European project provides €3M to improve industries’ sustainability

 

The objective of the project SoTecIn FactorySocial and Technological Innovation Factory for low carbon and circular industrial value chains, is to contribute to the development of a more sustainable and resilient industry. Led by the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), this European project provides €3.3M to support social innovations that improve the circularity of value chairs and the reduction of industries’ carbon footprint.

The project started in June 2022, and it contributes to the implementation of the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan, while stimulating the creation of new solutions with social and environmental impact in different fields: electronics and ICT; batteries and vehicles; packaging; plastics; textiles; construction and buildings; food, water and nutrients.

“SoTecIn Factory will support, with financial and capacity-building resources, social innovation ideas towards creating alternatives to more circular value chains. As a result, companies will benefit from more durable products that can be repaired, recycled, and reused”, explained Gustavo Dalmarco, project coordinator and researcher at INESC TEC, stating that the project aims “to develop advanced solutions for resource and energy efficiency, find supply alternatives, increase Europe’s autonomy and develop social entrepreneurship skills for the green and digital transition”.

“Imagine a food sector company with food waste issues”, said Gustavo Dalmarco, “the project will try to bring technology to reduce waste and help solve this problem”. The solutions will be presented by companies currently operating in Europe, thus fostering a collaborative environment. The SoTecIn Factory will first help industries identify sustainability issues, then connect them to social innovators.

Over 36 months, the project will bring together the different industrial sectors, through various mashups and workshops, and identify their challenges, in a region that includes more than 20 countries. In 2023 and 2024, two open calls for social innovators will be launched to address the needs identified.

In this context, 50 European social innovators (among researchers, SMEs and start-ups) will be selected, and receive €15K to support the development of innovative products and services with social impact. Of this group, 30 will have the opportunity to participate in a pre-market technology demonstration, which includes additional support of €85K.

In addition to funding, social innovators will benefit from mentorship, training actions with scientific support to the implementation of their solutions, and the design of business models.

Led by INESC TEC, SoTecIn Factory brings together other five European partners: F6S Network (Ireland); bwcon (Germany); Impact Hub (Austria); Metabolic (Netherlands); and CNR (Italy).

The project is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Programme. You can now subscribe to the newsletter and follow SoTecInFactory’s activities and open calls at www.sotecinfactory.eu.

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