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The value is on circularity – Recycling-reusing-reinvesting on critical raw materials

The value is on circularity – Recycling-reusing-reinvesting on critical raw materials

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1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


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The value is on circularity

Recycling-reusing-reinvesting on critical raw materials.

The webinar is jointly organised by the European Chemical Society (EuChemS) and Maria Spyraki, Member of the European Parliament.

The event will be held online on Thursday 5 November 2020, 13:00 – 15:00 CEST

The objectives of the workshop are:

  • Open discussion on critical raw materials for the EU economy involving all stakeholders;
  • Present the scientific basis to foster stronger policies for the protection of endangered elements in the EU;
  • European Commission’s Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials and a foresight study;
  • Critical Raw Materials and Horizon Europe;
  • Highlight the need to widen educational efforts at all levels of society to raise awareness on the limits of material resources and the need to implement a circular economy.

The prosperity of European citizens is based on a relentless flow of raw materials which, to an overwhelming extent, are imported from other continents. Modern free trade and the peaceful relationship that the EU has established with countries all over the world, have so far secured the import of these vital resources with no particular problems. However, resource dependent countries are aware that reliable fluxes of raw materials are not granted forever due to several factors such as the concentration of most resources in a relatively small number of countries, the periodic occurrence of trade tensions and, more remarkably, a constant rise in demand for virtually all raw materials in an increasingly affluent and populated world.

Some chemical elements and materials are vital for the modern economy, for the promotion of more sustainable industrial models and also for feeding and curing people. Among many examples we can mention lithium and cobalt as key elements to manufacture batteries and promote electric mobility; indium, tantalum and rare earths for electronic devices and information technologies; helium as an indispensable element in cryogenic applications including medical diagnostics; phosphorus as an essential ingredient for fertilisers which enable modern agriculture. Due to massive use and projected demand, these and other elements are already at risk of physical availability by the end of the present century and possibly earlier. Therefore, the time is now to take strategic decisions for their rational use, disposal and preservation in the frame of a circular economy.

There is no other route to preserving endangered elements than efficient use, extensive recycling, and more sustainable lifestyles promoted by scientifically grounded information at all levels of society. To reach these objectives it is necessary to (i) promote more stringent and effective legislation at the European level on waste collection, treatment and recovery; (ii) support cooperation among industry and academia to make substantial progress in the science and technology of element recovery in end-of-life devices; (iii) expand the information provided to consumers on the content of any commercial item, in order to facilitate society awareness and make disassembling and recycling routine.

Tentative programme:

  • Welcome and setting the scene by Maria Spyraki, Member of the European Parliament
  • Chemistry welcome by Pilar Goya, EuChemS President
  • The EC list of Critical Raw Materials (EU policy)
  • Critical elements and the transition to electric mobility, Nicola Armaroli, Italian National Research Council (CNR)
  • The use of alternative fuels as a key strategy to address the European Green Deal, Nicolas Moussiopoulos, Aristotle University Thessaloniki (AUTh)
  • Phosphorus, an essential element to feed the world, Eva Hey-Hawkins, Leipzig University
  • The intensive use of critical elements in our connected world, Martin Bertau, University of Freiburg (to be confirmed)
  • Urban mining and the recycling of E-Waste, Christian Hagelüken, Umicore (to be confirmed)
  • Horizon Europe: critical elements and circular economy in the next framework programme
  • 3R education – is it our job?, Iwona Maciejowska, Jagiellonian University
  • Q&A
  • Conclusion by Maria Spyraki, MEP


Maria Spyraki, MEP

The CV of MEP Maria Spyraki is available on the European Parliament website.

You can take a look at it here.



Pilar Goya, EuChemS President

Pilar Goya Laza is research professor of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) at the Instituto de Química Médica of which she was the Director from 2005 to 2011. Vice President of the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry (RSEQ) until 2013, she is currently the Vice President of the Spanish Society of Medicinal Chemistry (SEQT). She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Universidad Complutense Madrid and was a postdoctoral Humboldt fellow in Konstanz, Germany, under Prof W. Pfleiderer´s supervision. From 1991 till 1996 she was Head of International Affairs of CSIC, she was a member of the Core Group of PESC (Physical and Engineering Sciences Committee) of the European Science Foundation, ESF, and Chair of the Chemistry Committee of the Marie Curie Fellowships of the EU.

