INDustrial TECHnologies 2018: Key technologies are central to Europe’s competitiveness
Opening of “Innovative Industries for Smart Growth” conference – more than 1 300 experts in Vienna
Vienna is a hotspot for future key technologies these days: INDTECH2018 opened on the morning of 30 October 2018 at Messe Wien. The conference “INDustrial TECHnologies 2018 – Innovative Industries for Smart Growth” ran until 31 October 2018 and was attended by more than 1 300 research and industry experts to exchange views on current research trends in production, materials, nanotechnology and biotechnology. The conference was held for the first time in Vienna during the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU. It was jointly organised by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the European Commission.
INDTECH2018 was opened on 30 October by Director General Jean‑Eric Paquet (European Commission), Secretary General Andreas Reichhardt (BMVIT) and Managing Director Klaus Pseiner (FFG). In his speech, Jean‑Eric Paquet referred to the major role of Horizon 2020 in supporting industrial research: “Nanotechnology, materials, production and biotechnology are key technologies for Europe and its citizens.” The objective, he noted, was to let the participants’ input help shape the new EU framework programme ‘Horizon Europe’ and in particular, the ‘Digital and Industry’ cluster.
Representing Federal Minister Nobert Hofer, BMVIT Secretary General Andreas Reichhardt underscored at the conference opening the huge role investments play in key technologies:
“In key technologies such as production technologies, nanotechnologies, digital technologies and cybertechnologies, we need more innovations as well as innovations that are more effective. We can then improve prosperity, growth and the quality of life in Austria and Europe and strengthen our position internationally. Without innovations we will not be able to rise to the challenges of the future and cope with global competition.”
Furthermore, he emphasised the great success achieved by Austrian participants in the EU framework programme ‘Horizon 2020’ in the area of NMBP (nanotechnologies, materials, biotechnologies and production). 72 million euros in funding has been raised in this area so far, a success rate of 22%.
“At BMVIT, we are investing about 130 million euros a year in production and materials research, with the goal of also strengthening industry and research facilities so they can take part in international programmes such as Horizon 2020. These efforts have been successful so far”,
“The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) is a strong national and European partner in the field of industrial technologies”, FFG Managing Director Klaus Pseiner explained. In the field of future key technologies, for instance, FFG runs the “Production of the Future” programme for BMVIT, which has provided about 150 million euros in funding to more than 270 projects since 2011. Pseiner stressed: “With our national programmes, we lay the necessary groundwork for successful participation on a European level.” As the National Contact Point for European programmes, FFG offers a comprehensive range of consulting and support services. While Horizon 2020 is in full swing, the next framework programme is now being put together during the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
“Intelligent production technologies and processes are needed to produce physical goods competitively and efficiently. Competitive production is also of central importance for economic and sustainable growth and for employment in Europe – the future framework programme on research, Horizon Europe, is therefore also intended to be a strong impetus for industrial technologies”,
The keynote speakers at the conference were the well‑known solar pioneer Bertrand Piccard and Infineon CEO Sabine Herlitschka. Piccard presented his project – to find 1000 clean, efficient and profitable solutions for the energy transition, and made the following demand:
“If we want to advance innovation and also establish it on the market, we must first create a need for it. This can be done with modern, ambitious environmental goals and corresponding energy policy measures.”
In her speech, Infineon CEO Sabine Herlitschka explained that key technologies were the new global currency.
“Digital transformation is not just a question of technology; it signifies economic, political and cultural competition. A global European competition strategy is the key to our success in this competition. We must develop a strong European approach”,
At the conference, the Horizon Prize on Material for Clean Air was also awarded for the first time. This award honours cost‑effective, sustainable and innovative material solutions that are design‑orientated. It comes with a cash prize of 3 million euros. Particulate matter is the type of air pollution that is most detrimental to health. Around 90% of all urban dwellers in Europe are exposed to levels of particulate matter that exceed the air quality standards of the World Health Organization. The EU Commission received 16 applications worthy of funding from 12 countries. A panel of independent experts selected the winner after an on‑site visit. Jean‑Jacques Theron, from Corning SAS in France, developed a ceramic honeycomb air filter that removes up to 95% of particulate matter from the air. John Gallagher, Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, achieved second place. BMVIT Secretary General Reichhardt said: “It is a great honour for us to have such a high‑class award presented at the INDTECH2018 conference in Vienna.”
There were 95 presentations on topics such as frugal innovation, circular economy and bioeconomy, design innovations, artificial intelligence and energy efficiency in production. There was also an exhibition offering insight into current advances and initiatives in European research promotion and into product innovations by companies. The exhibition stand Austrian Innovators presented the activities and fields of expertise of Austrian technology platforms in relation to key technologies. These platforms are as follows: Vereine Industrie 4.0, NanoNet‑AT, Photonics‑AT, GMAR (Gesellschaft für Mess‑, Automatisierungs‑ und Regelungstechnik), Smart Textiles, Additive Manufacturing Austria, ECSEL, BioNanoNet and ÖWGP (Österreichische wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Produktionsforschung). Along with on‑site visits and matchmaking, the programme also included interactive formats such as world cafés and fish bowls.
The day before the opening of the conference, the Second EU‑Asia Dialogue on Nanosafety Research was held. This event was initiated and coordinated by BMVIT in cooperation with Bionanonet GmbH, the European Commission and the Asia Nano Forum, a network of promotional organisations and research ministries active mainly in Asia in the field of nanotechnology. BMVIT has been an active member of the Asia Nano Forum since 2014. More than 80 participants exchanged views on current challenges in nanosafety research. They also expressed their commitment to joint cooperation, as many of the issues can only be solved through transnational collaboration. Topics such as the establishment of standards and test guidelines, nanocharacterisation, data and social implications of nanosafety research are to be discussed in greater depth at the Third EU‑Asia Dialogue on Nanosafety Research, to be held in Bangkok in March 2019. Joint projects on this matter will also be generated there. To this end, national promotional programmes such as the Austrian Nano Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Programme on Nanosafety Research are also to be optimised with respect to these issues, alongside Horizon 2020, the EU framework programme.
More information about the event can be found on the event page.