Nanotechnology has been instrumental in creating many new materials and devices for applications in fields from biomaterials to alternative energy, representing an important driver of competitiveness within the ERA. The EU-funded project NOBLESSE (Nanotechnology, biomaterials and alternative energy source for ERA integration) supported Poland in strengthening its research capabilities in this pivotal area. The project team helped the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) to become a bona fide actor within the European nanoscience community. Along the way, it built an open access electronic laboratory equipment database that documents research equipment available in specialised laboratories across Poland. The latter will speed innovation for IPC PAS and the Polish research community as a whole. Specifically, NOBLESSE made possible important changes in infrastructure that will enhance the technical capabilities of the Institute. Some examples include installation of an advanced scanning electron microscope and creation of the Mazovia Center for Surface Analysis, one of the most advanced in Europe, at the IPC PAS. Importantly, the modernisation will also help stop the brain drain by providing enthusiastic researchers with the resources needed to excel in their chosen fields. The project also invested heavily in people, supporting recruitment of experienced researchers in new areas. NOBLESSE helped the Institute to enlarge the scope of its patent activity as well and established important collaboration with industry. Perhaps most importantly in terms of integration with the ERA, it enabled partnerships with leading EU research centres and with academia. Attracting and keeping the region's best scientists got a boost from improved visibility through a sophisticated system of press releases, co-organisation of major scientific events and workshops for schools in Poland. Much of the project's progress and related initiatives is available on the project website. NOBLESSE is expected to help the Mazovia region in Poland where the IPC PAS is located with more employment opportunities. Equally important, it will enrich the ERA in nanoscience areas related to biomaterials and alternative energy. Against this backdrop, Poland's competitiveness in this sector is bound to flourish.
Poland, nanotechnology, ERA, biomaterials, alternative energy, physical chemistry