The International Round Table on Materials Criticality or IRTC is an internationalization project funded by EIT Raw Materials whose first phase ran from April 2018 to March 2020. In this first phase of the project, it aimed at advancing criticality assessment on a global level. In four Round Table workshops and by the means of 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.
In its second phase, the project is continued as IRTC Business. The project will conduct Round Tables and publish their outcomes, with the goal of applying the concepts to company use. It will support industry in assessing its exposure to criticality issues and support decision-making, as well as identifying mitigation measures. A web-based tool developed by the project will support these actions. The project is advised by an industry focus group representing international expertise from relevant business sectors.
The objectives of IRTC Business are:
- to assess awareness and existing response mechanisms with regard to materials criticality in different industries,
- to identify existing needs and tools in industry to evaluate its individual risks and mitigation options,
- to establish best practices concerning how to assess criticality from specific business stakeholder perspectives,
- to support decision-making of companies regarding their exposure to materials criticality, and
- to provide guidance in the identification of suitable mitigation measures based on a criticality assessment’s outcome.
To achieve those objectives, the following activities are planned:
- continuation of the Round Table format developed in the first phase at relevant international conferences with a focus on industry participation and involvement,
- continuation of the publishing activities of the Consortium on current topics regarding criticality, especially in view of application in industry,
- establishment of an industry focus group representing companies of different nations, sizes, and relevant sectors,
- development of a decision tree model directed to developing a suitable system to assess individual exposure to criticality and indicators that serve as early-warning systems for companies (including a publication on “Practical guidance and good practices in resource criticality assessments”),
- development of a web tool that can be used by companies to inform their materials-related decisions,
- further research on the relationships between indicators and materials-related mitigation measures, and integration of the results in the decision model and tool.
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.