ERA-Min 2 - The ERA-NET on the topic of raw material efficiency

Humanity’s demand for raw materials is constantly growing. Therefore, research must be used to find innovative ways to provide raw materials efficiently and sustainably. The ERA-Net ERA-MIN 2is a joint initiative of 21 partners from 18 European and non-European coun-tries. To this end, it coordinates the promotion of raw materials research in Europe.

On 15 January 2021, the joint transnational funding announcement "EU co-funded ERA-MIN Joint Call 2021 – Raw Materials for Sustainable Development and the Circular Economy" was published. The funding announcement is open to joint projects of companies from the commercial economy, universities, and research institutions from different countries.

Raw materials are the foundation of our modern society. Major sectors with many jobs, such as construction, automotive, and energy, are highly dependent on raw materials. Moreover, a sufficient supply of raw materials is also essential for critical future technologies, such as electromobility, digitization, or renewable energies. However, raw materials are not unlimited. For example, they have to be extracted from great depths or are difficult to recover from complex products at the end of the use phase. The fact is, however, that a life without raw materials would be unthinkable!

Therefore, the key question is how to make raw materials available from different primary and secondary sources to sustain the growing demand for raw materials. The BMBF's funding programs have already provided numerous contributions to answer this question. The ERA-NET (European Research Area Network) ERA-MIN 2 forms the framework for coordinating national funding activities with a network of 21 partners from 18 European and non-European countries and regions. The ERA-NET is currently in its third phase (ERA-MIN3: 2020-2025) and builds on the previous ERA networks ERA-MIN 2 (2016-2022) and ERA-MIN (2011-2015).

The core of ERA-MIN's activities is organizing a European research program on raw material efficiency. Since 2013, several transnational funding announcements have already been published and implemented. The research program aims to improve the sustainable supply of metals, industrial and construction minerals through Europe-wide coordination of research activities. In all areas of value creation (extraction of raw materials, product design, production, use, recycling), impulses are to be given for the transformation of the traditional linear economy (production, use, disposal) into largely closed cycles.

On behalf of the BMBF Unit Resources, Circular Economy; Geoforschung (726), the Sustainability Division of Projektträger Jülich (PtJ) is responsible for the technical and administrative support of the ERA-Net ERA-MIN.

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