The IRISS project aims to connect, synergize and transform the Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design (SSbD) community in Europe and globally towards a lifecycle approach.
The concept of Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design is the core of the IRISS project, which includes focusing early in the supply chain on providing products that are part of circular models while avoiding properties that may be harmful to human health or the environment. It integrates circularity, climate neutrality, functionality and safety of materials, products and processes throughout their life cycle.
In close collaboration with industry, several roadmaps will be developed to implement research and innovation, but also to demonstrate needs that exist in the policy area. Focus is on the value chains for textiles, construction, electronics, energy, automotive, packaging and fragrance.
The project responds to meet the EU Green Deal, EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The IRISS project pursues five high-level objectives:
- To develop a state-of-the-art SSbD ecosystem that is supportive for the uptake and utilization of Safe-by-Design (SbD) and Sustainable-by-Design (SusbD) strategies by industry, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.
- To contribute to criteria and guiding principles for SusbD development driven by the application of life cycle thinking in materials and product design and in line with ongoing work in European and international initiatives.
- To establish a structure for a permanent, gender balanced, inclusive, international and sustainable network of experts, accessible for all relevant stakeholders.
- To develop SSbD roadmaps encompassing three agendas identifying: 1) scientific research needs, 2) skills, competences and education needs, and 3) knowledge and information sharing needs. The roadmaps will be developed in an inclusive co-creation process for the implementation of SSbD in industry and society including prioritized steps within research, innovation, skill demands, management and governance.
- To develop a monitoring and evaluation programme that systematically scans for state-of-the-art knowledge, information gaps and translates these into specific R&D questions and governance needs that feed into systematic roadmap updates.
To fulfil the overarching objectives, IRISS has defined seven specific objectives, linked to the activities in seven work packages (WPs):
- To map and assess the state-of-the-art of methods and criteria of existing SSbD approaches, including lifecycle-based methods, design processes and business models developed for increased circularity as well as availability and needs of skills (WP1).
- To identify gaps in the knowledge and tools for SSbD, in the implementation of SSbD in various value chains and industry; and the SSbD skills mismatches and competence gaps to support adequate skills at all levels; and to define needs for future research and innovation (WP2).
- To formulate, test and periodically update SSbD roadmaps encompassing three agendas identifying: i) scientific research needs, ii) skills, competences and education needs, and iii) knowledge and information sharing needs. The SSbD roadmaps will be developed in an inclusive co-creation process to support and promote the implementation and operationalization of SSbD principles and tools in VCs and to develop guiding principles, best practices, and a governance structure for the EU-led international community (WP3).
- To ensure that the overarching SSbD roadmap and guidelines (WP3) are operationalized in practice in various value chains through the assessment of the uptake of SSbD by value chains, the development of value chain specific research & innovation roadmaps, the translation of these lessons learned to update the overarching SSbD roadmap (WP3) and by engaging with additional value chain-international networks (WP4).
- To develop a corporate identity for IRISS and to strengthen collaboration, dialogue, and information exchange between relevant actors to promote the development and implementation of SSbD (WP5).
- To create an EU-led international, permanent, gender balanced and inclusive structure and ecosystem for long-term cooperation on SSbD, engaging partners beyond consortium members and establishing a common mechanism to engage, mobilize and bring together diverse stakeholders (WP6).
- To develop, deploy and maintain professional and effective administrative, technical, scientific, legal, and financial frameworks and procedures for successful project management (WP7).
IRISS – International ecosystem for accelerating the transition to Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design materials, products and processes, is a three-year project, start date 1st of June 2022. It is funded by the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe, under grant agreement n° 101058245.
It has a budget of €4.3 million, of which approximately €3.5 million come from the EU, as well as additional funding through the University of Birmingham and Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. The consortium consists of 20 partners, coordinated by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.