to fund; what it takes for a company or organisation to get involved in developing a project with the potential to attract public funding; and how TWI, its Innovation Centres and TWI Innovation Network partners can help UK and European SMEs, larger companies and RTOs, including TWI Industrial Members, realise their technology ambitions and join project consortiums for collaborative innovation.
The event was opened by Laurence Robinson, TWI’s Technology Innovation Management (TIM) Team Manager, who set the scene and gave an overview of the public funding and collaborative project process. The first keynote speaker Gal Weiss, EU Programs and Partnerships Manager, IBM Research Europe – Ireland, took to the floor next to talk about how IBM gets involved in, and benefits from, public funding, and shine a light on some of the successful collaborate projects IBM has worked on such as dRedBox, TOPAs, ENABLE S3 and AI Application.
Next up was Victoria Adesanya, Senior Innovation Project Leader, TIM who explained the detail of Horizon Europe, including a drill-down into its three key pillars of Excellent Science, Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, and Innovation Europe. Keynote speaker Jens Gengenbach, Head of R&D Program at Ørsted, followed, who gave a presentation on renewable energy drivers for R&D, with his wide-ranging talk taking in offshore wind and floating offshore wind, integrated energy solutions such as energy storage and digitalisation of energy systems, sustainability and life-cycle impacts, how Ørsted approaches innovation and more.
TWI’s Innovation Centres, and TWI’s Asset Integrity Management team, then gave a series of pitches on some of the new technology ideas they are currently working on and actively seeking like-minded partners for. The Innovation Centres taking part were: Circular Economy and Recycling ~ Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen ~ Artificial Intelligence ~ Brunel Innovation Centre ~ Brunel Composites Centre ~ Industrial Net Zero ~ Joining 4.0 ~ Materials ~ and Anglia Ruskin (social science). New concepts shared included carbon dioxide capture from industrial gases, tandem perovskite-based photovoltaic systems, and construction waste recovery technologies for circular construction.
The online event concluded with a 30-minute virtual networking session, at which delegates could start 1-2-1 or group conversations with each other, the speakers, Innovation Centre and TWI representatives, and TWI Industrial Members, enabling them to expand on the morning’s learnings as well as forge new mutually beneficial relationships.
Tat-Hean Gan, TWI’s Director of Innovation and Skills said “This workshop was designed to bring together UK and European SMEs, larger companies and RTOs, and TWI Industrial Members who feel their business could benefit in some way from being involved in publicly funded, collaborative R&D projects, whether that’s finding a suitable partner to work with who is looking at a similar technology area, sourcing funding for new product development or meeting new contacts that could help innovate supply chain processes.” Adding “With the first deadlines for submitting projects seeking Horizon Europe funding coming up in September this year, now is the optimum time for interested parties to get involved.”
Roger Brandwood, Technical Lead – Low Emission Plant at Uniper who attended the workshop said “‘The event was well organised and well attended, with people from across the R&D community. It provided a great opportunity to hear what is happening and to learn more about the opportunities for collaboration.”