A Year to Remember
It is unbelievable that we are already approaching the end of the year and that seven months of ReSoURCE have passed. In the challenging environment we are currently facing it feels like time is flying even faster. Anyways, I would like to take a moment to recap 2022 from my perspective.
I will never forget how 2021 ended, when we got the notification that ReSoURCE has been selected to go on for the grant preparation. What a success, what a satisfaction that the hard work of so many people has paid off and that we will be in a position to make a change in our industry. On the other hand, after the first phase dominated by feelings of happiness, one is also realizing that things are getting serious now. Simply think of the involved amount of money we will receive from EU. That’s not money coming from the printing machine, that is money coming from taxpayers like you and me. So, there is a certain burden to ensure the responsible use of it to be highest priority.
Believe me, at this stage you don’t want to make any mistake putting the project on risk. This is my first technical lead in a Horizon project and so it is for Saranya as the project coordinator. To put in positive terms, we had the chance to approach the next steps in an unbiased manner 😉. We were well aware that the project is only dry and cut when the grant agreement is finally signed by the European Commission. And getting to this stage might take a couple of months. Luckily, we were assigned to our extremely experienced and helpful project officer Susana Xará who navigated us patiently through the process. Very soon we realized that you could communicate very openly with the responsible from EU which made us feel much more comfortable and took some pressure from our shoulders. After finalizing the next steps, such as several technical and financial reviews, preparing the consortium agreement, finding a way to keep on going with our UK partner, the prepared grant agreement was eventually sent for signature in April. Of course, there is some complexity in the preparation in such a big project, however, today I can say that this is manageable also for newbies if you have a great team like ours.
And then things moved on quickly. Sooner than expected the GA was signed by all authorities in May, allowing for a project start in beginning of June already. So, time for the kick-off meeting! This event had a very special meaning to me, it was the first physical meeting with most of the team, since Covid forced us to communicate virtually only. Another highlight was that our CEO Stefan Borgas was acknowledging the project by finding a time slot in his busy calendar to physically give a motivational speech to the consortium gathered in Leoben. The socializing events in the evenings made me understand even more what a diverse, smart, and approachable team we have, so the project was really due to start now.
I am not going to talk too much about the technical content here, because I hope you had the chance to the read all the nice blog posts of the real experts of the different tasks here already. However, the fact that we have so far achieved all the initially planned tasks and deliverables speaks for itself. You must know, according to my experience with other research projects this is something which I certainly don’t take for granted. I can only explain that by the extremely committed and professional ReSoURCE team. Being reunited in the month six meeting in Aachen definitely strengthened this perception.
Overall, it was a very exciting year for me, getting father again, changing my position in the company and finally taking my first lead in a Horizon project. Managing all these tasks demands a great team in truly every area of life.
I hope you will all have an enjoyable time with your loved ones, I think it is pretty clear that they are the actual backbone of all our successes.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Dr. Alexander Leitner studied Material Science at the MOntanuniveristät Leoben, focussing on the field of micromechanics and material physics. He joined RHI Magnesita’s Strategic Project and Innovation Team in 2019 and recently joined the business unit Recycling in the field of Recycling Innovation and Technology.