International Round Table on Materials Criticality in Business Practice

The International Round Table on Materials Criticality, IRTC (www.irtc.info), is an internationalization project funded by EIT Raw Materials whose first phase ran from April 2018 to March 2020 and has now entered its second phase. IRTC-Business continues and implements the work of IRTC. It is an international network of experts in critical raw materials who work on definitions and assessments regarding which materials are or will be critical in the future. Because “criticality” depends on the perspective – e.g., how scarce a material is in one’s own region, or how much of it is needed in an economy or a technological sector – these approaches differ, and industries often do not know in which regard criticality might affect their company. IRTC-Business organizes international expert meetings and publishes guidance documents on this topic and will support companies in know more about which materials are critical for them, and how they can manage their use of these materials.

In its first phase, the project aimed at advancing criticality assessment on a global level. In four Round Table workshops and a joint publication, research on differences and commonalities of different approaches on criticality as well as considerations about its implementation in industry and policy-making were fostered and advanced. Awareness towards materials criticality, and its crucial role for a circular economy, were raised by creating visibility at established conferences with a diverse audience and high impact in research and industry. It also laid the cornerstone for a long-lasting international network.

The IRTC project is coordinated by ESM Foundation, Switzerland. The proposal was submitted within the 2017 Call for Internationalization Projects at EIT Raw Materials and accepted for funding in 2018, 2019 and 2020.