Her research deals with different aspects of medicinal chemistry and drug design and is currently focused on cannabinoids and PPAR ligands targeting the SNC and obesity. She has published over 150 scientific papers, 12 international patents, and has directed 10 Ph.D. theses. As a former member of the Ethics Committee of the CSIC, she is interested in research integrity issues and good scientific practices and is active in reaching out to the general public has recently published a popular book on “Pain”.

Nicola Armaroli, Italian National Research Council (CNR)

Nicola Armaroli got the Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences in 1994 at the University of Bologna. Since 2007 he has been Research Director at CNR, the Italian National Research Council. He is member of the Italian National Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC). Within EuChemS, he is the former chairman of the Working Party on Chemistry and Energy and has served as EuChemS representative on several occasions such as the overseas Circular Economy Missions of the European Commission. He serves as associate editor of Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences (RSC), member of the Editorial Board of Chemistry-A European Journal (Wiley-VCH) and Polyhedron (Elsevier Science) as well as director of Sapere, the first Italian science periodical, established in 1935.

His scientific activity is concerned with ​photochemistry and photophysics​, in particular luminescent materials and systems for the conversion of light into electricity and fuels. He also studies the transition of the global energy system towards more sustainable models, also in relation to climate change and scarcity of natural resources. He has published over 220 scientific papers and several books on the subject of energy.

Nicola Armaroli has given invited lectures at international conferences, universities and research centers worldwide and has run international projects as CNR principal investigator or coordinator in the frame of several programmes funded by the European Commission. He is also an active consultant and science communicator for the general public on the issues of energy, natural resources, and environment, also through interviews and contributions on mass media.

He was awarded the Grammaticakis-Neumann International Prize in Photochemistry, the Premio Letterario Galileo for science dissemination, the Gold Medal Enzo Tiezzi of the Italian Chemical Society and the Ravani-Pellati Chemistry Prize of the Turin Academy of Sciences.

Nicolas Moussiopoulos, Aristotle University Thessaloniki (AUTh)

Nicolas Moussiopoulos is since 1989 a Full Professor at the School of Mechanical Engineering of the Aristotle University Thessaloniki (AUTh) and the Head of this University’s Laboratory of Heat Transfer and Environmental Engineering. He served as the Dean of AUTh’s Faculty of Engineering (2006-2010) and as the Vice President of the International Hellenic University (2010-2016). Since July 2018 he is an elected Scientific Council member of the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation.

Professor Moussiopoulos is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. In 2002 he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. His research work addresses several issues in the broad field of energy and the environment. In the last 30 years he participated in numerous competitive, mostly EU funded research projects with a total budget exceeding 20 million €. He supervised 42 PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers in Greece and five other countries and is the author of more than 900 scientific publications, including more than 220 papers in peer-reviewed journals (approx.. 8400 citations, h-index: 46).

Iwona Maciejowska, Jagiellonian University

Dr Iwona Maciejowska is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Chemical Education at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Iwona Maciejowska teaches students of chemistry and environmental sciences study programmes, among others the course “Sustainable development and civilisation threats” and “Good chemistry – methodological, ethical and social dimensions”. I. Maciejowska is editor, author and co-author of books (15), papers (over 100) and courses for chemistry teachers and academic teaching staff e.g. MOOC on Coursera platform “Teaching in university science laboratories. Developing good practice” . She is also co-editor of Chemistry Teacher International journal, initiator of the European Variety in University Chemistry Education conference.

Iwona Maciejowska was the head of Teaching Excellence Center (2011 – 2014) and the Chair of Division of Chemical Education of EuCheMS (2014-2019).

Some of her publications relevant for this talk:

  • Huber, H. S., Maciejowska, I. (2017) Project Based learning In Higher Education: From Theory to Practice [in:] Innovative Teaching Strategies and Methods Promoting Lifelong Learning in Higher Education, H.E. Vidergor & O. Sela (eds.) , nova science publisher, New York, 115-130
  • I.Maciejowska, Responsible Research and Innovation – How to Develop RRI Awareness Among Young People? European Projects Proposals and Their Results, Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis. Studia ad Didacticam Biologiae Pertinentia, vol. 215, 2016, 98-111;
  • A Guidebook of Good Practice for Pre-Service Training of Chemistry Teachers (2015). eds. I. Maciejowska & B. Byers, Krakow

Page last updated: 22.09.2020