The Graphene Flagship is an ambitious research and innovation project launched by the European Commission in 2013. Back then, the dream was to bring graphene out of the research labs and into the European market, thanks to a consortium of universities, research institutions, small companies, and leading European industries. Now, the Graphene Flagship is delivering on its promises. The first graphene-enabled products are already commercially available, and the project is steering towards further innovation.
On Thursday, 5 March 2020, Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, will travel to the Graphene Flagship Headquarters at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, to learn more about the recent advances of the project, the latest products presented by the Graphene Flagship partners and associated members, and visit the laboratories and cleanrooms where scientist produce graphene .
Jari Kinaret, Director of the Graphene Flagship, proudly highlights how "the Graphene Flagship is an extremely successful project, which has demonstrated that it is possible to cross the valley of death and transform scientific results into new products, new companies, and new employment opportunities for European society." The Graphene Flagship has also sparked the discovery of a myriad of new layered materials that can be combined – like different ingredients in a sandwich – enabling countless new applications.
The Graphene Flagship has enabled Europe's technological leadership in the field of graphene and related layered materials, which can be applied in key areas such as digitalisation, medical technologies, energy generation and storage, automotive, and aerospace. The Graphene Flagship will showcase some of these advances with live hands-on demos of our most recent products, prototypes, and graphene-enabled technologies. Vice President Vestager will see graphene-enabled interactive wearables, sensors, high-capacity batteries and airplane parts. Illustrating the diversity of partners within the Graphene Flagship projects, these demos come directly from academic partners (Technische Universität Dresden, Germany) research institutions (IIT, Italy, VTT, Finland, and ICFO, Spain), small start-ups born within the Graphene Flagship (Emberion, Finland, and BeDimensional, Italy) and leading European industrial partners (Varta Microelectronics, Austria, and Airbus).
The success of the Graphene Flagship goes way beyond its impressive scientific impact – it has boosted the creation of several new start-ups, brought dozens of graphene-enabled products into the market, and created real benefits for European society. Now, the Graphene Flagship is about to start a new phase of the project, with an even stronger emphasis on innovation and sustainability. "One third of the budget during this new stage will be invested in high-TRL applications," explains Kinaret. Moreover, the Graphene Flagship consortium is alive, renewing its members every few years to adapt to the needs of the European technological ecosystem. Kinaret adds: "In April 2020 we will welcome around 25% of new partners, most of them leading industries in key sectors for the European economy, such as energy, automotive, and biomedicine."
Indeed, in this new phase industries will represent roughly half of the Graphene Flagship consortium, demonstrating the potential of the project to drive European innovation. Moreover, the Graphene Flagship will shape Europe's environmental future, funding projects and ideas aligned with the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Graphene will be key to developing new technologies for cleaner water and sanitation, better healthcare and wellbeing, affordable and clean energy, and more sustainable cities and communities.
The European Commission's Flagships started as an ambitious bet to achieve visionary goals. At that time, it was just a dream. Now, it has become a reality – the Graphene Flagship has scientific advances that can provide a strong basis for technological innovation and economic exploitation, and eventually generate benefits for society.
You may download high-resolution pictures of VP Margrethe Vestager, Jari Kinaret, and the Graphene Flagship demos showed during the visit here.