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FLAG-ERA funds ten new projects on graphene research and applications
FLAG-ERA funds ten new projects on graphene research and applications

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FLAG-ERA funds ten new projects on graphene research and applications

The successful FLAG-ERA projects will expand the current research on graphene and related materials and the collaborations within the Graphene Flagship to develop new graphene-enabled innovations.

FLAG-ERA has announced the funding of ten new projects on graphene and related materials, which will become Partnering Projects of the Graphene Flagship and bring 16 new Associate Members to our Partnering Division. The projects split between basic and applied research and innovation, covering areas from magnetic memories and photodetectors to novel batteries and neural interfaces.

The FLAG-ERA initiative establishes links between the EU-funded FET Flagship projects and national and regional funding agencies in Member States. Through different strategies, FLAG-ERA fosters multi-disciplinary collaborations to expand the scope of the Graphene Flagship and the Human Brain Project. Among these was their latest Joint Transnational Call (JTC) 2021, announced earlier this year. JTC 2021 has resolved funding for the following ten projects, seven of which involve partners from widening countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey:

  • 2DSOTECH. Led by Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, this project will engineer new heterostructures, ‘sandwiches’ of different layered materials glued together by van der Waals interactions. These hybrid systems could offer new possibilities in spintronics, and eventually find uses in devices such as non-volatile memories and other electronic components.
  • DeGraph. Led by the Chemistry Institute in Strasbourg, France, this project will study the potential adverse effects of graphene and other layered materials to living organisms and the environment. Research will focus on identifying natural mechanisms that allow biodegradation, and eventually selecting and isolating bacteria with an evolutionary advantage towards this goal.
  • MINERVA. Led by the University of Lyon, France, this project will focus on amorphous layered materials like boron nitride. These structures have unique electric properties, and have already shown great promise in high-performance devices, including RAM memories and flexible electronics.
  • MNEMOSYN. Led by CEA, France, this project will optimise technologies to grow magnetic layered materials at large scale. Through academic-industrial collaborations, the team will access state-of-the-art equipment to manufacture new combinations of materials, analyse the best conditions for high-efficiency processes and improve the TRL of these technologies.
  • MULTISPIN. Led by CIC nanoGUNE in San Sebastián, Spain, this project will also study the possibilities of layered magnetic materials. Researchers will use chemical functionalisation to tune and engineer the properties of these materials, and eventually develop new applications in data storage and smart computing.
  • PhotoTBG. Led by ICFO in Barcelona, Spain, this project will study the interactions between light and layered materials, especially twisted bilayer graphene and other structures with extraordinary properties. Through different mechanisms for tuneability and excitation, researchers will develop new optoelectronic devices, as well as sources of terahertz emissions.
  • VEGA. Led by the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia, this project will use graphene to enhance the properties of aluminium-ion batteries, a safer, greener, more reliable alternative to lithium. Researchers will investigate the possibilities of graphene in cathode materials and develop new technologies for graphene production based on plasma technologies.

The projects above will carry out basic research, they have all been selected based on the excellence of the proposal and potential for implementation. The following projects, on applied research, will receive funding for focusing on impact and implementation.

  • COGRAPH. Led by I2CT-CNRS in Strasbourg, France, this project will study the application of graphene in coatings with antiviral properties. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers envisioned new methods to protect surfaces with an environmentally friendly, low-cost solution that inactivates a broad range of viruses. Thanks to graphene and chemically modified layered materials, these coatings will decrease contacts and contagions, slowing down the advance of viral infections.
  • ENPHOCAL. Led by ICN2 in Barcelona, Spain, this project will focus on enhancing the performance of graphene-enabled photonics. Gathering both academic and industrial partners, researchers expect to deliver low-cost, scalable technologies compatible with current semiconductor foundries.
  • RESCUGRAPH. Led by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, this project will develop graphene-based neural interfaces. These devices will play a key role in rehabilitation therapies, offering new opportunities to restore lost sensory and motor functions caused by spinal cord injuries. The properties of graphene enable flexible and precise electrodes for brain stimulation, which drives rehabilitation through neuroplasticity.

Yuri Svirko, Leader of the Graphene Flagship Partnering Division, says: “It’s exciting to see these ten innovative projects receiving funding through FLAG-ERA and the EU Member States. We will certainly soon see exciting results coming from these partnerships, which tackle important research topics within the world of layered materials including photonics, optoelectronics, spintronics and health.”

Jari Kinaret, Director of the Graphene Flagship, adds: “Our partnering projects, funded through FLAG-ERA, create valuable collaborations and interactions beyond our core consortium. The cooperation with regional and national funding agencies represents half of the overall budget of the Graphene Flagship, and it’s truly fantastic to see this money spent on such interesting projects and future applications.”

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European Research, Innovation and Collaboration

The Graphene Flagship is research, innovation and collaboration.

Funded by the European Commission, the Graphene Flagship aims to secure a major role for Europe in the ongoing technological revolution, helping to bring graphene innovation out of the lab and into commercial applications. The Graphene Flagship gathers nearly 170 academic and industrial partners from 22 countries, all exploring different aspects of graphene and related materials. Bringing diverse competencies together, the Graphene Flagship facilitates cooperation between its partners, accelerating the timeline for industry acceptance of graphene technologies. The European Commission’s FET Flagships enable research projects on an unprecedented scale. With €1 billion budgets, the Graphene Flagship, Human Brain Project and Quantum Flagship serve as technology accelerators, helping Europe to compete with other global markets in research and innovation. With an additional €20 million investment, the European Commission has now funded the creation of an experimental pilot line for graphene-based electronics, optoelectronics and sensors.