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TUTIC-GREEN Report Summary

Project ID: 621364
Funded under: FP7-REGPOT
Country: Estonia

Periodic Report Summary 2 - TUTIC-GREEN (Excellent Tallinn University of Technology Research Chair in Green Chemistry and Technology)

Project Context and Objectives:
The chemical industry has been one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in Europe. It produces 20% per cent of the world’s chemicals, employs 1.2 million workers and contributes €539 billion to the EU economy1. But the European chemical industry is facing major challenges as value chains increasingly move eastward, drawn by economic growth and market opportunities in Asia. More than 30 % of jobs are expected to vanish in the European chemical industry by 2030 as a result of slow growth and productivity gains. According to Pike Research, the use of GC in a range of industrial activities will grow rapidly in the coming decade, offering significant direct cost savings as well as indirect savings in the form of avoiding liability for environmental and social impacts2. Faced with trengthening global competition, the EU chemical industry has already undertaken restructuring and cost-saving measures in order to improve competitiveness. The challenge of GC is to devise sustainable strategies that meet the demand for chemical products from ever-increasing population - identify renewable feedstock and find replacements compounds with reduced toxicity and increased biodegradability compared with existing mass-produced compounds.
Enhancing the competitiveness of the chemicals sector requires a transformation from resourceintensive modes of operation to knowledge-intensive activities that deliver high-added-value products and services to meet the customer’s growing expectations. At the same time, the industry must satisfy the Community’s high standards of environmental care and social responsibility. Given the important challenges ahead of us and the extremely broad spread of topics to be addressed, it is clear that collaborative projects at EU level are necessary to achieve the sustainable chemistry goals.
Need for ERA Chair at Tallinn University of technology, Institute of Chemistry (TUTIC) Chemical research and chemical products are also key priority areas of Estonian national smart specialization strategy. Estonian Development Fund together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and Ministry of Education and Research has conducted an analysis on the smart specialization strategies of Estonian research centres and companies. This analysis set the priority areas for research funding from local tructural funds for 2014-2020. Chemical products and chemical industry has been outline as a strategic priory under the area “effective utilization of resources” as a potential growth area.6 TUTIC has excellent research potential in chemical synthesis, metabolomics, molecular design and chemical analysis and institute has a unique combination of interdisciplinary research fields of chemistry, biotechnology and material science under one unit. Institute has substantial critical mass of research staff and high quality laboratory nfrastructure to conduct studies which meet international standards. Research staff is well qualified and recognized through academic evaluations. However, there is no reasonable funding scheme, which would support further professional development of experienced scientific staff or hiring professional researchers in order to build up missing competencies.
TUTIC brings together scientific competence necessary for innovations in chemistry to make it greener. Still this competence is fragmented and TUTIC has not been able to realize its full potential and is lacking smart specialization strategies to plan further research directions and necessary scientific resources in green chemistry. Institute has not been able to attract international doctoral and post-doctoral positions and establish strategic cooperation framework with top European research centres. Insufficient strategic partnerships are limiting institutes ability to participate in EU research projects under the Framework Programme.
The aim of the Chair is improve the research quality with introduction of principles of sustainability, basics of green technology and green chemistry, and concentrate this entire topic at the Institute of Chemistry under one strategic lead. At the moment there are everal high level groups working in this field at different Chairs (prof. Kaljurand and leading scientist Dr Koel – green analytical chemistry, prof. Kanger – organocatalysis, prof. Vilu – biotechnology for biomass processing). One important part of the green chemistry - toxicology -is studied by the partners of the university at National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics (Dr Kahru). The new Chair should create an environment where overlapping of these outstanding but so far separate research topics is maximized and synergetic effect is expected, also it will reorganise post-graduate studies providing new more advanced and actual for practical applications topics in chemistry and biochemistry.
The main objectives
By establishing the ERA Chair position at TUTIC the project aims to:
• Establish the necessary conditions for developing the existing and emerging research competence;
• Establish the necessary research management principles (IPR registration, technology transfer, analyses of research application areas, launching new R&D projects) and provide managerial capacity building trainings for research staff;
• Developing a strategy and a cooperation framework for aligning research directions and cooperation projects with the Estonian smart specialization strategy;
• Increase the participation of TUTIC in Horizon 2020 and other EU innovation funds;
• Enhancing the capacity of TUTIC to contribute to national and European economy;
• Increase the visibility of excellence of TUTIC and increase the level of international cooperation to set-up long lasting strategic partnerships in ERA;
• Facilitate organizational spill-over effects from ERA Chair management to university at large.

Project Results:
During the second period all workpackages are started. all tasks are addressed. Main acheivements are that majority of ERA Chair team is recruited and management principles are in place. Although recruitment of the team was delayed due to seeking the best of the best we are happy to have people who can easily work out all delayed issues addressed in the project description. University and chemistry community in Estonia has accepted ERA Chair of Green Chemistry as good scientific partner and is accepting the team' s efforts.

Potential Impact:
The main objective of TUTIC-Green project is to facilitate structural changes to foster excellent research in the area of green chemistry for sustainable development by establishing an ERA Chair position at Tallinn University of Technology Institute of Chemistry (TUTIC) helping TUTIC to achieve its scientific vision and contribute to European Research Area. The aim of the ERA Chair concept is to concentrate all thematic research areas at TUTIC under one strategic lead which in result will improve research quality on sustainable development and green chemistry methods.

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