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June 25, 2014

European research consortium Graphene Flagship doubles in size with 66 new partners

Mary Page Bailey

To coincide with Graphene Week 2014, taking place June 23-27 in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Graphene Flagship (www.graphene-flagship.eu) has announced that it is doubling in size. Already one of the largest-ever European research initiatives, with funding of €1 billion over the next ten years, the Graphene Flagship is inviting 66 new partners to join the consortium following the results of a €9 million competitive call.
 
While most partners are universities and research institutes, the share of companies, mainly subject-matter expertss, involved is increasing. This shows the growing interest of economic actors in graphene. The partnership now includes more than 140 organizations from 23 countries. It is fully set to take ‘wonder material’ graphene and related layered materials from academic laboratories to everyday use.
 
 The 66 new partners come from 19 countries, six of which are new to the consortium: Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Israel.
With its 16 new partners, Italy now has the highest number of partners in the Graphene Flagship alongside Germany (with 23 each), followed by Spain (18), UK (17) and France (13).
 
The incoming 66 partners will add new capabilities to the scientific and technological scope of the flagship. Over one third of new partners are companies, mainly SMEs, showing the growing interest of economic actors in graphene. In the initial consortium this ratio was 20%.
 
 The €9 million competitive call of the €54 million ramp-up phase (2014-2015) attracted a total of 218 proposals, representing 738 organizations from 37 countries. The proposals received were evaluated on the basis of their scientific and technological expertise, implementation and impact and ranked by an international panel of leading experts, mostly eminent professors from all over the world. 21 proposals were selected for funding.
 
Prof. Jari Kinaret, professor of physics at the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and director of the Graphene Flagship, said: “The response was overwhelming, which is an indicator of the recognition for and trust in the flagship effort throughout Europe. Competition has been extremely tough. I am grateful for the engagement by the applicants and our nearly 60 independent expert reviewers who helped us through this process. I am impressed by the high quality of the proposals we received and looking forward to working with all the new partners to realize the goals of the Graphene Flagship.”

 Graphene was furst made and tested in Europe, leading to the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov from the University of Manchester. With the €1 billion Graphene Flagship, Europe will be able to turn cutting-edge scientific research into marketable products. This major initiative places Europe in the driving seat for the global race to develop graphene technologies.
 
Prof. Andrea Ferrari, director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre and chair of the executive board of the Graphene Flagship commented announcement on the new partners: “This adds strength to our unprecedented effort to take graphene and related materials from the lab to the factory floor, so that the world-leading position of Europe in graphene science can be translated into technology, creating a new graphene-based industry, with benefits for Europe in terms of job creation and competitiveness.”

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