The three-day long event took place in Beijing at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences between 29 June – 2 July. A delegation of European and Chinese researchers working on graphene and related materials (GRMs) came together to share the latest research developments, exchange ideas and highlight the research efforts and progresses in this field. One of the main goals of the meeting was to establish collaborations between the two continents' research communities, as well as advance the understanding of new physics in GRMs.
The European Union has pioneered research in GRMs. The Graphene Flagship was established in 2013, to bring together academic and industrial researchers to tackle challenges in both fundamental research and industrial applications, representing a new form of interdisciplinary collaborative research on an unprecedented scale. In China, there is a huge growth of R&D in GRMs, with strong support from central and local government and funding agencies.
Xinliang Feng, one of the Graphene Flagship organizers of the EU-China workshop and group leader at Technical University of Dresden in Germany highlighted that: "The aim of this meeting was to discuss the open questions in GRMs. In particular, China is growing as one of the major players in the fields, discussion and cooperation between EU and China are strategically important," he said. "This first joint EU Graphene Flagship-China meeting solidifies the mutual understanding from both sides, and many contacts have been established, leading to cooperation between both sides." Feng is also deputy of the Flagship's Energy, Composites and Production Division and leader of its Functional Foams and Coatings Work Package.
Andrea C. Ferrari, Graphene Flagship Science and Technology Officer, and Chair of its Management Panel added "A strong scientific collaboration with China will help us to reach the strategic goals of the Graphene Flagship, eventually leading to academic, industrial and social benefits both in Europe and China."
Shixuan Du, alongside co-chair Hong-Jun Gao, both based at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, co-organized the meeting. Du emphasised that: "The workshop provided a forum for participants coming from different fields to communicate recent developments in GRMs, tackle challenges, establish possible collaborations and advance our understanding in novel layered materials." She added that: "The biggest challenge is now to develop new methods to get large enough and high-quality GRMs since this is an essential prerequisite to move fundamental research towards industrial applications."
The Graphene Flagship intends to further strengthen existing collaborations with Chinese researchers and build new ones. To this aim, workshops such as this are essential for discussing future directions and potential new applications. A second EU-China meeting is planned for next year.