Innovation Boost to Tackle Climate Change

By Climate-kic, PRNE
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BUDAPEST, Hungary, December 16 - While Heads of State are negotiating to reach a substantial climate
agreement in Copenhagen, the EU is stepping forward to take the lead in
developing innovations to tackle climate change. The European Institute of
Innovation and Technology (EIT) has launched a groundbreaking new research,
innovation and education initiative that aims to answer the various
challenges of climate change. A pan-European consortium encompassing sixteen
world class partners from academia, and from the private and public sectors,
will implement this new and unique network.

The new "Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC)" is a
major initiative the EIT has announced today in Budapest (see box). The
Climate-KIC program brings together the expertise of world class partners in
a shared effort to make a step-change in Europe's innovation capacity to meet
the climate change challenge in the years to come and to prepare for a new
low-carbon society. In responding to this challenge, we need to bring about
changes to how we produce, distribute, and consume goods, and to how we meet
our requirements for energy, food, and water in the context of protecting the

Major investments - high profile partners

With EUR120 million requested from the EIT, the partners themselves
planned to contribute roughly five times that amount so that eventually a
total of up to EUR750 million would be spent over the next four years on a
range of innovation and education programs. The detailed numbers that finally
will be approved by the EIT have however not been communicated yet and are
subject to negotiation. It is the first time that companies from various
sectors and scientific experts will work together in a large integrated
initiative in the area of climate change. <<We are very pleased to have been
selected for this important initiative that will equip the next generation of
entrepreneurs and technologists with innovative tools and which will pioneer
new thinking and practice >>, says Prof. Bert Van der Zwaan, as interim CEO
on behalf of the partners of the Climate-KIC. The Climate-KIC was selected at
the end of a one year process.

Among the sixteen core partners are universities, companies and public
sector organizations. From academia, the core partners of the consortium are:
ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Imperial College London (UK), a French consortium
consisting of Paris area campus (IPSL, CEA, ParisTech, UVSQ, INRA, MeteoFR,
Advancity), a German consortium led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate
Impact Research (including TU Berlin, TU Munich and GFZ), as well as a Dutch
consortium consisting among others of Utrecht University, Delft University of
Technology and Wageningen University and Research Center. The partner
companies are: Bayer, Beluga Shipping GmbH, Cisco, DSM, EDF, SAP, Schiphol,
Shell, Solar Valley, and Thales. Climate KIC also brings together an
association of six major European regions which will test, develop and
facilitate the real-world application of new eco-innovations.

Educate a new generation

The Climate-KIC will foster interactions between European research,
education and business innovation. The aim is to create a generation of
climate change entrepreneurs who will have the multidisciplinary skills to
develop economically, environmentally and socially sustainable approaches to
coping with the effects of global warming. Furthermore, roadmaps with short-
and long-term goals will be developed to elaborate investment strategies and
to support innovation in small and medium sized enterprises. The research and
educational projects are to be conducted at five co-location centers in
Berlin/Potsdam, London, Paris area, Utrecht and Zurich, places where the
partners will come together to work on the projects.

Pioneering research and innovation projects

The Climate-KIC will focus on strategic research and
innovation projects that are expected to have the greatest impact in terms of
enabling regions to mitigate against climate change, and adapt to its
effects. Four themes are of particular interest: Assessing climate change and
managing its drivers, Transitioning to resilient low carbon cities, Adaptive
water management, and Zero carbon production systems.

For example, among the numerous challenges European societies
are facing with regard to the climate change, one is the question of how to
monitor, assess and certify the effective CO2 emissions on a local level, to
establish a fair market where CO2 certificates are to be traded. This
requires new collaborations between companies engaged in the development of
sensor/observation technologies, and those involved in modeling and
accounting. Using such cross-fertilization of the partners' expertise, one of
the many projects aims to develop tools and mechanisms to account and verify
emissions of CO2 from the level of companies and cities to the globe.

Other projects will develop new tools for urban planning, for
water management, new adaptive agricultural processes or low-carbon emission
manufacturing in various sectors.

<<A strength of the KIC initiative is that with sixteen
partners from various sectors we will be able to develop solutions that
integrate well in the whole value chain>>, says Prof. Bert Van der Zwaan.

Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs)

The Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) are an initiative of the
European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Their main goals
are to create a vision for a sustainable future with strong impact on
European society and to transfer higher education, research and innovation
activities to the business context and their commercial application by
creating e.g. spin-offs and start-ups. The KICs are financially supported
by the European Union, which has pledged initial funding of over 300
million Euros
, and by corporate partners joining particular KICs. The KICs
will be established for periods of up to fifteen years to guarantee mid-
to long-term perspectives to the chosen partnerships. In an initial round
the EIT has launched three KICs in the fields of climate change mitigation
and adaptation, sustainable energy and future information and
communication society.

For further information: (including information on the
Climate-KIC partners)

Please note that the EIT will hold a press conference in Brussels on
Thursday: 17 December, at 11.15 a.m.

For more details see:

For the webcast see:

    Further Information (Press offices)

    ETH Zurich
    Corporate Communications, Media Relations
    Roman Klingler
    Phone: +41(0)44-632-41-41

    Imperial College London
    Press Office
    Laura Gallagher: Communications Department
    Phone: +44(0)20-7594-6702

    Dutch Consortium
    Universiteit Utrecht
    Communicatie Service Centrum, Press Office
    Peter van der Wilt
    Phone: +31(0)30-253-3705

    German Consortium
    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
    Press Office
    Uta Pohlmann & Patrick Eickemeier
    Phone: +49-331-266-2507

    Paris Consortium
    Press Office
    Stephane Laveissiere
    Phone: +33(0)1-64-50-27-53

Further Information (Press offices): ETH Zurich: Corporate Communications, Media Relations, Roman Klingler, Phone: +41(0)44-632-41-41, media_relations at . Imperial College London: Press Office, Laura Gallagher: Communications Department, Phone: +44(0)20-7594-6702, l.gallagher at . Dutch Consortium: Universiteit Utrecht, Communicatie Service Centrum, Press Office, Peter van der Wilt, Phone: +31(0)30-253-3705, P.M.vanderWilt at . German Consortium: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Press Office, Uta Pohlmann & Patrick Eickemeier, Phone: +49-331-266-2507, presse at Paris Consortium: Press Office, Stephane Laveissiere, Phone: +33(0)1-64-50-27-53, stephane.laveissiere at

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