The Graphene Flagship – one of Europe’s first ten-year, 1bn Euro flagships in Future and Emerging Technologies – has been launched.

A major European project to take graphene and other related layered materials from academic laboratories to society has begun.

Graphene was selected as one of Europe’s first “Future Emerging technology” flagship programmes, described as the largest research excellence awards in history, earlier this year. The programme officially started with a  kick-off meeting in Gothenburg last week.

Professor Andrea Ferrari, director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre, will Chair the project’s Executive Board. Researchers from the Cambridge Graphene Centre also presented some of the latest graphene-based devices, developed at the Centre in collaboration with a number of industrial partners.

Professor Ferrari 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.”

“We recognise that there is still much to be done before the early promise of graphene becomes reality. The large funding the EU has invested in our vision puts a huge burden of responsibility on our shoulders, and will require us to focus on results, and stay away from hype.”

The Graphene Flagship will be split into two phases – a 30 month build-up phase, followed by the main project phase, which commences in April 2016. The consortium initially includes 75 academic and industrial partners, in 17 European countries. It will, however, be expanded with another 20-30 groups joining through an open call, which will further strengthen its engineering aspects. Parallel to this, other work will be performed among EU member states and associated nations, to co-ordinate national funding initiatives on graphene, complementing the Flagship funding from the European Commission.

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