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Europe chooses graphene as flagship research programme

The European Commission has chosen graphene as the topic for one of Europe's first 10 year €1billion flagship programmes. The project is intended to commercialise graphene and related layered materials, as well as create economic growth and new jobs in Europe.

The Graphene Flagship brings together academics and industry with the aim of creating technological breakthroughs. The research effort will cover the value chain from materials production to components and system integration, while targeting specific goals that exploit graphene's properties.

Key applications include fast electronic and optical devices, flexible electronics, functional lightweight components and advanced batteries, while new products enabled by graphene could include electronic paper and bendable personal communication devices, as well as lighter and more energy efficient airplanes.

From the start, the Graphene Flagship will coordinate 126 academic and industrial research groups in 17 European countries. Included are the Universities of Cambridge, Manchester and Lancaster.
Initially running for 30 months, the project will have budget of €54million. After that, the consortium another 20 to 30 groups will be added through an open call to further strengthen the engineering aspects.

The flagship will be coordinated by Professor Jari Kinaret at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, with a Strategic Advisory Council chaired by Nobel Laureate Sir Andre Geim from Manchester University.

"Although the flagship is extremely extensive, it cannot cover all areas. For example, we don't intend to compete with Korea on graphene screens," said Prof Kinaret. "Graphene production, however, is obviously central to our project."

Cambridge University, which led the original 'science and technology roadmap' for the Graphene Flagship bid, will guide the development of optoelectronic devices based on graphene, as well work on flexible electronics, nanocomposites, energy and large scale production of the material. In the future, researchers hope to create technologies such as electronic paper and bendable personal communication devices based on the material, as well as lighter and more energy efficient aeroplanes.

Professor Andrea Ferrari, director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre, said: "The grand challenge for the flagship is to target applications and manufacturing processes, at the same time broadening research to other two dimensional materials and hybrid systems. The integration of these new materials could bring a new dimension to future technologies, creating faster, thinner, stronger, more flexible broadband devices."

Graham Pitcher

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