This scheme will enable the researchers working in EU's Graphene Flagship partner research labs and the researchers funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to expand the scope of their work by collaborating with research groups on the other side of the Atlantic, thanks to mobility funding grants. These grants will be supported respectively by the Graphene Flagship and NSF.
The Graphene Flagship is one of the EU's two Flagships launched by the European Commission in October 2013. It aims to take graphene and related two-dimensional materials from the lab to the marketplace in many industrial sectors, including opto-electronics, aerospace, automotive and energy. The Graphene Flagship brings together more than 150 organisations in a partnership. It defines a new approach to innovation by bringing together industry and academia on the basis of a research and technology roadmap. Graphene Flagship demonstrates a new model for setting priorities and collaborating at national and European levels, and creates a natural gateway for international research collaboration.
In a young and quickly evolving research field such as two-dimensional materials (graphene being the most well-known case), it is crucial to establish this type of international collaboration. One reason is because European and US research teams have complementary expertise and can benefit enormously from each other. Another reason is that technology roadmaps play a vital role in the take-up of graphene-based technologies, but need to take into account developments across the world. Last but not least, standardisation and the characterisation of the performance of two-dimensional materials for applications are other examples where global contacts can help achieve further progress.
This collaboration scheme builds on the outcome of a workshop which was held in Washington in April 2015 and was organised by the European Commission, the Graphene Flagship and the NSF. This event brought together some of the top experts from Europe and the US in the area of two-dimensional materials, who as part of their conclusions proposed a number of concrete steps to foster US-EU collaborations. Later this year a follow-up event will be organised in Europe, where the progress can be assessed and additional joint collaboration activities will be discussed.