At the Annual Taftie conference in June, we addressed the topic of Europe as a leader in carbon-free strategies.

At the beginning the keynote speaker – Maayke-Aimée Damen – Founder at the Excess Materials Exchange, MIT Innovator under 35 – opened the meeting with her presentation on the circular economy.

Maykee introduced the idea of ​​using used materials in goods through the Excess Materials Exchange platform. Companies can sell and buy any kind of used materials or products there. The application works on a similar principle as a certain dating site by matching: supply and demand of materials and materials with their highest value re-use option. The main principle of this new business model is the so-called “identity list / passport of the products“. This means creating the identity of each product – what is it made of, where was it used, what materials does it contain, is it easy to break it down into parts? This identity passport will help us with further recycling.  For example, in the Netherlands you can find the benches marked with a QR code showing from which recycled materials it is made from.

The next step is intelligence – they use 2 types, namely artificial intelligence and blockchain to create a database of products and match them when entering a demand. The last step in this process is integration. Creating the best product recycling solution so that we have the optimal financial value, the most emissions saved and the lowest energy costs.

In the pilot phase 10 companies from the Netherlands (e.g. Shipol Airport, Philips, etc.) participated in this program and created 17 projects for the recycling of old products with these amazing results: 64 million euro of financial value, save enough energy to light Paris street lights for 5 years, we save 860 000 car rides from Amsterdam to Milan in saved CO2 emissions and save amount of water to fill 860 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Another part of the agenda was a panel discussion moderated by Kristína Korčeková from Civitta.

Our invitation was also accepted by prof. Philip McCann, Chair in Urban and Regional Economics, Sheffield University Management School, Mr. Alan Haigh, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, Ms. Eva Pružincová a Mr. Rastislav Milošovič, both from Slovak Innovation Agency, worked in field of implementing of EU funds at the regional level.

In the discussion, we covered areas from the creation of strategies at the political level, through their financing to the application of these strategies at the local /regional level. Mr Alan Haigh specified what funds are planned under the forthcoming calls in Horizon2020, but also what topics the European Commission is focusing on. Professor Philip McCann described how major EU strategies are emerging at the political level, and SIEA representatives have clarified the functioning of the European Structural Funds at the regional level. The discussants agreed that the involvement of more players in all stages of the process of creating EU strategies and funds is absolutely critical to advancing the topics of smart, sustainable future and climate change. It is important to involve regional actors, businesses, companies, innovators but also innovation agencies to the inclusion in policy making and their applicability. It is important not only to focus on and pursue one flagship goal, but to take many small steps and fulfil small goals at the regional level. Therefore it is important to cooperate in fund planning and involve as many local actors as possible. For the correct setting up of EU funds, but also H2020 funds, it is important to have feedback from innovation agencies that implement these challenges. Therefore, panellists recommend that innovation agencies should participate in the evaluation process and  prepare good examples from practice.  Furthermore, innovation agencies should  share their experiences, developing programs, learning programs, policies transfer. There are hundreds of local initiatives actively involved in RIS3 platform. „Innovation agencies are absolutely critical for their working in regional level, because their bring inside the system, so many stakeholders, companies, …. so many people are involved. Cohesion and cooperation in the regional level, their can cofacilitate, their brings a money in this system. Bring new people to this system and this is the best inclusive approach to cohesive and cooperation“.

Next part of the Agenda was one-to-one with Mr. Martin Hojsík, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe Group. We discussed about the current state of implementation of the European Green Deal in the EU Member States, but also other green topics. Mr.Hojsík currently considers the EU as a leader in carbon-free strategies, especially in its ambitions and settings.

He believes that we will achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 and  he is a supporter of the new European Bauhaus project. Mr. Hojsík sees a huge opportunity for innovation agencies in engaging as many people as possible, connecting innovation with beauty and in identifying the pressing issues. „To think not out of the box, but to forget that some box exists.“

You can watch one-to-one interview with Martin Hojsík HERE.

We did not miss the innovative safari where we presented 2 Slovak start-ups.

The first one was Inobat – battery R&D and production company and the second one was Ediris, start-up for developing AI-driven technology to optimise nutrition for farm animals.