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Preparation for Moldova’s integration into the European Research Area and into the Community R&D Framework Programs on the basis of scientific excellence

Final Report Summary - MOLD-ERA (Preparation for Moldova's integration into the European Research Area and into the Community R&D Framework Programmes on the basis of scientific excellence)

Executive summary:

The objective of MOLD-ERA is to assist the Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies (IEEN) to develop and implement a research strategy that will expand its activities and increase its level of excellence, so that it could compete and collaborate with leading research institutions in Europe. This objective was implemented through:

- A nanobioengineering training programme that included: (i) 12 training courses with a total duration of 250 hours developed by project partners and delivered in 2 rounds to 52 participants (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students, Master students and young researchers in the fields of tissues and molecular engineering, medical bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, biocompatibility and biosensors); due to the fact that the course was coordinated with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova, the graduates were awarded the Certificate of the Ministry of Education of Moldova, certifying their competences in the area of nanobioengineering.
(ii) 2 rounds of the Summer School on nanobioengineering, each consisting of 11 courses with a total duration of 40 hours, attended by 64 participants.
(iii) 7 study visits and practical training of young researchers from IEEN and TUM at Hannover Medical School and CDTR, Bristol in the areas of nanobio and nanomedicine; (iv) four online lectures were carried out by means of Access Grid video conferencing facilities by partners from the University of Bristol (UNIVBRIS) on topics in the area of nanobio and nanomedicine.

- Combining existing facilities at IEEN in the field of nanotechnology with new equipment purchased, that allowed to extend this research area to nanobiology with a focus on the properties and structure of complex assemblies of biomolecules, such as biochips, molecular motors, and membrane assemblies in conjunction with the distinctive surfaces, rods, dots and materials of nanoscience. The purchased CYLOS 160 RIE plasma etch system has been used both for the development and preparation of semiconductor nanostructures and for the training of students in the area of nanobiotechnology. A group of students was selected to work with the SANYO multi-gas incubator and it has been used for the estimation of the biocompatibility of semiconductor nanostructures fabricated using different electrochemical and plasma etching processes.

- Providing training modules to assist researchers and staff from across Moldova to attain a more efficient and practical understanding of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) rules and regulations and receive training to increase success in submitting FP7 proposals. Researchers and staff from IEEN, ASM, TUM and other research institutions in Moldova received training in FP7 provided by EFPC including: FP7 rules and regulations, joining consortia, proposal writing, Marie-Curie projects, financial issues. Since the beginning of the project 6 three-day proposal-writing training workshops and 2 one-day workshops on Marie-Curie aspects were delivered, receiving a very positive feedback from the audience. FP helpdesk support was provided to interested researchers by EFPC, as well as by means of 7 webinars dedicated to various FP7 topics. Over 200 researchers attended the FP7 training workshops.

- MOLD-ERA's network of regional, national and European contacts increased, based on activities of mutual interest and new collaborative links, as well as 12 expert staff visits within the project consortium. The international visibility of Moldova in nanobiomedicine increased considerably in connection with the organisation of the International Conference on Nanotechnology and Biomedical Engineering held in Chisinau on 7 - 8 July 2011, and the 2nd edition of the conference on 18 - 20 April 2013, with active participation of MOLD-ERA consortium partner experts. The event generated a significant impact in the media, being covered by major TV channels and local newspapers. Six new FP7 proposals have been initiated, prepared and submitted as a result of meetings and collaborative interactions with research groups from other countries. A knowledge map with links amongst relevant national, European Union (EU) and international organisations active in the field of nanotechnology was produced and presented as an online tool (see http://mold-era.eu/knowledge-map online for further details).

Project context and objectives:

The objective of the MOLD-ERA project is to assist the IEEN to develop and implement a research strategy that expanded its activities and increased its level of excellence, so that it could compete and collaborate with leading research institutions in Europe. MOLD-ERA aimed to increase the number of high-quality graduates, employment opportunities, collaboration and business opportunities and thereby increase the generation of wealth in the region. Focus was on a new research and training programme for young researchers that resulted in the creation of a leading European infrastructure at IEEN in the field of nanotechnology and nanobiology.

