Since the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov in 2010, there has been increasing interest in graphene, which in fact was first investigated in the 1960s. The potential applications of graphene are enormous, including electronics, materials, sensors, and batteries. Both academic and industrial researchers are interested in graphene, but how can we cover all the synthetic challenges and potential applications that graphene brings?
In his Editorial in Angewandte Chemie, Andreas Hirsch from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg explains how the European Union came to launch the Graphene Flagship Project in 2013. It is the largest research project (together with the Human Brain Project) in Europe and its aim is to bring together leading researchers from all over Europe: in 2016 there will be 142 partners from 23 countries.
The costs of one billion Euros over ten years are met both by the European Commission and from other sources (such as companies). The project is divided into various work packages, and highlights include synthetic wet chemistry of graphene as well as the fabrication of flexible displays and rechargeable batteries.
Hirsch points out that although the total amount of funding is large, given the large number of participants, each group receives average financial support, and questions if it would have been better to have fewer participants who all receive more funding. However, bureaucratic and logistic hurdles aside, the only way to realize the applications of graphene is to pool the collective knowledge in Europe, and the Graphene Flagship represents a huge step forward.
- The Graphene Flagship – A Giant European Research Project,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015.