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Homepage Competitive and Sustainable Growth - Making the European Research Area a Reality
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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research themes > Materials & technologies
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The Competitive and Sustainable Growth (GROWTH) Programme ran from 1998 to 2002 under the Fifth Framework Programme(FP5). Funding for industrial research is now covered by the thematic priorities of the Sixth Framework Programme(FP6) from 2002 to 2006, designed to support the creation of a European Research Area:

The following text was first published in March 2000.

Graphic element New materials and production technologies

The increasing complex needs of industry and society demand improved industrial processes and products with better quality, durability, cost effectiveness, functionality and structural properties. Furthermore, it is essential for environmental sustainability to examine all aspects of a product's life cycle to make substantial reductions in the use of resources while minimising environmental and health concerns. Therefore, materials research has an essential role in supporting development of competitive and sustainable growth in Europe.
Materials properties and performance are closely linked to materials production and transformation. It is therefore important that materials research should also be closely integrated with work on materials processing. This generic activity proposes a pan-European systems approach, reflecting activity underway in advanced materials technologies and responding to important problems at the European level. It supports the long-term R&D of generic materials technologies with potential for multi-sector applications and medium-term R&D with a strong materials technology component relevant to FP5 key actions.

  Main technological objectives

Sustainable use of materials requires an integrated approach for optimum use of materials and increased recycling. Priorities are:

Crosscutting materials technologies
This involves developing novel materials with wide-ranging application potential. Such research can be long term with high risk and high potential gain, and includes:

- Nanotechnology: working at the nanoscale (1-100nm) with use of nano particles to improve properties in organic, biological and inorganic materials, and nano-structured materials for further miniaturisation of electronic systems
- Surface engineering: building on European strengths to expand target materials and the range of coating properties
- Materials processing technologies: for multi-sector applications to improve performance of ceramics, polymers and metal alloys, coated materials and composites

Advanced functional materials
This is looking at highly advanced materials with multi-sector use, including:

- Electronics: focusing on novel electronic and opto-electronic devices
- Magnetic/optical materials: for magneto-resistive sensors and magnetic data storage
- Sensors and industrial systems: an important area for medium- and long-term development
- Biomaterials: for medical applications, including drug-delivery systems and biosensors.

Sustainable chemistry
This covers development of sustainable industrial chemistry with efficient use of resources and recycled materials, such as:

- Chemical engineering: particularly support for membranes and catalysts
- Advanced chemical reactions: especially small batches of speciality chemicals and polymers
- Chemistry for new materials: developing cost-effective, clean synthesis routes leading to high added-value materials with novel properties.

Structural materials
Structural materials cover all types of engineering needs - from civil engineering to aerospace. Priorities include:

- Materials properties: to determine and extend the limits to open up novel and more efficient construction
- Reliability: with study of degradation mechanisms that limited material lifetimes
- Construction materials: to overcome the large amount of waste in an area of massive consumption.

Promoting co-operation in polymer research

New hybrid polymers revolutionise production of low-cost electro/optical devices
Recycling textiles
Smart fibres protect their users - and their makers
Sticky-back plastic: a new meaning
Feature on Nanotechnology: a small science with a huge potential
Riding on a tide of success - Marie Curie fellowship interview
New composite sets sail (RTD info article)
Implementation agreement signed with NSF (Word file)
Feature on EU funded biomaterials research activities
Laser surface treatment extends lifetime of metal parts
Evaluating the biosafety of lead substitutes
New electronic components stay cool when the going gets hot

Future Needs & Challenges for Materials and Nanotechnology Research
(PDF File - 273 Kb)
Materials and their technologies for production
(PDF File - 199 Kb)

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