Raw materials are the basis of most industrial value chains. This is especially true for the industrial and metallic mining, construction, and related sectors. These industries are very important for our industrial, social, and technological progress in the European Union. A viable and responsible minerals and metals mining provides essential assets to our society’s sustainable development, and help us to promote innovation, growth, and a low-carbon, more circular economy.
The raw materials and mining sectors must undergo deep changes to adapt to current trends and technologies. Industrial modernisation and digitisation are not only keywords for big companies, but also for SMEs. However, in day to day business, small and medium enterprises might find it more difficult to invest in a greener and more digital future.
Collaborations with emerging industries can help SMEs in the raw materials and mining sectors create new value chains and integrate novel materials, techniques, and processes into their ecosystem. By cooperating with other enterprises that offer solutions related to circular economy, resource efficiency, advanced manufacturing, and/or ICT, they can boost their capabilities, competitiveness, and growth. At the same time, technology “providers” can benefit from new cross-sectoral approaches and ideas. The SMEs can integrate their solutions into new sectors and amplify their portfolios.
Therefore, MINE.THE.GAP aims to bring together technology providers and businesses in the mining industry to create new and improved value chains. Through MINE.THE.GAP, European SMEs can enter new collaborations to develop products, technologies, solutions, and services for the raw materials and mining sectors.
MINE.THE.GAP provides direct financial support to SMEs through innovation vouchers. For these vouchers, there are two competitive calls for strategic plan preparation, validation of ideas, proof of concept and demonstration activities. The expected TRLs for activities funded under the calls lie between TRL6-7 for proof-of-concept projects and TRL7-8 for demo activities.
Additionally, MINE.THE.GAP offers business support services for the selected projects to enhance innovation capacities, promote technology transfer and commercialisation, and boost internationalisation. These services support the creation of new businesses opportunities for European SMEs. They include:
- Technology surveillance
- Technology transfer
- Competitions and awards
- Training workshops
- Mentoring and coaching
- Incubation and acceleration support for IPR
- Brockerage events
- Mobility and exchange programmes
Through the direct financial and the business support, MINE.THE.GAP want to help tackle the current top 10 challenges and needs of the raw materials and mining value chain.