KMM-NoE fuels research and competitiveness in Europe
Europe has put the pressure on both the research sector and industry to develop innovative knowledge-based multicomponent materials (KMM) for durable and safe performances. Rising to meet this challenge was the EU-funded KMM-NoE project, a Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) Network of Excellence in the field of advanced materials like intermetallics and metal-ceramic composites. The project received EUR 8.1 million in funding.
According to Professor Michal Basista, who was project co-coordinator responsible for research and integration, the main objective of KMM-NoE was the mobilisation and concentration of the fragmented scientific potential in the field of KMM to establish a durable and efficient structure that would not only develop groundbreaking research but would also transfer the acquired knowledge outside the network. The partners also targeted the enhancement of technological skills in related industries.
'Technically, KMM-NoE was focused on understanding, designing and developing novel KMM materials with superior properties like lower density, high strength and hardness, and enhanced fracture toughness,' Professor Basista, a member of the Institute of Fundamental Technological Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences, told Research Headlines. 'Target applications of KMM are in, for example, aerospace and automotive transport, energy and machinery industries, electronics and (the) biomedical industry.'
The project has been finalised and the results obtained are 'huge', the project leader commented. While different in nature, he said, the results correspond to three parts of the Joint Programme of Activities (JPA): Joint Programme of Research (JPR), Joint Programme of Integration (JPI) and Joint Programme of Spreading of Knowledge (JPS).
KMM-NoE's most significant results include improved international competitiveness of European research in the KMM field through the concentration of research know-how and infrastructure brought by the KMM-NoE partners into the JPR, organised within 12 internal KMM-NoE projects.
'KMM-NoE has contributed to the economic competitiveness and innovation in Europe by direct transfer of research results to the industry partners from the core consortium and to the external industry via the KMM Competence Centres network (12 Info Days in 7 Member States) and the so-called "Industrial Workshops" (3 events) - specially tailored to the industry needs identified by prior surveys among large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises,' Professor Basista told Research Headlines. 'Several patents have been filed, and two of them have already been granted.'
The KMM-NoE partners secured a number of achievements. These include the creation of the 'European Virtual Institute on Knowledge-based Multifunctional Materials' (KMM-VIN AISBL), a durable integration structure targeting the continuity of research, mobility and educational activities of KMM-NoE.
The consortium also implemented a unique research methodology promoting a problem-solving oriented comprehensive approach comprising, among others, material processing and pre-industrial verification. This methodology is being followed in the KMM-VIN FP7 (Seventh Framework Programme) project and through KMM-VIN offerings to industry, according to Professor Basista.
Researcher-industry collaboration was important for KMM-NoE's success, he said. 'The role of the active industrial partners was crucial when defining the topics of the 12 internal research projects (JPR) that were carried out,' Professor Basista explained. Industrial partners from the consortium, such as Fiat (Italy) and EADS (Germany), or external partners proposed or instigated more than half of the internal projects.
Professor Basista also cited the final report of the International Advisory Board (an independent body of KMM researchers from Europe and the US): 'The KMM-NoE partnership has performed a truly outstanding job in maintaining a credible and thriving research effort, while at the same time staying true to the fundamental concept of these European Commission-funded partnerships in establishing an extensive network of collaborators from universities, research institutes and industry, and in promoting the transfer of knowledge within and outside this network, through their 'mobility programmes' and technology-transfer efforts.'
As to what the future holds, Professor Basista said the four working groups of KMM-VIN are continuing most of KMM-NoE's 12 internal research projects. 'A possible contribution of KMM-NoE can be seen in the European Research Area (ERA), in particular with the active involvement of the new Member States Bulgaria, Poland and Slovakia, and Ukraine in the project activities and in the sharing of project results,' he commented.
Will KMM-NoE drive similar research now and in the future? According to Professor Basista, a continuation of the integration process and more involvement from the European industry are needed to ensure that this huge effort truly benefits Europe. 'To achieve that, the durable integration structures such as KMM-VIN, which is the main deliverable of the project integration activities, appears as a perfect tool,' he explained.
The KMM-VIN partnership is devising new concepts and submitting proposals to FP7 calls, to the MATERA+ (ERA-NET+) and COST ('European Cooperation in Science and Technology') programmes and to national research funding agencies.
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Data Source Provider: KMM-NoE
Document Reference: CORDIS News interview with Professor Michal Basista
Subject Index: Coordination, Cooperation; Materials Technology; Scientific Research