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Materials and Advanced Sensor Knowledge Exchange

Final Report Summary - MASK (Materials and Advanced Sensor Knowledge Exchange)

International Research Staff Exchange: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES
MASK: Materials and Advanced Sensor Knowledge Exchange
Publishable Summary:
This exchange programme brought together well-established research teams from three European and three Australian Universities with complementary skills and knowledge, and extensive research experience ranging across fundamental materials science, sensor R&D, device prototyping and separation science. Perhaps even more importantly, these research areas impact significantly in applications critical to the future of society, such as energy generation and storage, advanced microfluidics, biomimetic sensing platforms, biomedical implants, distributed environmental sensing (air/water), smart textiles and personal health monitoring. The scientific core of the project was focused on how to ‘unleash’ the potential of fundamental knowledge of new materials, through concepts and devices that could meet the rapidly emerging demand for services driven by aging populations, unsustainable healthcare costs, concern for the environment, and the need for new technologies to replace fossil fuel energy sources. Central to the exchange programme was the realization that this process required a new type of researcher, experienced across disciplines, techniques and equipment, and with a network of established personal contacts in place. Through this programme, we have established body of such researchers, who will contribute significantly to future research and innovation, and who appreciate the need for strong alignment between basic and applied research, and the need for close links between academia and industry in order to ensure that ideas are effectively translated into innovative devices and services.
The Partnership and Scale of Activity
• Dublin City University (DCU) – Coordinating Partner; PI: Prof. Dermot Diamond
• Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines, CMP-EMSE (EMSE); PI: Prof. George Malliaras
• Abo Academy University (ABO); PI Prof. Ari Ivaska
• University of Wollongong (UOW): PI Prof. Gordon Wallace
• Monash University (MON): PI Prof. Doug MacFarlane
• University of Tasmania (UTAS): PI Prof. Paul Haddad
A measure of the collaborative activity amongst the partners can be gained from this summary (these outputs involve at least two of the participating partners)
• Research Visits from Europe to Australia: 22
• Research Visits from Australia to Europe: 54
• Publications in peer reviewed international journals: 60
• Participation in Conferences/Oral Presentations/Seminars & Workshops: 116
• Poster Presentations: total 12
• Training courses organised: total 13

A highlight of the project was the ‘Bioprinting for Wearables and Implantables symposium’ held at Dublin City University 14-15 May 2014. This was organised by the DCU team, and involved (amongst others) presentations by researchers from DCU and UOW, and demonstrations of the technology platforms in use by the partnership for research under this theme. A measure of the strategic importance of the symposium was the involvement of both the Irish and Australian Governments, through the opening address by Minister Sherlock (Ireland), and the attendance and subsequent hosting of a reception by the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Ruth Adler, at the Australian embassy in Dublin.
Maintaining and Growing the Collaborative Partnership beyond Mask
The partners have been very successful in willing significant additional research funding that will enable the strong links developed during the MASK exchange programme to further develop. Examples of these successes are;
• ARC Centre Award $25 million (summer 2014, 5 years): This will sustain close links between all three Australian partners, and provide core funding to enable future visits to be supported. Under this award, Prof. Diamond has been appointed as joint PI for projects with Profs. Paull (UTAS), MacFarlane (Monash) and Wallace & Officer (UOW)
• Insight Centre Award (Science Foundation Ireland, €45 million, 2013-2019) provides stable core funding for Prof. Diamond
• ARC Project Award ($400,000, 3 years, 2 PhD students, PI Prof. Officer UOW, with Prof. Diamond DCU) topic is photochemopropulsion, based on ideas and joint experiments carried out during MASK exchanges.
• EACH Erasmus Mundus Network (commencing autumn 2015) 18 PhD students will be funded and will visit participating universities: involves both Prof Bobacka (Abo) and Prof. Diamond (DCU)
• FET OPEN proposal (2015 call) jointly involving Profs. Diamond (DCU), Officer (UOW) and Malliaras (EMSE), €3.2 million: to continue materials and devices joint research initiated under MASK - focused on next generation implantable sensors for neurological science. Proposal submitted September 2015.
Involvement of Young Researchers
A particularly important development during the exchange programme was the participation of a number of young faculty members from various partners who had not had the opportunity to develop links previously. Examples include Aoife Morrin and Fiona Regan (DCU), and Johan Bobacka (Abo). These researchers have successfully built significant research teams and will increasingly move into leadership positions in follow-up activities under newly funded initiatives, some of which are listed above.