Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 76

I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
76
G R A P H E N E R E S E A R C H
We have two new institutes in Manchester that are focused on the
material – the National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering
Innovation Centre.The NGI opened in spring this year and focuses on
research and developing proof of concept in collaboration with private
companies. If the proof of concept proves successful, and a scale up is
agreed, then the product will move into more commercial lines at the
GEIC, which should open in 2017; the GEIC is really for scaling up and
developing a real commercial product.
In terms of the EU, the Graphene Flagship has a major role to play. Europe
is obviously very interested in developing graphene-based products, and
the EU’s €1bn Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship has
allowed different institutions in Europe to work in joint projects as it is
divided into work packages, each with a certain number of European
institutions involved with them. The Graphene Flagship encourages
scientists to undertake research, and we really have now reached the
critical mass to do research on the material and collaborate in Europe
on these projects.
Good progress has already been made, and it really provides a good
opportunity for collaboration between different European institutions. The
work packages also assist with this and cover different research topics
in graphene, from energy to composites to optoelectronics. There is also
a work package on fundamentals and new materials beyond graphene.
The FET Flagship is not focused on a particular topic but is open to
different fields, and we will soon see which work packages are more
successful and of course invest more money into such areas.
How would you like to see the
Graphene Flagship develop?
My impression is that, at the European level,
there is a lot of funding going to graphene, with
the Graphene Flagship being a major source,
as well as wider Horizon 2020. One particular
area I would like to see more progress made
in is assistance for young investigators. They
could receive better support from the flagship
as it is difficult for someone who is trying to
establish themselves as a researcher to
become part of the flagship.
It would be great to launch specific calls at the
European level for young investigators, possibly
in co-operation with the Graphene Flagship. I
have given this feedback to the flagship already.
Another change could be encouraging more
countries to become involved. Such decisions
are taken at a national level; for example, there
was a recent call from the Graphene Flagship
focusing on networks. The UK was not involved
in this call, because the country had decided not
to be a partner – some countries say yes, they
would like to participate, whilst others say no.
Such a decision makes it difficult for researchers
in the UK to become involved and collaborate
The University of
Manchester is home to
the UK’s National
Graphene Institute
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