As a response to the targets set by the EIP’s Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) has established in December 2014 the so-called EIT Raw Materials, and designated it as an EIT Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC). The overarching goal of the EIT Raw Materials is to turn the challenge of raw materials dependence into a strategic strength for Europe. The EIT Raw Materials establishes a network of research, education and training centres on sustainable raw materials, which also involves the business community and bases its activities on education, entrepreneurship and technology innovation. Overall, more than 100 partners from 20 Member States are involved.
Technological innovation applies to the exploration and extraction sector as well as to processing/refining and recycling technologies (including substitution) that is to the whole production chain in the present and in the future. Key actions within the mandate of EIT Raw Materials include:
- Increase the number of professionals in the raw materials sector (for both primary and secondary raw materials sectors) as well as to foster interactions between sub-sectors including (but not restricted to) geology, geochemistry, geophysics, mineral processing, forest operations, recycling, mining engineering, metallurgy, chemistry, materials sciences, process and product design, IT, social and human sciences, economy, etc.
- Improve product design in that recycling requirements and emerging materials alternatives are taken into account from start.
- Increase the EU coverage of network, that includes the entire raw materials chain (from exploration to recycling, and substitution) – for all raw materials covered by the EIP.
On December 2014, the EIT disclosed that the winner of the EIT’s 2014 Call for Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) for EIT Raw Materials is the consortium RawMatTERS, whose exact structure is currently being defined. The RawMatTERS partners aims at establishing the so-called “Sustainability Support and Information Centre” (SSIC). The SSIC is expected to act as the overarching contact point for industry and technology developers in relation to questions related to sustainability support and information, offering fast and effective access to state-of-the-art datasets, methodologies and tools. Towards this end, the KIC RawMatTERS will also provide extensive support regarding the use of tools and methods such as Input/Output (I/O) analysis, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Sustainability Assessment (SA), and Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA).
In June 2015, the “EIT Raw Materials Interim Management Team” informed the consortium RawMatTERS that the proposal submitted was successfully evaluated and it is thus suggested for inclusion in the Business Plan 2016.