The training activities in the project, which included technical training and FP7 training, were open to other relevant research institutions in Moldova and small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) representatives, thereby increasing the project impact and the generation of wealth in the region.

MOLD-ERA through its performed activities facilitated in Moldova:

(a) further consolidation of human potential and technological infrastructure;
(b) promotion of the link between nanomedicine and biomedicine) fields;
(c) creation and consolidation of bridges between Moldovan national nano-network and EU partners;
(d) creation of capacities for broader participation in the future of Moldovan research groups in the FP7 and Horizon 2020.

MOLD-ERA consolidated the role of IEEN in Moldova as the linking unit between universities, research institutions, technology parks and SMEs. It has had a high impact in educating Moldovan society about nanobiotechnology, preparing prerequisites for the translation of nanobiotechnology science into economic benefits and improving technology transfer to industry as the basis for end products such as innovative biochips, intelligent biomaterials, analytical methods, and nanofluidic drug delivery systems.

MOLD-ERA was implemented through:

- Establishment of a nanobiology training programme (NBTP) that integrated the principles of nanoscale science and biology in research and coursework for the development of a new generation of nanobiologists in Moldova. This included (i) two rounds of theoretical courses for PhD and Master students in the fields of biocompatibility of electronic and photonic materials, transformation of bio-signals in electric signals and vice-versa, extra and intracellular bioelectric signalling, biotoxicity and related disciplines; (ii) practical training of young researchers from the IEEN and TUM in leading European research centres in the areas of nanobiomedicine, nanomedicine, etc. This training programme integrated with relevant training programmes in other Moldovan research institutions and therefore benefitted students in these research institutions.

- Extending the existing facilities at IEEN in the field of Nanotechnology with new equipment that was purchased to extend this research area to nanobiology with a focus on the properties and structure of complex assemblies of biomolecules, such as biochips, molecular motors and membrane assemblies in conjunction with the distinctive surfaces, rods, dots and materials of nanoscience.

- Training modules provided to assist researchers and staff from IEEN and TUM to attain a more efficient and practical understanding of FP7 rules and regulations and receive training to increase success in submitted FP7 proposals. This training was also opened up to other research institutions in Moldova, increasing project impact.

- Playing a key role in developing a high-tech culture and supporting integration into the European Research Area (ERA) through close collaboration and networking with excellent European research centres and industrial companies. MOLD-ERA activities influenced the management of innovation activities from the laboratory discovery phase to the process of technology transfer for industrial implementation.

MOLD-ERA aims to improve competitiveness, innovation and collaborative opportunities for Moldovan research institutions, to increase the number of high-quality graduates, employment opportunities, collaboration and business opportunities and thereby increase the generation of wealth in the region.

Project results:

Throughout its duration, the MOLD-ERA project met its objectives by carrying out the planned activities. These objectives have been achieved via a nanobioengineering training programme consisting of advanced training courses and summer schools, online lectures, purchase of new advanced equipment by IEEN to extend the research area towards nanobiology. The other activities included practical training of IEEN and TUM researchers to UNIVBRIS and MHH, as well as reciprocal visits of expert staff from consortium partners, dissemination activities and the International Conference on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering organised in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

(1) Nanobioengineering training programme

A nanobioengineering training programme was established consisting of 12 training courses with total duration of 250 hours developed by project partners. The courses include subjects such as introduction to biomedical engineering, basics of human physiology, tissues and molecular engineering, medical bioinstrumentation, digital signal and image processing, biomaterials, biocompatibility and biosensors, methods of functionalising biological objects with nanomaterials, nanotechnologies in medicine, spectroscopic methods for the study of nanostructured organic, inorganic and biological materials, contemporary methods of study of biological objects and nanomaterials, methods of preparing biological samples for microscopy investigations, methods of nanomaterial fabrication for bioengineering applications. Out of these, 11 courses with the total duration of 40 hours were adapted for the Summer School in nanobioengineering. The lectures were presented by professors and researchers from the partner-institutions, including Technical University of Moldova (TUM), State University of Medicine and Pharmaceutics of Moldova, Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, University of Bristol and Hannover Medical.

