SPIRE-SAIS: Skills Alliance for Industrial Symbiosis (SAIS) – A Cross-sectoral Blueprint for a Sustainable Process Industry (SPIRE) 

SPIRE-SAIS aims to develop a Blueprint and a sector overarching and ongoing Alliance for a European agenda and strategy concerning needed skills in energy-intensive industries related to cross-sectoral Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency. The Alliance will adjust these skills in a timely manner throughout the duration of the project and beyond; it will assist the wider implementation and exploitation of Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency across the energy intensive industrial sectors.


01.01.2020 - 31.12.2023


Steel, Water, Chemicals, Ceramics, Cement, Minerals, Non-ferrous Metals, Engineering, Pulp and Paper, and Refining.

Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom
Scope of the project

The project focuses on qualifications and skills for Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency, looks at 10 different sectors and involves about 40 different stakeholders, involved in SPIRE-SAIS as project or associated partners: companies, education and training providers, sectoral associations, trades unions, and civil society organisations. Through such a stakeholder collaboration, the most important skills for Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency have been identified. Strategies and tools for qualifications and recruitment for the different sectors will be developed, refined and further developed in the course of a rollout taking into consideration specific challenges in the individual sectors and member states.

  • Proactive identification of skill needs both in companies and in VET and higher education and training institutions
  • Identifying, developing and promoting successful industry strategies for recruitment and qualification
  • Creating a database of industrial occupations, specific roles in jobs and skills needs
  • Detecting measures to secure political support

Short description: The main objective of the project is to create a European agenda and strategy (Blueprint) and an Alliance for the energy-intensive industries to proactively address skill needs related to Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency. European and global industries are confronted with challenges stemming from economic, technological and business developments as well as increasing demands for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. This calls for respective updates of competence, knowledge and skill profiles of the workforce in a timely manner. SPIRE-SAIS involves a wide range of key stakeholders from the 10 sectors of the A.SPIRE partnership (www.spire2050.eu). Within this cooperation a common approach to cross-sectoral skills needs and challenges is provided, focusing in particular on the skills required for Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency. Concrete and practical strategies and training programmes (modules and tools) in light of the skills and recruiting needs of the industries will be developed. Building on the already existing A.SPIRE coordination, projects and activities, a cross-sectoral industrial symbiosis approach will be designed covering all 10 energy-intensive sectors and combining European, national and regional perspectives on industrial symbiosis.

Key findings

Skills Intelligence Hub and Training Platform: The Skills Intelligence Hub for Industrial Symbiosis (ISSI) and a European Industrial Symbiosis Training Community will be developed as the core coordination elements of SPIRE-SAIS. Results so far comprise: 

  • Technology and skills foresight via a survey "Industrial Symbiosis Technology and Skills Radar"
  • Repository of projects on technological and economic development and skill needs concerning Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency
  • Identification of cross-sectoral job profiles and skills for Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency
  • Training Framework including the different sector perspectives
  • A first European governance structure (Blueprint) comprising the following main elements:

Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency job profiles and skill demand: in order to identify - current and future - skills requirements, a detailed list of job profiles and demanded skills (see “Skills Classification”) related to Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency has been developed. On this basis, upskilling and reskilling trainings will be developed to meet actual skill needs.

Cross-sectoral job profiles and skills were identified based on literature review, quantitative data, and organisational flow charts. Therefore, the Skills Alliance and Strategy (so far) is based on cross-sectoral generic job profiles of production and functional areas, each represented by a managerial and operational function:

Skills Classification: In parallel and attuned with the selected job profiles, skill needs and competences relevant to Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency have been identified.

Integration, Alignment, Cooperation with European Structures: The SPIRE-SAIS Skills Alliance and Agenda is not planned as a stand-alone solution. Its strategy is led by an Open Coordination aligned with and support other European activities related to European Energy Intensive Industries, namely:

  • Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency and its recent activities, explicitly "Processes for Planet" (P4Planet), its Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda 2050, and its governance structures and working groups
  • The planned Coordinated Support Actions “European Community of Practice for Industrial-Urban Symbiosis and Regional Hubs for Circularity and Industrial Urban Symbiosis”
  • Central stakeholder groups (social partners, sector associations and unions, policymakers, education system players, etc.)
  • European networks and projects: e.g. the CircLean Network and Circle Economy, the INSIGHT training for establishing the profile/occupation of the Industrial Symbiosis Facilitator
  • European programmes: European Pact for Skills; European Skills, Competence, and Occupation Database (ESCO), and others.