Article published 11 March 2024

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The EU Commission presents new initiatives boosting European industrial leadership

The EU Commission has proposed an encompassing strategy to move towards EU industrial leadership in advanced materials, a key enabling technology highly relevant for the twin green and digital transition. The initiative is the first step towards a common European approach for advanced materials, laying the groundwork for further action.

Advanced materials are intentionally designed and engineered materials to display superior performance or special functions, which can be developed with unprecedented speed thanks to today's scientific understanding and computing power. They are fundamental for example for innovation in energy, electronics, construction and mobility, and therefore crucial for the green and digital transition. The first list of research areas is expected to be expanded overtime in dialogue with the Technology Council to be set-up.

The demand for advanced materials is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, for instance for the production of renewable energy, batteries, zero-emission buildings, semiconductors, medicines and medical devices, satellites, space launchers, planes or for other dual-use applications as well as defence equipment.

The strategy aims to enhance the EU's long-term competitiveness by ensuring the Union remains at the forefront of new material technologies, supporting development, testing and deployment capacities. The actions will also strengthen the EU's open strategic autonomy and economic security by reducing dependencies on critical materials by replacing them or supporting their recycling and reuse.

‑ The EU’s competitiveness relies on our technological edge and steady supply of advanced materials for our green and digital transitions. We must both support the development of these materials and deploy them efficiently in a sustainable way. Having listened to industrial stakeholders and national authorities, we are proposing a way forward that is beneficial to our long-term economic resilience, said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age.

The Communication proposes actions along five main pillars to be implemented together with EU Member states, industry players and other key stakeholders:

  1. Strengthening the European research & innovation ecosystem on advanced materials
  2. Fast-tracking innovative materials to the market
  3. Increasing capital investment and access to financing
  4. Fostering the production and use of advanced materials
  5. Creating a Technology Council for advanced materials to advise on the steering of this initiative with Member States, countries associated to Horizon Europe and industry.