The nanobioengineering training program included two rounds of the advanced training course (15 September 2011 - 20 April 2012 and 12 September 2012 - 24 April 2013) as well as two rounds of Summer School (3 - 7 July 2011 and 2 - 6 July 2012). The two rounds of the training course were attended by 52 participants while the two rounds of the Summer School - by 65 participants. The gender balance of the attendees is also worth mentioning: both for advanced training course and the summer schools 40 % of the participants were women.

The participants were PhD students, Master students and young researchers in the fields of tissues and molecular engineering, medical bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, biocompatibility and biosensors, spectroscopic methods for the study of nanostructured organic, inorganic and biological materials, nanotechnologies in medicine and related disciplines. They represented such institutions as TUM, University of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies 'D.Ghitu' State University of Moldova, State Medical and Pharmaceutical University 'N.Testemitanu' Institute of Cardiology, SC 'Imunotehnomed' LTD, Scientific Research Institute of Mother and Child Health Care, National Scientific-Practical Centre of Emergency Medicine, National Centre for Public Health, ICS 'Health Forever International' LTD. The training course was approved by the Senate of the TUM and coordinated with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova. As a result of this the graduates were awarded the Certificate of the Ministry of Education of Moldova, certifying their competences in the area of nanobioengineering.

(2) International Conference on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering

At the end of Summer School 2011 all attendees of the summer schools participated at the first edition of the International Conference on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering (see http://mold-era.eu/13-07-11/icnbme-2011-generating-significant-resonance online for further details). It was held for the first time in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova on 7 - 8 July 2011, bringing together 150 participants from 17 countries and generating significant impact in the media.

During the last week of the second advanced training course, on 18 - 19 April 2013 all course students participated at the second edition of the International Conference on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering (see http://www.icnbme.sibm.md/ online for further details). The best of them (e.g. Corneliu Lisii) also presented valuable reports on their research in the nanobio areas that incited audience interest and were very well received.

(3) Online lectures

In addition to lectures carried out during advanced training courses, four online lectures were carried out by means of access grid video conferencing facilities by partners from the University of Bristol (UNIVBRIS), attended by all course participants as well as professors from the Department of Microelectronics and Biomedical Engineering of TUM. These lectures focused on the following subjects: 'Fibre-optic probes for Raman spectroscopy - from cancer to jet engines' (by Dr John Day from Interface Analysis Centre, University of Bristol), 'Nanotechnology for oral health' (by Dr Michelle Barbour from the University of Bristol, Dental School), fluorescence techniques for studying mitochondrial function in the heart in health and disease (by Prof. Andrew Halestrap from University of Bristol, School of Biochemistry) and 'Investigation of the mechanical properties of biomolecules using AFM and optical tweezers' (by Dr Massimo Antagnozzi, University of Bristol, School of Physics). During these online seminars students were made aware of other online courses available to a general and academic audience on the GWR network and beyond, as well as online learning tools, such as EdEx, Coursera etc.

(4) Expert staff visits

During the project, 5 short-term EU expert visits to IEEN were organised to help establish new methods in IEEN laboratories and training staff in using these methods according to EU standards and safety recommendations as well as in preparation of laboratory manuals. Visits included controlling the implementation of the new methods and taking part in workshops. Some of the visits culminated with participation in the ICNBME-2011 and ICNBME-2013 conferences, where the results of joint research activities were presented, while others focused on evaluating the possibilities of testing the GaN nanoparticles developed and structured at the TUM for biocompatibility and in-vitro cell proliferation using laboratory facilities of the Hannover Medical School. Also 7 short-term visits of IEEN/TUM senior staff were performed at the University of Bristol and Hannover Medical School to receive training in particular fields, discuss choices of methodology and equipment for the IEEN laboratories as well as organisation of the planned visits of IEEN and TUM students.

