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working on graphene and 2D materials that will

now work in partnership…with the core project

and that will help bring in the matching funding

of the other €50m a year”.

Houghton added that it is important to develop

European programmes, particularly for “some of

the smaller member states” as they would be

unable to cover all the work involved in the

different areas of research and so would be

better off coming into European programmes.

“There are some efficiencies in doing things at

the European level: instead of having 28

individual evaluations of something, if you have

one centralised European evaluation of

something, more of the money can go to the

researchers because the overhead doing the

evaluation will be less – it’s more efficient to do

quite a lot of things at the European level, and

we do believe you get the better synergies. We

certainly could not do everything, but we try and

add value where we can.”

Synergies

Houghton then drew attention to the importance

of synergies and emphasised collaboration.

B R OW S E

www.graphene-flagship.eu www.ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/fet- flagships/

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

29

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

Open project

During a short open Q&A session following Andrew Houghton’s

speech, Portal asked the deputy head of the Flagships Unit what

action the European Commission is taking to encourage other

players to become involved in the project.

Houghton replied that the flagship is “fundamentally … a research

project”, yet added that the Commission is interested in seeing

what efforts can be made within the flagship to encourage

greater collaboration.

“I’ve learnt that we need to somehow find how the flagship can

better interact with the people, other people who are working on the

standardisation issues. It is clear the flagship has a work package

on looking at health aspects, and the results need to be better

passed on to other people working on other nano-safety issues. We

need to communicate better with the nano-safety cluster.

“But, indeed, this is the big issue, and it’s not just for the flagship,

it’s for the whole of the EU research programme – it’s for any

national research programme. There are a set of issues of how you

exploit the results that come out of the lab, and we’re all learning

together how to do that. We need to learn together – we don’t yet

have the full answers, the right answers.”

The European

Commission is

providing half of the

€1bn funding for the

Graphene Flagship

“Our vision is to try and get everybody to come together to look for the

synergies, to look for the critical mass. One big family is better than ten

little families, so this is the model … we want to bring these different

types of partnering projects together with the flagships; we are still

working out with the flagships exactly how best to do that.

“In the case of Graphene, they now have already … a group of associate

members which are organisations who have come from these partnering

projects who have agreed to work on different aspects of the flagship

roadmap because … the roadmap is not just for the flagship, in the

sense that it’s a flagship for all of Europe, and we ought to try and make

sure that we all work on different aspects of the flagship.”

The Commission is very keen to realise the full potential of graphene,

working collaboratively with industry and providing crucial funds in the

role as a research funder. As the Graphene Flagship moves into its next

stage and continues to grow, it will be crucial to ensure the venture retains

focus and places Europe at the forefront of this nanomaterial research.