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Homogeneous Supported Catalyst Technologies: the sustainable approach to highly-selective, fine chemicals production

Final Report Summary - NANO-HOST (Homogeneous supported catalyst technologies: The sustainable approach to highly-selective, fine chemicals production)

Work performed

The initial training network (ITN) NANO-HOST carried out a fully integrated, jointly executed research and training programme focused at generating new fundamental knowledge, fostering new prospects and training in the field of highly efficient, highly selective, supported, recyclable catalysts. The network activities were directed to a high-level, multidisciplinary and multisectorial education of early stage and experienced fellows. The approach pursued was the immobilisation of homogeneous catalysts, onto preformed insoluble supports. Seven beneficiaries and 12 teams were involved in the project recruiting 23 researchers, for a total of 530 fellow-months training activities delivered, 82 % at the early stage level with 43 % women trained. The training programme was based on a comprehensive set of scientific and complementary elements and in an appropriate number of training events. The scientific programme included a variety of modules corresponding to the research activities required to accomplish the goals of the project; the complementary training programme included a set of skills coherent with the overall activities of the network. The scientific programme was based on individual, multi-lateral research / training projects of the recruited researchers. A total of 37.3 months of secondments were carried out at the collaborating institutions.

Results achieved

The network as a whole delivered 175 training modules, 87 instrumental techniques training sessions and 42 complementary skills. Seventeen collaborative research projects were placed in operation. Seven workshops, two schools and two conferences open to outside the network were organised throughout the Europe with more than attending these events. Eight patents, 69 individual and 14 joint publications and a book were published as result of the research activities carried out by the network. The fellows co-authored 23 papers. Seventy six presentations to international conference were given, with active participation of the fellows to 45 of these. All early stage researchers (ESRs) recruited embarked in a Doctorate recognised at the European level.

Project web site and contact details

The internet address of the project is http://www.nanohost.eu.

Coordinator:

Pierluigi Barbaro

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Chimica dei Composti Organo Metallici

Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze)

Italy

E-mail: pierluigi.barbaro@iccom.cnr.it

Vice-Coordinator:

David Cole-Hamilton

School of Chemistry, Purdie Building

The University of St. Andrews, Fife, KY 16 9ST, Scotland

E-mail: djc@st-andrews.ac.uk

Impact

Benefits at the individual fellows level

Fellows recruited under NANO-HOST benefited from a multidisciplinar training based on the integration of training with state-of-the-art research, including a broad range of instrumental facilities offered. The multi-location and the excellence of the network partnership, coupled with the direct involvement of private business actors in the project, allowed the Fellows to work in a stimulating and frontier-research environment. The set-up of individual training programmes, the timeliness and relevance of the project topic, the organisation of training in multi-lateral, collaborative projects contributed to provide the Fellows with a comprehensive, high level education, which enabled them to move across several sectors and disciplines. The scientific training was complemented by a variety of training events and complementary skills (including paper and grant writing, communication skills, networking, management) and an appropriate amount of trans-national secondments, which aided the Fellows to grow both as scientists and as individuals. ESRs received widespread background training in several expertises and instrumental techniques. Experienced researchers (ERs) received a more specialised training and an intensive skills development. The Fellows were co-authors of a significant number of peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and participated actively to several international Conferences. All ESRs recruited under the project will receive a Doctorate title formally recognised at European level after completion of their appointment. It is expected that all the above features contribute to improve significantly the curriculum of the NANO-HOST researchers and will have a strong impact on their career prospect both on short and long term, either in the public or in the private sector.

Benefits at the participating institutions level

Participation in the ITN NANO-HOST resulted in multiple benefits for the participating teams which included:

1. creation of new collaborations and strengthen of the existing ones
2. opening to new industrial contacts
3. effective sharing of instrumentations, best practices and expertise
4. increase of scientific productivity and research outputs
5. increase of visibility and international standing at the European level
6. generation of additional links with other research groups and institutions outside the network
7. effective support for the newest research teams
8. opportunity to operate in key research sectors
9. improve the chance to access to further projects, funding etc.

Value added to the Community

Benefits for the Community were at various levels:

From a scientific point of view, the research programme of the network perfectly addressed scientific and technological needs to the European Community (EC) indicated by Strategic Research Agendas of European Technology Platforms and by European Union (EU) private socio-economic actors. The research outputs generated by the consortium provided useful insights and concepts in a topical area of chemistry, providing a significant contribution to the development of green production processes.

From an educational point of view, NANO-HOST prepared a new generation of talented researchers able to move across several scientific domains and suited to face the future challenges of EC research in the area of nanosciences, clean energy production, pollutants abatement and sustainable processes. Mutual recognition of the training provided by the participants resulted in Doctorate diplomas valid at the European level, thus ensuring the trans-national employability of the trained researchers as well as a significant contribution to the implementation of the Bologna process for the creation of a European Higher Education Area.

NANO-HOST reduced the fragmentation of the research in the area at the European level. Thanks to NANO-HOST several long term collaborations were established and new projects were proposed which had a positive structuring effect on the European research capacities. This contributed to strengthen the competitiveness of European research in catalytic materials and to increase the attractiveness for research in Europe to young talented scientists.

NANO-HOST fostered the interactions between academia a private actors. BASF Nederland B.V. was directly involved in the network. Collaborations were set-up beyond the project lifetime. NANO-HOST was one promoter of the European Research Institute of Catalysis (ERIC) A.I.S.B.L. (http://www.eric-aisbl.eu) a durable integration structure supported by the EC and born form the network of excellence Idecat. Other industries have expressed their willingness to establish permanent contacts with the network teams.