During the expert-staff visits, Moldovan experts discussed collaboration opportunities among the researchers of IEEN, TUM and LEBAO - Leibniz Research Labs for Biotechnology and Artificial Organs (an institution of MHH). New possibilities for collaboration in the frame of European projects were discussed and it was agreed to prepare jointly with MHH and submit to funding institutions in Germany a joint research multidisciplinary project with partners from Moldova. Research activities performed during these visits included: focused ION BEAM treatment of GaN samples on the system available at the University of Bristol with a specially optimised design for field effect transistors for bio applications to be processed at TUM as well as a number of scientific experiments performed in the laboratory of Applied Spectrography and Thermographic Devices and Rehabilitation Centre of the University of Bristol, on the samples of nanoporous structures of zinc oxide obtained at IEEN. During one of this visits, Prof. Tiginyanu presented at the seminar of the School of Physics, University of Bristol, the following report: 'FP7 activities and GaN nanotechnologies in Moldova'. All in all the reciprocal expert staff visits proved to be very beneficial, in terms of pursuing research experiments as well as establishing contacts for future collaboration.

Practical training of young researchers from IEEN and TUM at the Hannover Medical School and CDTR, Bristol in the areas of nanobio, nanomedicine was also organised. The main focus was in providing training to develop practical skills in specific areas such as living cells and proteins synthesis and cultivation, labelling and analysis. Through the duration of the project 7 student visits abroad were performed, with duration from 2 weeks to 2 months. Some of the research activities carried out during this training visits included:

(a) getting acquainted with equipment used in cell culture techniques, evaluating the influence of semiconductor nanoparticles that play a role of nanobatteries in stimulation of living tissue regeneration, studying the interaction of endothelial cells with GaN nanoparticles (T. Braniste visit to Hannover Medical School, 1 September - 29 November 2012);
(b) testing the toxicity effect of (micro / nano) technological materials on cells; testing the viability of prepared already biochip on cells (L. Sirbu visit to Hannover Medical School, 10 March - 6 April 2013);
(c) immunochemistry assay for the antigens CD31, Vimentin, eCadherin, eNOS, von Willebrand factor; analysis of the assay with the Zeiss inverted laser confocal microscope; preparing decelullarised gut tissue with SDS and performing cardioconstruct with the obtained tissue; in order to develop new protocols in testing nanostructures in vitro, the biocompatibility of GaN nanostructures in endothelial progenitor cells was tested (C.Lisii visit to Hannover Medical School, 10 February - 1 March 2013);
(d) temperature measurements of TiO2 nanotubes and obtaining important data from the measurements; local treatments on the sample in a controlled manner to obtain different forms of TiO2 crystallisation on a single TiO2 membrane (M. Enache visit to the University of Bristol, 25 March - 14 April 2013).

(5) Equipment and set-up

The nanotechnology infrastructure at the IEEN was further developed by the acquisition of a CYLOS 160 RIE plasma etch system and multi-gas Incubator biostation SANYO - model MCO-5M to extend research area towards nanobio related fields. The purchased CYLOS 160 RIE plasma etch system has been used both for the development and preparation of semiconductor nanostructures and for the training of students in the area of nanobiotechnology.

Three groups of students, including master students and PhD students from the TUM, have been familiarised with the possibilities of using the CYLOS 160 RIE plasma etch system in nanofabrication as well as with the principles of operation, technical parameters and the specific regimes to be used in particular applications. The CYLOS 160 RIE plasma etch system has been used for solving several technological tasks:

(i) development of surface charge lithography for the preparation of device structures based on GaN epilayers;
(ii) treatment of Ti substrates for the production of TiO2 nanotubes with homogenous distribution and controlled parameters by means of electrochemical oxidation of Ti foils;
(iii) pre-deposition plasma treatment of various substrates (Si, sapphire, GaN, etc.) for reaching a uniform deposition of ZnO nanostructured layers by means of various technological methods such as magnetron sputtering, electrochemical deposition, chemical bath deposition, metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy (MOCVD);
(iv) plasma treatment of various semiconductor substrates such as InP and GaP prior to electrochemical treatment for the fabrication of nanostructured semiconductor templates for optoelectronic and photonic applications;
(v) Ar+ ion treatment technologies for the preparation of ultrathin GaN suspended membranes and titania nanotube arrays for optoelectronic switches and surface-acoustic wave applications;
(vi) plasma treatment of ternary chalcogenide crystals for uniform nanostructuring by subsequent electrochemical etching.

