VOL. 9 March ISSUE YEAR 2008
in Vol. 9 - March Issue - Year 2008
FEMS and the European Materials Forum
Professor Robert Singer
Providing a Strong Voice for the Materials Community in Europe:
The European Materials Forum, "EMF" is a non-profit organisation integrating major materials-related scientific organisations and industries in Europe. It was formed in 2004 with FEMS as one of the thirteen founder members. Its secretary is Prof. Paul Siffert, Secretary General of the European Materials Research Society, E-MRS.
In 2000, the EU’s Lisbon summit had identified the need for Europe to strengthen its competitiveness and become the most dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. This posed new challenges to the broad based, interdisciplinary materials science and technology community which, although of crucial importance to European competitiveness in many industrial sectors, tends to be fragmented and in need of coordination. Thus emerged the concept of a European Materials Forum to represent the knowledge base of European Materials Science and Technology from the public and private sectors.
The launch meeting of the EMF took place at University College Cork on 28-29 June 2004, where the then FEMS Vice-President, Prof. Robert Singer, presented the FEMS Perspective for the Forum:
To meet the challenge from USA and Japan;
To partner the EC;
To formulate and express opinions of the Materials community.
Since then, the EMF has done much to further its cause, including a presentation to the Research Committee of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 28 September 2005 (the day before the Framework 7 budget was due to be discussed) and a meeting with Janez Potocnik, the European Commissioner for Science and Research, in Brussels on 16 March 2006.
Perhaps the most ambitious initiative of the EMF to date has been the organisation of the First World Materials Summit on "Materials Research: Key to Meeting Energy Needs and Climate Change". This took place in Lisbon on 4-5 October 2007 before an invited audience of 100 international decision makers. Materials Research and Advanced Materials are probably the most important key elements to develop the required new technologies needed to provide the reliable and efficient supply of clean energy, transportation and infrastructures needed to achieve a more sustainable climate. The goal of the conference was to initiate cooperation in the Materials Science and Technology Field to accelerate the introduction of actions to slow the increasing rate of CO2 emissions. The focus of this first summit was on Transport and Mobility and the proceedings included a presentation by Professor Singer, the then FEMS President, entitled “Low Weight Vehicles through Advanced Materials". Other topics included “Strategic Materials Worldwide", which was addressed by speakers from as far afield as Australia, Brazil, China, France, India, South Africa and USA, and “Clean Energy Production" by means of fuel cells, nuclear fusion and fission, photovoltaics and other renewable sources.
The output from this very successful summit was the “Lisbon 2007 Declaration on International Cooperation in Materials Research: Key to Meeting Energy Needs and Addressing Climate Change". This proposes establishment of the global network CORME (Coordination of Research on Materials for Energy) to produce internationally agreed strategic plans for the development of new and improved materials for future energy technologies. For Europe, the EMF (supported by FEMS) will be in charge.