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and are overcoming the barriers of having a lack of availability of the

material. There are many graphene producers, particularly in the UK,

making all different kinds of graphene; if you are a company that wants

to exploit graphene in 2015, you should not be worried too much about

supply. We now need to go to the next step, which will be the

development of some devices, before then moving towards

commercialisation.”

Concluding his time with Portal, Ferrari stressed how the Graphene

Flagship not only deals with graphene but also with all related layered

materials and hybrid systems: “There are over 500 other layered

materials. In the United States, there is sometimes a narrative of moving

beyond graphene and Europe is seen as still being in graphene, but this

is not the case; we are working on graphene and all other layered

materials and hybrids. Yet we keep graphene as the name because it is

easy to understand and people and the media know what we are

discussing. But we never mean only graphene; we always include other

two-dimensional materials as well.”

The Graphene Flagship has already received significant praise in its first

full year of operations, and the introduction of new work packages will

certainly help provide a leading edge in the development of both

graphene and other layered materials. The project will need to maintain

this course if it is to reap the successes that Europe desires.

The chairman added that citizens can also play

a greater role in innovation: “A society that

values technology and innovation is a society

where politicians, but also managers of

companies, are more confident in taking

decisions that involve these kinds of innovative

steps. I think citizens certainly play a key role

in these things.”

Global competition

Ferrari also drew attention to the fact that,

whilst Europe has many start-ups involved in

graphene, the continent would need more

major, leading firms taking a significant role, a

gap that Asia in particular is filling.

“There are a lot of small start-ups, Europe is

full of them. Yet what we lack are several big

industrial players, like Samsung in South Korea,

with the same spirit of entrepreneurship as a

small start-up, but at the same time able to put

a large investment in a new material or new

device. We are grateful that major EU

companies such as Nokia have supported the

flagship since the very beginning. We hope

more will now join the effort.

“This may be a general indication of how

European industry is changing. If we keep

cutting long term investment in research, we

are heading for a really difficult period – if we

look to 30 or 50 years from now, where will the

innovation be done?

“A lot of manufacturing is already being

moved to Asia, whilst a lot of innovation is still

being done in Europe. What is now happening

is that innovation, what is needed to bridge

the so-called ‘valley of death’, is being

undertaken more and more in Asia, and

Europe only begins to play a role later in the

game (though the basic science is still done

in Europe). This trend may become a long

term problem for the entire EU.”

Graphene development

Ferrari then discussed with Portal the

development of a value chain and the

movement towards creating graphene

products: “You need to build a value chain,

and the value chain starts by having the

material. We are now in a good situation

where we have a lot of graphene producers

Professor Andrea Ferrari

University of Cambridge

B R OW S E

http://www.graphene.cam.ac.uk http://www.graphene-flagship.eu

H O R I Z O N

2 0 2 0

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

23

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

Professor Andrea

Ferrari is the director

of the Cambridge

Graphene Centre, the

mission of which is to

‘investigate the S&T of

graphene, carbon

allotropes, layered

crystals and

hybrid nanomaterials’