After the set-up, a group of 6 students that attended the advanced training course on nanobioengineering were selected to work with the SANYO multi-gas Incubator and it has been used for the extraction of fetal cells from chicken embryos and for the estimation of the biocompatibility of semiconductor nanostructures fabricated using different electrochemical and plasma etching processes. The experiments were performed in collaboration with specialists from the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy of the Republic of Moldova. The results of investigations demonstrate the biocompatibility of the produced nanostructures. The preliminary results demonstrate that the number of cells have increased by 23 % (± 2 %) in cell cultures when interacting with GaN nanostructures under the action of external ultrasound stimulation. Morphological analysis and viability showed no differences between the control group and the group studied. These results obtained using the SANYO multi-gas Incubator suggest the possibility for tissue regeneration enhancement by remote stimulation of implanted semiconductor nanoparticles.

(6) FP7 training and support

Researchers and staff from IEEN, ASM, TUM and other research institutions in Moldova received training in FP7 provided by EFPC including: FP7 rules and regulations, joining consortia, proposal writing, Marie-Curie projects, financial issues. Since the beginning of the project 6 three-day proposal-writing training workshops and 2 one-day workshops on Marie-Curie aspects were delivered, receiving a very positive feedback from the audience. Workshops were organised by EFPC, IEEN and ASM and took place at the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy of the Republic of Moldova, Central Scientific Library 'A.Lupan' and the TUM. The workshops were attended by over 200 researchers, from various research and development (R&D) institutes, including national contact points (NCPs) for SSH, NMP, SMEs, Energy and Environment, ICT, Health, Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies, Institute of Applied Physics, Information Society Development Institute, State University of Moldova, TUM, University of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, State University of Medicine and Pharmacy of the Republic of Moldova, Institute of Power Engineering etc.

FP helpdesk support was provided to interested researchers by EFPC, on an ad-hoc basis: during workshops in Moldova and meetings with researchers; through the finance-helpdesk (see http://www.finance-helpdesk.org online for further details). More than 10 meetings with researchers took place to perform red-teaming of proposals, discuss potential collaboration and proposal opportunities.

EFPC also provided online training on specific subjects periodically throughout the project, 7 webinars dedicated to various FP7 topics of interest for the national R&D community:

- budgeting for FP7 proposals,
- eligible and ineligible costs,
- personnel costs,
- Marie Curie within Horizon 2020.

The FP7 training provided by EFPC contributed to a better understanding of FP7 rules and regulations by researchers from Moldova and also to increasing the number of FP7 project proposals submitted by the national R&D community. The consortium partners submitted 6 new FP7 proposals which have been initiated and prepared as a result of meetings and collaborative interactions with research groups from other countries.

The president of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, prof. G.Duca informed the public during a press conference, that 304 FP7 proposals were submitted in the last years by Moldovan scientists and 51 projects were funded, the success rate being 17%, which is a success for the national scientific community.

(7) Regional, national and European networking

MOLD-ERA's network of regional, national and European contacts increased, based on activities of mutual interest and new collaborative links. The international visibility of Moldova in nanobiomedicine increased considerably in connection with the organisation of the 1st International Conference on Nanotechnology and Biomedical Engineering held in Chisinau on 7 - 8 July 2011. It was held in premiere in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova on 7 - 8 July 2011, bringing together 150 participants from 17 countries and generating significant impact in the media. The event was followed by the second edition of the conference on April 18-20, 2013, with active participation of MOLD-ERA consortium partner experts. The events generated a significant impact in the media, being covered by major TV channels and local newspapers (see http://mold-era.eu/13-07-11/icnbme-2011-generating-significant-resonance/ and http://mold-era.eu/21-04-13/2nd-conference-nanotechnologies-and-biomedical-engineering online for further details). According to Google analytics as of 11 April 2013, the statistics of the MOLD-ERA project website (see http://www.mold-era.eu online) is as follows:

4 573 unique visitors,
- 9 023 visits,
- 50.53 % of new visits,
- 35 559 pageviews,
- 42.6 % search traffic,
- 31.3 referral traffic,
- 26.3 % direct traffic.

