The future needs networks

The good news: the European Commission is proposing to invest € 80 bill. in research and development. Key issues are: safe, clean and efficient energy, resource efficiency and raw material – priorities that have long been top of the agenda of the European clay brick and tile industry.

The bad news is quite simply: no one will get any of the money working on their own.

The challenge is for the entire ­ceramics industry as a sector! This was made clear by the “European Parliament Ceramics Forum” (EPCF) in a debate on 30 May in the ­European Parliament in Brussels. Chairmen of the Forum, Michael Cashman and ­Malcolm Harbour, both Members of the European Parliament, called for new ways and possibilities to be found in order to push ahead with concerted partnership-based research. Support will only be available for exceptionally ambitious international projects co-funded 1:1 by the industry. With its many SMEs, the clay brick and tile industry fits in very nicely when it comes to eligibility for funding.

The simple message: money is available for research.

What do we have to do to use this for our industry? Our representatives in Brussels, Cérame Unie and TBE, are naturally “on the case”. Dr.-Ing. Ullrich Knüpfer, Director at the Brick and Tile Research Institute, reports on their activities in the Report from Brussels on page…

Quintessence of the EPCF debate is this message: we have to form Europe-wide networks! Many activities are underway in the different countries. The ideas are there. But the budget is often limited. A research network on European level can better organize, focus and successfully conduct ­ceramic research.

An ideal opportunity to launch a concerted Europe-wide research initiative is this year’s TBE annual meeting in ­Brussels. Let us use the 60th anniversary event to show that the clay brick and tile industry is not going into retirement, but relaunching for a successful future. Here clay brick and tile manufacturers and researchers have the opportunity to come together, and of course meet with the plant engineers too. The “European Ceramic Technology Suppliers” (ECTS) are also planning to hold their autumn meeting in Brussels.

Naturally, it costs time and money to travel to Brussels for two days. But if it helps the industry get a slice of the € 80-bill. pie for future-oriented research, then it is money well spent.

Hope to see you in Brussels on 9/10 October,


Anett Fischer

Editor Zi Brick and Tile International


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