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The Resources Innovation Center at Montanuniversität Leoben is home to the university’s international partnerships in the areas of sustainable science, education and industrialization. Our vision is to make a climate friendly, sustainable future in the raw materials sector.


European Research and Innovation Days

22-24/09/2020

Brussels Expo

Bringing stakeholders together to shape future research and innovation policy European Research and Innovation Days is the European Commission’s annual flagship event, bringing together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and citizens to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond. Why attend The 2020 edition will gather broad input from participants on how research and innovation policy and funding can deliver on the European Green Deal, digitalisation and other priorities. Building on the success of last year’s edition, the 2020 event will feature three days of intensive policy co-designing, thought-provoking panels and matchmaking opportunities. In a crucial year, just ahead of the launch of Horizon Europe, the next Research & Innovation programme starting in 2021, and an enhanced European Research Area, this event is a unique chance to discuss how research and innovation will benefit the future of Europe. Bringing science to you Want to see some science in action? Bring your friends, family, classmates and teachers and join us at Science is Wonderful! – a free exhibition that brings the world of science to the public – showcasing groundbreaking science through hands-on experiments, live demonstrations and chats with European and international researchers. The event will take place at Brussels Expo on 22-24 September 2020.

September 2020 – European Raw Materials Alliance kickoff meeting

Peter Moser (Vice-rector of Montanuniversität Leoben was invited to the European Raw Materials Alliance kickoff meeting to give the commitee members a perspective from a research point of view:

“The European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) is the first action of the Critical Raw Materials Action Plan of the European Commission. Research and development can play a vital role in the implementation of this by developing the necessary knowledge and theoretical frameworks that the approaches are based on, such as we have done in the past, like design of value chains, material efficiency of final products, etc. This initiative is highly appreciated and needed, however, systemically it is clear that in the future this alliance must expand its scope beyond building resilience for only value chains of specific materials. Society is undergoing a massive transformation currently, a transformation that needs to be successful for future generations to be able to meet their needs and live in favourable ecological conditions. This means that we cannot tackle challenges in our old conventional ways but that we need to transform our systems. Innovative technologies and change of human behaviour are the basis for meeting the ambitious climate targets of the Green Deal and the implementation of the sustainable development goals. In the following I will address the necessary research and development needs as a pre-requisite for this transformation because the kind of challenges we are facing are entirely new and we need new flexible and systemic ways to react to them. On the one hand, we need to create the knowledge basis for innovative technologies, alternative societal systems and responsible human behaviour. On the other hand, we also need to address the transformative needs of the R&D system itself to be fit for tackling these societal challenges effectively. Successful R&D in this context grows in a suitable biotope that we have to form – a biotope that attracts the most talented and creative researchers and provides them with a working environment where enthusiasm and inspiration is promoted, and stronger than the frustration from the frequent lack of R&D resources and bureaucracy.

In a nutshell:

  • we urgently need more enthusiastic visionary people and
  • we need sufficient resources for researchers to work efficiently and effectively
  • we need simplicity and less bureaucracy

In terms of people it is necessary that education and research work closely and in synergy so that our long-term human capacity needs are met. In terms of funding it is essential to provide stable and long-term funding frameworks to promote effective and visionary R&D environments. In terms of simplicity and low bureaucracy it is important to rethink how funding frameworks work. It is crucial to have uniform, simple and aligned rules across different frameworks.

The three ingredients for creating a suitable R&D biotope itself are:

  • First: The acknowledgement, awareness and conception that R&D is a solution provider for meeting the ambitious climate targets. This means that industry needs to be committed on a much higher level in the future to participate in R&D and long-term invest in it. Furthermore, we need to promote the image of the researcher as an indispensable puzzle piece of today’s challenges.
  • Second: The acknowledgement, awareness and conception that economic growth has planetary boundaries and that new technologies and societal systems build the basis for what we call resources and impact de-coupling, as conceptualized in the SDGs. We need to directly link the question of raw materials production to the question of raw materials consumption. Therefore, we have to evaluate the value of technologies not only from an economic perspective but also from an ecologic point of view. This takes systemic approaches which is only possible through massive interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Third: The acknowledgement, awareness and conception that we need to adapt and transform our R&D approaches and systems to make them more flexible and stable and thus fit for the challenges we are tackling.

In such type of new approaches and systems we have to implement much more the idea of short-term path finder projects, which upon success are followed by long term initiatives. A good first example in this direction is the European University initiative where a three-year starting period is followed by a long-term period of 10plus years of fixed financing, an approach that really promotes depth and excellence.

In conclusion, the societal transformation can be achieved on the basis of

  • a visionary research agenda,
  • enthusiastic and innovative researchers,
  • a supportive organisational research framework and
  • collaboration across sectors.”

Find the ERMA Agenda here

Sustainable Carbon Supply and Energy Mining

Sustainable Carbon Supply and Energy Mining based on Methane decomposition is seen as a major contribution to a future carbon footprint reduction while maintaining a sustainable supply with raw materials and green energy. Natural gas is the fossil fuel containing the least impurities with an estimated global resource of around 800 trillion m³. Although the composition of natural gas can vary to some extent, its primary component is methane, CH4. By endothermic decomposition (methane pyrolysis) methane can be split into its components carbon  and hydrogen (H2) where especially hydrogen is of interest as a future alternative for various industrial applications. Additionally, there is a high potential for various large-scale applications of carbon, especially in construction and agriculture, if the carbon is available at a lower price than from presently available resources.

Find out more here!

Dipl.-Ing. Hanno Bertignoll

End of March 2018, Hanno Bertignoll started as Project Manager at the RIC Leoben. His activities include coordination, application and development of EIT RM projects, as well as projects covering other raw material relevant topics. He serves as the interface between the RIC Leoben, the university institutes and the EIT RM, and networks to connect relevant partners. Additionally, he acively supports selected projects as project expert. He also is involved in organizing workshops, project meetings and other networking events. Hanno is a graduated mining engineer from Montanuniversitaet Leoben. He has long-time industry experience, working in various roles in business development, sales and marketing for a mining equipment supplier in Zeltweg/Austria. After that, he worked two years as marketing manager for a recycling equipment manufacturer.

At a glance

investRM

Multifactor model for investments in the raw material sector

After a decade of declining commodity prices, negative investment trends, debated mining legislation and increased overall risks, mining companies are struggling to survive searching for new sustainable investment options. The InvestRM project will create a decision-making tool for raw materials companies and investors, mining institutes, technical universities, geological surveys, non-governmental association, B&H government and state institutions in order to facilitate investment in the raw material sector. Project is focused on Bosnia and Herzegovina due to its critical raw materials potential, but will be fully transferable to other East and Southeast European (ESEE) countries. The project will deliver structured country data (entity based) together with relevant and validated geo-information on 120 critical raw materials deposits and occurrences within B&H: antimony, bauxite (as potential source of rare earth elements – REE), fluorite and magnesite. One of the special tasks is establishment of constructive dialogue with minimum 40 B&H SMEs and large companies throughout Banja Luka, Prijedor, Tuzla and Zenica, info-days in order to tailor the InvestRM
decision making tool.

01/2018 – 03/2021
EIT RawMaterials – Regional Innovation Scheme

Montanuniversität Leoben (Partner), Mining Institute Banja Luka, University of Zagreb, Geological Survey of Slovenia

Chair of Mining Engineering and Mineral Economics – Nikolaus Sifferlinger
Total: € 300.948
Montanuniversität Leoben: € 29.770