Activities of IEEN and TUM were mapped to leading universities, R&D institutes and other organisations in EU MS and AC. This was performed jointly by all partners, who supplied links to academic and industrial contacts in their respective countries relevant to the field of nanotechnology and nanoelectronics. As a result 'Knowledge map with links between IEEN and relevant national, EU / international organisations', which includes information about 35 organisations, was produced. The online version of the knowledge map is available on the project website at http://mold-era.eu/knowledge-map.

(8) Dissemination

Through the duration of the project, 4 newsletters were produced and distributed, showcasing project progress and achievements. Besides these, a brochure containing profiles and points of contact of IEEN, TUM and other relevant research groups active in the area of nanotechnology was produced. The brochure entitled 'Nanotechnology research groups from Moldova' is available online on the project website at http://mold-era.eu/material it was also printed and distributed at the relevant events: all participants at the International Conference on Nanotechnology and Biomedical Engineering (18 - 20 April 2013) received a copy of the brochure, it was also distributed to the large public during 'Days of Europe' organised in Moldova on 18 May when the booth of the Academy of Sciences was visited by Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.

Project partners participated at the relevant international events in the areas of nanobioengineering and nanotechnology, such as Materials Science Engineering Conference MSE-2012, Darmstadt, Germany, 22 - 29 September 2012 (see http://www.dgm.de/dgm/mse-congress/php/scope.php?lg=en online for further details); SPIE Nanotechnology Conference, Grenoble, France, 23 - 27 April 2013 (see http://spie.org/app/program/index.cfm?fuseaction=conferencedetail&conference_id=1042403&event_id=1042229 online for further details) SPIE Microtechnologies Conference - Nanotechnologies, Prague, Czech Republic, 17 - 20 April 2011; Symposium 'Nanotechnologies in Romania: a prospective study', Bucharest, Romania, 19 January 2011, etc. Over 10 scientific publications were produced during the project by consortium members, the obtained results on biocompatible GaN nanomembranes being highlighted by the prestigious nanotechnology portal NanoTechWeb.org in the United Kingdom (see http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/tech/49261 online for further details) by editors of Physica Status Solidi - Rapid Research Letters in Germany (see journal Cover http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/%28ISSN%291862-6270/homepage/cover/2012_6_04c.html online for further details), and by UNIMEDIA in Moldova (see http://unimedia.md/?mod=news&id=47157 online for further details).

A Special Issue on Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials for Electronic, Phononic and Photonic Applications of the Journal of Nanoelectronics and Optoelectronics featured prof. Ion Tiginyanu as Guest Editor in December 2012. The special issue under consideration presented 19 articles of researchers from Moldova, highlighting advances of the national nanotechnology and nanomaterials research (see the JNO issue of December 2012 at http://www.aspbs.com/jno.htm online). The international resonance of IEEN / ASM / TUM activities in the areas related to semiconductor science and technologies, including nanotechnologies, resulted in the invitation of Prof. Ion Tiginyanu to join, starting from January 2013, the editorial board of the international scientific journal Semiconductor Science and Technology edited by the Institute of Physics in London (see http://iopscience.iop.org/0268-1242/page/Editorial%20Board online for further details). Besides, Prof. Ion Tiginyanu was invited to be a Co-Chairman of the SPIE Nanotechnology Conference held on 24 - 26 April 2013 in Grenoble, France (see http://spie.org/app/program/index.cfm?fuseaction=conferencedetail&conference_id=1042403&event_id=1042229 online for further details), where he contributed with an oral report to Session 5: 'Nanoparticles for Biomedicine'.

