Birmingham research leads to greener and more productive EU

Taking a fresh look at how research and innovation can shape re-industrialisation across the European Union could boost economies, slash the emission of planet-warming greenhouse gases, and cut waste, a new study reveals.

University of Birmingham researchers predict that putting into practice the study’s policies could lead to a European GDP increase as high as 11% by 2030 and reduce by almost 50% the carbon dioxide emissions across mobility, food systems and the built environment.

Research also reveals that new jobs could be created across the EU in waste and recycling sectors, whilst reducing material consumption by 32%.

The Birmingham experts participated in the Futuring European Industry (FUTURING) project – a consortium of 12 European research organisations across Europe, which is is co-ordinated by the University of Patras, in Greece.

Principal Investigator Professor Duc Pham, from the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, commented: “Futuring’s results will guide the EU’s re-industrialization strategy to new heights - dramatically reducing C02 emissions and material waste, whilst increasing national GDPs and creating new jobs across the continent leading to a cleaner, greener and more productive EU.

“We are defining Europe’s re-industrialization strategy by focusing on the role of Research and Innovation with a range of factors, such as Economy, Society, Environment, Globalization and Geopolitics.”

FUTURING is based on a concept known as the ‘Circular Economy’ - a move away from traditional industrial models, which consume resources through a cycle of ‘take-make-dispose’. Circular Economy is designed to remove waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use and regenerate natural systems.

“We are talking about strategic planning activity that involves picturing possible outcomes, and planning for the future. FUTURING will identify sectors where Circular Economy could prove valuable and analyse potential for CE improvement, leading to proven policy recommendations for the EU,” said Professor Pham.

The EU-funded H2020 research project addressed the view that, by 2030, the problems of today will either continue or be replaced by similar or harder issues. Researchers have explored these challenges and will propose strategic actions that European Industry will need to take.

For interview enquiries, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)121 414 8254. For out of hours media enquiries, please call: +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked among the world's top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The FUTURING project has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
  • The consortium consists of:

o University of Patras, Greece
o Cotec Foundation, Italy
o European Factories of the Future Research Association, Belgium
o Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency, Belgium
o French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, France
o Festo AG & Co. KG, Germany
o Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation, Spain
o Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science, Portugal
o Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research
o Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation, Germany
o University of Birmingham
o Wroclaw University of Technology