23 April 2024

Network of 450 scientists and industry leaders from around world meet in Switzerland — to drive decarbonisation of world’s most used man-made product

  • “Innovation, collaboration and research are all vital to helping industry decarbonise”
  • Researchers from more than 40 of world’s leading universities attending, along with business leaders from global manufacturers
  • New online research library, launched by GCCA, to provide transparent tracking of research progress

Leading academics and industry players from around the world are gathering in Lausanne, in Switzerland, to drive forward critical research into making concrete, the world’s most used human-made material, net zero.

They are taking part in the Innovandi Global Cement and Concrete Research Network (GCCRN) annual gathering. The network brings 450 researchers and scientists from more than 40 world leading universities and academic institutions, together with business-leaders from some of the industry’s top manufacturers and suppliers.  They are collaborating on critical research and initiatives focused on achieving net zero concrete, in line with the GCCA’s 2050 Roadmap.

Universities attending include the renowned EPFL in Lausanne, which is hosting the event, researchers from South East University and Wuhan University in China, University of Toronto, Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, University of Cape Town, Imperial College London and University of São Paulo.

Claude Loréa, Cement, Innovation and ESG Director at the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), said: “Innovation, collaboration and research are all vital to helping our industry decarbonise, in line with the GCCA’s Net Zero Roadmap. And our Spring Week gathering – our biggest yet – provides the key opportunity for our industrial and academic partners to meet face-to-face with PhD students, Postdocs and researchers from all over the world. This amazing global community is coming together with one focus in mind – to decarbonise the world’s essential building material, concrete.”

Concrete is vital for modern infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, bridges, tunnels, roads and so much more, but it currently accounts for 7% of the world’s CO2 emissions. That’s why its leading manufactures recently came together to commit to decarbonising this essential material.

Dr. Davide Zampini is Vice President of Global Research and Development at CEMEX, and the GCCRN’s Industrial Chair. He said: “If we are to reach our goal of net zero concrete by 2050, then we cannot do so alone. We need to explore as well as harness solutions and collaboration well beyond our industry. That’s why Spring Week is so important.”

During Spring Week, attendees will exchange ideas, conduct workshops, review progress and discuss next steps for ongoing and future research.

Karen Scrivener is the GCCRN’s Scientific Chair, and Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Construction Materials at the EPFL in Lausanne, which is hosting the week. She said: “Everyone here at EPFL is proud to be hosting this year’s Spring Week, anticipated as our largest gathering yet, marking a significant milestone in our journey toward net zero research.”

Research topics which will be discussed during the week, include: the use of AI in decarbonisation; new materials and processes for manufacturing cement, including sourcing and improving the use of alternatives to clinker (the most carbon intensive element of the manufacturing process), as well as further development on the use of calcined clays; concrete recycling; the use of renewable energy and kiln electrification; and further development of carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).

To coincide with the Spring Week gathering, the GCCA has also launched a new online library of Innovandi GCCRN projects, to provide transparent tracking of research progress, which can be accessed here:

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Paul Adeleke

Communications and Policy Director