Dissemination of the results of activities within the MOLD-ERA project was provided via participation in international meetings and via mass-media of the Republic of Moldova (TV companies, Radio-Moldova, newspapers).

Potential impact:

MOLD-ERA consolidated the role of IEEN in Moldova as the linking unit between universities, research institutions, technology parks and SMEs, in the area of nanobiotechnology. It has had a high impact in educating Moldovan society about nanobiotechnology, preparing prerequisites for the improvement of the technology transfer to industry, and implementing a technological culture in the society as a whole. MOLD-ERA partners participation at the International Conference 10 years of nanotechnology development in the Republic of Moldova, partially supported by FP7 project MOLD-NANONET (see http://mold-era.eu/19-10-12/international-conference-10-years-nanotehnology-development-republic-moldova online for further details)has brought a significant contribution to raising awareness of the nanotechnology area in the northern region of the country, consolidating the links within the national academic community as a whole.

MOLD-ERA significantly improved the quality of training and equipment in nanotechnologies. It promoted gender equality and encouraged women to attend courses and summer schools organised by the project. This activity led to increased job opportunities in Moldova for young scientists as well as better career opportunities, better work conditions and access to research infrastructures.

The successful realisation of the MOLD-ERA project increased the number of high-quality graduates (overall 116 participants at the training courses and summer schools), collaboration and business opportunities and thereby increased the generation of wealth in Moldova.

MOLD-ERA contributed to the building of infrastructure in the field of nanotechnologies in Moldova by providing technical training activities and equipment with the assistance of external experts from leading EU institutions. The purchased equipment - CYLOS 160 RIE plasma etch system and multi-gas incubator biostation SANYO - model MCO-5M allowed to extend research area towards nanobio related fields. The training visits abroad for Moldovan students allowed to develop practical skills in specific areas such as living cells and proteins synthesis and cultivation, labelling and analysis. These activities led to new types of research being carried out in Moldova, which in turn will lead to increased wealth opportunities.

Stronger links were created between scientific communities in the EU and the Republic of Moldova, including educational institutions and networks, contributing to the development of business matchmaking in the context of trade support. During the project lifetime, six new FP7 proposals have been initiated, prepared and submitted as a result of meetings and collaborative interactions with research groups from other countries. Therefore MOLD-ERA project resulted in increased collaboration opportunities for the promotion of new European projects, including projects in the frame of Horizon 2020 programme. Increased networking with other EU countries (United Kingdom, Germany) allows for a higher number of Moldovan nationals and education institutions to participate in relevant exchange programmes, thus ensuring closer integration of Moldova into the ERA (demonstrated by a higher number of joint activities and projects).

With regards to dissemination activities, MOLD-ERA created and increased awareness of nanotechnology in Moldova and its achievements at the European and international level. The project manager, Prof. Ion Tiginyanu appeared in several TV programmes (see http://www.jurnaltv.md/ro/news/nanotehnologiile-in-serviciul-sanatatii-7865390/# and http://www.jurnaltv.md/ro/news/nanotehnologii-in-moldova-340206/# online for further details), the project contributed to the organisation of the 1st and 2nd International Conferences on Nanotechnologies and Biomedical Engineering, events generating significant resonance in the media (see http://mold-era.eu/13-07-11/icnbme-2011-generating-significant-resonance/ and http://mold-era.eu/21-04-13/2nd-conference-nanotechnologies-and-biomedical-engineering online for further details). Within the project 11 scientific publications were published in prestigious international scientific journals, the results being highlighted by leading nanotechnological portal see http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/tech/44967 and http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/tech/49261 online for further details. Besides, a special issue of the Journal of Nanoelectronics and Optoelectronics, including articles of the researchers from Moldova, appeared in December 2012 with Prof. Ion Tiginyanu as Gest Editor, see relevant information disseminated by the InfoTag News Agency at http://www.infotag.md/comments-en/600181

List of websites: http://www.mold-era.eu

Project manager: Prof. Ion Tiginyanu, Institute of Electronic Engineering and Nanotechnologies
Tel: +37-322-274047, Fax: +37-322-274047
Email: tiginyanu@asm.md

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