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April 2021 – RIC Leoben joined the Green Tech Jam

At this year’s online Green Tech Jam, the solution of the challenge “Circular Economy meets Distributed Ledger – a transparent PET bottle product cycle” set by the Montanuniversität Leoben (involved institutes: Resources Innovation Center & Industrial Logistics), which was developed by an interdisciplinary team of students, won the first place. The team “sixpack” was supervised by the Chair of Industrial Logistics during the 24-hour challenge and consisted of three Slovenian students from Graz University of Technology as well as three Montan students. They were able to prevail against 7 other teams, each of which worked on one of 6 different challenges provided by the companies t-matix, BDI, Komptech and AI.engineer as well as the Climate and Energy Fund, and us.

In the Android app developed by the team “sixpack”, QR codes attached to bottles can be scanned and information about the bottles retrieved from the distributed data storage. The path of the bottle – from PET production to the supermarket – is displayed graphically on a map and unconventional energy comparisons with more or less everyday activities (e.g. the duration of headbanging during a concert) are carried out and visualised.

At the interdisciplinary Hackathon under the slogan “Code & Concept for a greener future” organised by the Green Tech Cluster Austria together with the Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA) and Graz University of Technology,8 teams of students from different disciplines and different european universities had around 24 hours to work on a problem relating to the topics of climate and the environment and to present a digital solution for it. In total 36 international students participated at this event. The MUL challenge also competed as part of one of two Climathon challenges at the Green Tech Jam. Climathon is a global climate hackathon under the umbrella of EIT Climate-KIC.

More information about the whole event can be found at https://www.greentech.at/nachlese-green-tech-jam/

March 2021 – Minerals used in everyday objects

The game of “The Briefcase of mineral applications” aims to familiarise the player with the minerals that are used in the manufacture of everyday objects. The specific target audience are primary and secondary schools which include from 6 to 18-year-old students and their teachers. The project is orientated for Wider Society Learning (WSL) and aims to raise students’ knowledge of mining activities and mineral applications. Given the era of a growing prevalence of online teaching and learning, we believe tools such as this one will prove to be effective and beneficial for the education of young people by using both their native and the English language.

Try it our here: https://www.thebriefcasegame.eu/home

January 2021 – Investment opportunities in raw materials in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This brochure has been created in the framework of the project InvestRawMaterials – Multifactor model for investments in the raw materialsector, case study Bosnia and Herzegovina, funded by European Instituteof Innovation and Technology (EIT) under the KIC Raw Materials program. In this brochure, we present you the outcome of the devoted work of theentire project consortium from 2017 to 2019. Here you will be able tofind the summary of the most relevant economic and legal data pertaining to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as geological data on 14 carefullyselected antimony, bauxite, fluorite and magnesite deposits. We hopethis brochure will find its way to interested parties and fulfill its purposeas a guide to the investors in this prospective, but insufficiently investigated area.

Download the brochure here

Project overview

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!

September 2020 – RM@School teaser video

We proudly present our new teaser video for RM@Schools. RM@Schools is a Wider Society Learning project funded by the EIT, focused on an innovative program to make science education and careers in RM attractive for youngsters. An active learning approach will be proposed to schools through RM Ambassadors by involving students in experiments with RM-related hands-on and digital educational toolkits, in excursions to industries, and in science dissemination activities. Apply here

July 2020 – Become a part of the EnAct-SDGs Network

The EnAct-SDGs project aims to create a dynamic network of universities, research institutes, industry and professionals to develop a roadmap to a modernised education. The project aims to promote innovation and new skills for sustainable development among the East and Southeast Europe (ESEE) university graduates and raw materials professionals.

The EnAct-SDGs project is looking for stakeholders from the Raw Materials Knowledge Triangle, primarily from the RIS eligible countries, that would like to join the EnAct-SDGs network and actively participate in the project’s activities.

Find the Call here: EnAct-SDGs website

July 2020 – The Journey summer school moves on

The Climate-KIC The Journey Summer School is Europe’s largest climate innovation summer school for graduates and young professionals. The Journey is usually a 4-week full time programme. Participants visit 3 of the 25 locations involved around Europe, focused on climate action, innovation, systems transformation and community building.

This year “The Journey” was held online with a multi-channel setup and a hands-on toolkit provided to every participant.

As we finish our second week of this year’s “The Journey” we would like to say goodbye to our dear participants. We hope to welcome you in Leoben in person soon!

September 2020 – EnActSDG´s Summer School

EnActSDG´s Summer school is a three days hands-on webinar on Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the Raw Materials industry. The programme is driven by the sustainability development goals and circular economy principles. Students will tackle on challenges proposed by the Industry to generate new business ideas and improve existing solutions; they will acquire new skills, learn to use new tools and develop a new mindset that will help building up their careers as innovation professionals.
The programme curriculum is provided by TU Freiberg, Montanuniversität Leoben, University of Trento and Hub Innovation Trentino, partners of ENACT project.
In this Pilot School students from TUKE, AGH and NTUA will participate as well as other students from the ESEE region.

Apply here

RIC Leoben Booklet 2020

We put a lot of effort into creating a booklet for our partners and for new interested parties. We wanted to distribute it this year but here we are with travel restrictions and lots of online meetings. Nevertheless you can view it online! Enjoy, All the best from the RIC Leoben Team

July 2020 – SafeDeepMining

We are proud to see a publication in the International Mining magazine about our SafeDeepMining project. Visit http://www.safedeepmining.eu/ for course information and keep up the good work!

