4 December 2014 | Ceramic Days 2014 | Thon Hotel EU, Brussels
Cerame-Unie organised a conference on research and innovation on 4 December in the context of the Ce-
ramic Days 2014. Around 90 participants attended the event to discover which EU funding schemes are
available to the ceramic industry and receive first-hand experience on EU funded research projects.
Following an introduction by Mr Alain Delcourt, President of Cerame-Unie, Mr Peter Woodward, the moderator of
the conference, invited the audience to actively engage in the event. He then introduced Dr Monique Levy, who
gave a keynote speech on innovation opportunities in the ceramics sector as seen from her perspective as a Euro-
pean Commission official in DG Research and Innovation.
Dr Levy introduced the funding opportunities under Horizon 2020, stating that the EU research and innovation pro-
gramme aims to foster research in order to help Europe overcome the economic crisis. The goal of Horizon 2020 is
to ensure Europe produces world-class science, to remove barriers to innovation and to make it easier for the pub-
lic and private sectors to work together to deliver innovation. Research outcomes attained through the programme
are intended for practical use, which is why the programme is di-
rected at industry. Horizon 2020 also includes a special initiative for
small and medium-sized enterprises, an especially interesting aspect
for the ceramic industry, 80% of which is composed of SMEs.
Fromleft toright:PeterWoodward; MoniqueLevy; NaderAkil;FrançoisAmzulesco;MariaBignozzi; Ana Mezquita Martí; Christian Dannert; Laura Brandolin; Alain Delcourt
Horizon 2020 aims to strengthen
industrial engagement in
research and innovation.
Research & Innovation in ceramics
How industry benefits from EU funding
In the second part of her presentation Dr Levy addressed the Commission’s roadmap for innovative construction
materials. The roadmap will be based on information provided by the European construction technology platform
and an extensive stakeholder consultation with replies from both the public and private sector. The results of the
survey showed a need for technological developments rather than basic research as well as a need for the applica-
tion of research results.
Dr Nader Akil from PNO Consultants presented information on unlocking EU funds for research and innovation. He
drew attention to the wide variety of available funding schemes like
Life, Eurostars, Horizon 2020 and the associated SME instrument. Dr Akil
explained that in order to be successful, applicants should not only
clearly define their position and objectives but also chose the right
scheme from the pool of possibilities. He drew the audience’s attention
to the fact that participating in an EU-funded project is not just about funding; it is also about exploring new mar-
kets and creating connections with interesting new partners.
In the second part of the conference five representatives from ceramic companies and research centres introduced
past and current EU-funded projects and explained the benefits of various programmes and demonstrated how EU
funding can be attained and put to use in the ceramic industry.
Mr François Amzulesco from the French clay construction products manufacturer Terreal presented a project car-
ried out at one of the company’s roofing tile plants in France which received funding from the EU LIFE programme.
The project, called Heart, aimed at improving the energy efficiency of
the plant and one third of the project’s costs were covered by EU fund-
ing. LIFE supports projects directed at environmental and climate
change issues and combines innovation and demonstration. Applica-
tions can be submitted twice a year. National contact points can be of
great help when preparing the application. If an application is accepted the timespan between acceptance and the
first payment of funding is relatively short. The administrative efforts and costs are estimated at 7%. Competition
for receiving a LIFE fund is tough due to the high number of applicants.
Dr Maria Bignozzi, future Director of Centro Ceramico, discussed various EU funded projects in which the Italian
ceramic centre was partner. From 2005 to 2008 the research centre took part in Siliceram, a project that dealt with
respirable crystalline silica (RCS) and combined the expertise of research centres, industry associations and SMEs
from seven European countries. Between 2011 and 2014 Centro Ceramico participated in the Silicoat project. Re-
search centres, industry associations and SMEs from four
different countries cooperated to develop and implement a
technology that can help decrease the toxicity of RCS. For both
projects, over 50% of research costs were covered by EU fund-
ing. A third project, Silife, was submitted in 2014 and is
awaiting the outcome of the selection process. One of the advantages of multinational and multi-sectoral projects
is that they solve a specific technological problem by gathering input from a variety of industry sectors.
Ms Ana Mezquita Martí from the Institute of Ceramic Technology in Castellón presented Reducer, a project that
aimed at lowering carbon dioxide emissions in the ceramic manufacturing process. The project was carried out in
cooperation with a company and funded with money from the EU’s Sustainable Industry Low Carbon Scheme
(SILC). This scheme’s objective is to support short term innovation measures in industrial sectors covered by the EU
Emissions Trading Scheme. Every project supported through SILC contributes to developing a competitive low car-
bon economy. Around 75% of the Reducer project was co-funded by the EU.
Participating in an EU-funded
project is about exploring new
markets and connections.
National contact points can be
of great help when applying to
EU funding programmes.
Multinational and multi-sectoral
projects can help solve a specific tech-
nological problem by gathering input
from a variety of industry sectors.
Dr Christian Dannert from the Forschungsgemeinschaft Feuerfest in Höhr-Grenzhausen, Germany, gave an insight
into the ReStaR project. He explained the difficulties the refractory
industry faces to receive EU funding due to the characteristics of
the industry and the design of EU funding schemes. ReStaR is the
first EU funded project coordinated by ECREF, the European Centre
for Refractories located in Höhr-Grenzhausen. The project aims to
improve the reliability of European testing standards for refractories. The project is not only valuable from a re-
search perspective but also because it proved that specific industry sectors like refractories can benefit from EU
funding schemes if the industry sector gains visibility, has a platform for networking, a platform for the realisation
and coordination of projects and can draw from the expertise of the entire industry.
Ms Laura Brandolin from the University of Padua presented the INSYSME project. It has received funding from the
EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities. The
project aims at developing earthquake resistant masonry enclosures in reinforced concrete framed buildings and
combines 16 partners from six EU member states and Turkey, led by the University of Padua. However, INSYSME is
not just a research project: cooperation between research facilities and industry is a clear objective and project
results should be reflected in new patents and future products.
In the subsequent lively panel discussion, moderated by Mr Woodward, the audience was invited to ask questions
and to share their own experiences. One common concern was how
to reach out to SMEs. Key advice included the organisation of or par-
ticipation in info days and brokerage events. Also the support of the
national contact points as well as the national and European industry
association was highlighted. Speakers also debated the benefits of EU
funding over national funding schemes and encouraged participants to
reach out and seize the existing opportunities. Even if the success rates
are low, it is often worth to try and continue trying as proposals that are
reworked and submitted a second time have a higher chance of success.
This conference was held as a part of Cerame-Unie’s Ceramic Days 2014. For further information please visit
The European ceramic industry covers a wide range of products including abrasives, bricks & roof tiles, clay pipes,
wall & floor tiles, refractories, sanitaryware, table- & ornamentalware, technical ceramics and porcelain enamel.
The industry generates over 200,000 direct jobs and a production value of €27 billion within the EU.
Rue de la Montagne 17 - 1000 Brussels
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firstname.lastname@example.org - www.cerameunie.eu - twitter.com/CerameUnie
To benefit from EU funding, specific
industry sectors should increase
their visibility and establish a
Proposals that are reworked and
submitted a second time have a
higher chance of success.
For more information on EU
funding schemes visit Horizon
2020, Life and Eurostars.