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taken by companies. I would like to see more large companies becoming

involved, not just small spin-offs, and for them to take action in targeting

specific applications. It would also be great to see well-funded research

programmes that put graphene in the production line for their particular

application area.”

In addition to the Graphene Flagship, Ferrari says that the EU’s latest

framework programme for research and innovation should also deliver

additional opportunities for research on graphene: “Graphene and related

two-dimensional materials should still be funded outside the flagship, in

other Horizon 2020 calls. Currently this seems to be the case; for

example, if there is a call on photonics, one could submit a proposal

exploiting graphene for this area of research, and similarly if there is a

call in new materials or even biology, and so on.”

Positive appraisal

In March, the European Commission published the results of the first

annual review of the Graphene Flagship. Undertaken by 14

independent experts in Brussels during January, the project received

a positive evaluation for the work it had completed so far. The

evaluators judged the flagship to have “made good progress towards

the objectives described in the Description of Work”, in addition to

“giving worldwide visibility to the EU investments in graphene”. The

evaluators also noted that the project was “enabling new

collaborations” and “increasing the awareness … about applications

of graphene and its benefits for society”.

Portal asked Ferrari about his thoughts on the evaluation and he said

that it was indeed an inspirational lift to the project: “The assessment

was fair and useful. The reviewers did not complain, the EU did not

complain – in fact, we were praised quite a bit. There are two flagships

Ferrari believes that if the EU had not chosen

graphene in 2013, this would have dealt a

“major blow, an almost fatal blow”, to the long

term development of two-dimensional materials

in Europe and worldwide. “Yet the

announcement to fund graphene has leveraged

a large amount of other funding both inside and

outside the EU, especially in Asia,” he said,

adding: “The UK has put a lot of resources into

graphene, in Manchester, Cambridge, etc. I

think the next major step really requires

industry to take a lead.”

EU funding

During his keynote to delegates, Ferrari

outlined how the apparently large EU

graphene funding was in fact not a major

amount when compared to the funds spent

to develop other technological areas, for

example microelectronics.

“It’s unfair to criticise what the EU has done for

graphene, because in relative terms, relative to

other materials or material research funding,

the funding given to graphene is really

significant. Yet, compared to the typical

semiconductor industry investments, this is a

relatively small amount.

“The EU and the governments have taken the

first big step, and now the next step should be

www.horizon2020projects.com

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

21

S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : M AT E R I A L S

The Graphene Project

received a positive

first annual review

following an

assessment by

impartial experts