April 2020 – EnActSDGs

Within the project “EnActSDGs” we aim at enhancing the skills of students in order to achieve the sustainability goals in the raw materials sector in Austria and internationally – but especially in the ESEE regions (East and South East Europe). To achieve this goal, we need you and your opinion as an expert. Therefore we ask you to answer a short survey.
Of course, your data will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and evaluated anonymously.
Your opinion can be a significant contribution to an even higher quality education and thus to quality improvement for the entire raw materials sector. In addition, there is also the possibility of making the company more publicly effective as well as accessible to students, for example with lectures, internships, financed industrial projects or financed projects in basic research.

You can find more information on the EnAct-SDGs website. If you wish you can subscribe to the EnAct-SDGs newsletter to receive news and updates on the project and invitations to participate in our activities.

April 2020 – ESEE Education Initiative und Working Group

RIC Leoben successfully applied to join the Working Group when it was first established in 2018. This year marked the beginning of the drafting of an ESEE Education Concept Note, which was finished in 2019. The document shows the groups vision about creating impact on the innovativeness of the ESEE region through the development of raw material related education. Subsequently, an ESEE Education Initiative was created and consolidated projects where planned and executed according to the ESEE Education Concept Note. The team work and networking accomplished through the participation of the Regional Center Leoben was very successful in terms of achievements within the Group’s objectives as well as generally. For example, new cooperation was established and successful project proposals submitted. In 2020 the Working Group was renewed and RIC Leoben successfully reapplied. We are looking forward to a prolonged fruitful cooperation.

March 2020 – 2nd Workshop on CO2-Emission Accounting

On 3rd March 2020 a workshop on CO2-emission accounting took place at TU Graz. RIC Leoben participated in the workshop, which was part of a project developed within the Alliance for Sustainable Universities. The workshop offered insights to how the CO2-emission accounting tool ClimCalc works and provided a useful discussion forum on data collection for the university representatives.

March 2020 – Alliance of Sustainable Universities

On 6th March 2020 the 27th meeting of the Alliance of Sustainable Universities Austria took place at the WU Vienna. RIC Leoben was represented by Anna Meyer, responsible for the Alliance at MUL. She presented RIC’s recent activities and plans on the topic of sustainability at Montanuniversität Leoben. The meeting provided the frame for a lively exchange of ideas and initiatives from alliance members and a fruitful discussion about the universities’ responsibility and role as a pioneer in the sustainability agenda. A presentation of the Paris Lodron Universities’ Green WG Challenges (https://uni-salzburg.ac.at/index.php?id=209998), which provides students with challenges on the topic of living a sustainable live ended the meeting on a positive note.

March 2020 – #RawMaterialsTransition

How to increase Austria’s future perspectives through a new raw material strategy?

On 4th March 2020 the Working Group on Raw Materials, an association of Austrian NGOs, invited relevant stakeholders and the public to discuss the new raw materials strategy. Last year the Austrian government decided on the drafting of an “integrated Austrian raw materials strategy”. The present strategy is mainly based on the security of supply of the Austrian economy. However, the new and integrated strategy should include ecological and social aspects as well as use circular economy as a guiding framework. The planned renewal of the strategy will be done through a participative process, which is highly welcomed by the NGOs. To start the dialogue, the Group invited representatives from regions all over the world in order to hear their experiences concerning regional raw material exploitation and use as well as the connected consequences. The event ended with a discussion on the podium on the question of the next necessary political steps for a new integrated raw material strategy.

Innovation Incubator

The KAVA project Innovation Incubator: Potential for Local Ecosystem Inno-Centres in ESEE Region has opened a call for 2 RIS Task Partners. More information and conditions are available on the call text.
The call was announced on 11th of February 2020 and the application form (RIS Task Partner Application Form) must be submitted to ina-maria.wegscheider@unileoben.ac.at by 5th of March 2020, 23:59 CET.

Annex I Annex II

January 2020 – Expert Forum: Digitalisation in the Raw Materials Sector

The Expert Forum on digitalization in the Raw Materials Sector, organised by EIT RawMaterials with Montanunversität Leoben and supported by KGHM Cuprum, gathered over 100 stakeholders, from policymakers, industry, research and higher education partners to start-up entrepreneurs and students, to discuss the latest digital trends in the sector. We see digitalisation as a key enabler in the transition to sustainable development. Data and smart digital solutions are essential to optimise and re-invent processes along the entire value chain, as well as act as a link and conduit with all stakeholders, from industry to NGO, from university to wider society.

November 2019 – Raw Materials Week

The fourth edition of the EU “Raw Materials Week” took place from Monday 18 to Friday 22 November 2019, in Brussels.

It builds up on a series of events organised by the European Commission addressing the latest news on raw materials in the EU.

It was a unique opportunity for the raw materials community to discuss and exchange on all relevant issues: policy, technology, international cooperation, framework conditions, knowledge base etc.

Click Read More to watch the video of the 2019 Raw Materials Week

Become a certified Trainer for the EIT RawMaterials – Professional School!

Are you an expert? Then shape the future of your field of expertise and become a certified trainer for the EIT innovation community “RawMaterials”! Get your ideas off the ground and infuse the industry with your innovations. If you already are a lecturer or trainer or you have valuable knowledge that needs to be taught to a wider audience of industry representatives or researchers, we provide the framework for your teaching ideas and make you part of our innovation community. We need your ideas for the courses of tomorrow! In our 2nd call we invite you to provide your training ideas on the focus topics of „Sustainable Minerals“ and „Metal Processing“! Your ideas for other topics for short courses are also very welcome. -Register here

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