Three questions for...

… Dr. Henri Rajbenbach,
Research Program Officer, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium

At the LOPEC Conference, you will discuss the eco-design of flexible and printed electronics. What role does this topic play in the EU research program?

Our last call for proposals on flexible and printed electronics has put forward eco-design principles at the core of the topic. This was new, but it was well understood by the stakeholders. For a topic that was called “plastic electronics” not so long ago, you must admit that this was a challenge! We have been overwhelmed with high quality proposals, all addressing eco-design aspects. Of course, it was not about covering the full spectrum of eco-design principle, from raw materials such as inks and substrates to product recycling. It was rather about quantifying specific contributions to some eco-design principles, facilitating the circular economy and sustainability, and contributing to the European Green Deal.

Which projects is the EU currently funding in the area of flexible and printed electronics?

The EU has funded many research projects since 2014. From the initial driving forces in lighting and photovoltaics, the portfolio has evolved, enriched with many projects on sensing, wearable and medical devices. More than 10 projects are currently running. But it is not only about research; the challenge of accessing flexible and printed electronic technologies has been an important concern, in particular for SMEs. This was covered by a couple of specific projects.

What do you expect and hope for from LOPEC?

I have attended the LOPEC trade fair in the past. Each time, I was impressed by the quality of the conferences and content of the exhibition, from manufacturing equipment to smart integrated components. I hope that this year will be an opportunity to enrich our knowledge, meet again in person and pave the route to a Green European success story in flexible and printed electronics.