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we will assess that proposal. Assuming all goes

well and that the flagship is continuing to do

good work, we will then be able to give them

another tranche of money for another core

project; so the basic flagship will be a series

of core projects.”

The deputy head of unit then focused on the

FLAG-ERA ERA-Net project, which supports

both of the FET Flagships. According to FLAG-

ERA, the project ‘contributes to the construction

of the two flagship initiatives on graphene and

human brain research and also offers support

to the four non-selected pilots to progress

towards their goals with adapted means.

‘In order to enhance complementarities and

synergies of regional, national and European

research programmes and initiatives, the

funding organisations share information on

these programmes and initiatives, identify gaps

and overlaps, and can thus adapt their thematic

programme and launch new initiatives

according to the identified needs.’

Houghton said this instrument “brings together

the national member state funding organisations

who have recently set up a joint transnational

call”, helping “to bring in another set of projects

Houghton added that it is important to not “spread the money too thinly”,

though commented that the Commission is “pleased that we have 24

countries in Europe participating.

“It’s really trying to create a European research area in graphene because

we do think that is important …we have Europe supposedly as a single

market for the product, so we ought to have a single market producing

the research in the first place, and it may well be that a company in the

UK wants to exploit one aspect of graphene and finds that the person

with the best knowledge is at a university in Greece. We need to try and

get this cross-fertilisation going.

“The flagship is essentially a research project. It started out with the majority

of the participants being researchers from universities. Over the years, that

balance will change more towards the industrial commercialisation, but it

is still an EU research project. Although it should look at the wider issues,

somehow we have to build the links to the other actors in the field to take

on the work, take up the work, take the results of the flagship and go further

with them. The flagship can only go so far in itself.”

Working together

To manage the project, the Commission has signed a framework

partnership agreement (FPA) with the Graphene Flagship Project

Consortium. The FPA mechanism, Houghton said, has been adapted to

help best support the flagships, which themselves will also be based on

a number of different projects.

“We can now periodically ask this consortium to make proposals to us

to continue the work, and … using a set of experts in the normal way,

I S S U E S E V E N

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

www.horizon2020projects.com

28

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

A key aim of the

Commission for the

flagship is realising

research co-operation

and synergies

throughout Europe