About the project

Nanoscience and nanotechnology is a dynamic, interdisciplinary research field which is an enabling force in the development of novel commercial products. It will strongly impact the economy (growth, employment and welfare) and society (changes of daily life). Reaping the benefits of nanotechnology requires both specialized scientific understanding and open communication between all stakeholders involved: between the scientists in R&D and in academia and the business entrepreneurs, politicians, and society as a whole who all, mutually, need to understand the problems, opportunities and challenges. There is great need for highly skilled creative young researchers able to communicate and think widely across the different areas of academic and socio-economic progress.


Enabling Excellence is a four year training project offering an integral R&D training at PhD level for 13 early-stage scientists around one of the most active and attractive topics at the forefront of nanoscience / technology, namely graphene-based nanostructures.


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The object

Graphene, a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms bonded together in a hexagonal lattice, has attracted enormous research interest in recent years. Its structure forms the base of a whole family of nanocarbons, and directly defines its outstanding properties such as high electrical and thermal conductivities, great mechanical strength, and large specific surface area. It is a fundamental nanoobject which impacts on many types of applications in different areas. These may lead to novel developments in many sectors such as energy, transport, construction, textiles, biology, medicine, and the focus of the current project, electronics and instrumentation. The objective of the current project is to tackle critical issues at different levels of R&D, starting with graphene as the nanoobject itself, the development of functional graphene-based materials, their processing and integration into electronic device platforms for direct application in commercial touchpad devices in consumer and industrial electronics. In parallel we will explore the mission-critical techniques (electronic and optic) required for rapid, accurate characterization of these materials, developing new instrumentation to transfer state-of-the-art laboratory characterization to the production line.

The Network

The Enabling Excellence network with five partners from academia and four partners (two full, two associated) from the private sector effectively addresses the three fundamental pillars of Comprehension, Commerce and Communication. We will provide an ambitious training programme covering the whole chain from fundamental research at lab-scale to commercial products and business opportunities. The students will receive experience in business environments from large (Renishaw, 3500 employees), medium (M-Solv, 32 employees), to SME start-ups (Academatch, 1 employee), as well as cutting edge academic research laboratories. Enabling Excellence will train a new generation of highly skilled interdisciplinary clear thinking researchers, developing in these young people the confidence and the ability to communicate with the most eminent scientists and technologists and so to feel and become a substantial member of the great scientific community. Giving them the self-belief and tools to have a long career that can develop without barriers, be it in science research, commerce or science politics.


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Science & Technology

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EnEx facts

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