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Final Report Summary - CMA (Complex Metallic Alloys)

The CMA project was designed to contribute to a strengthening of the competitiveness of metallic materials for the benefit of European industries. It was due to develop within five years into a European integrated centre for the development of new metallic alloys and compounds (called C-MAC nowadays). This centre was to unite an appropriate number of specialised European laboratories to form an integrated body dedicated to the intelligent search for new metallic materials and their development towards technological applicability. Collaborating on a first challenging topic, complex metallic alloys, these laboratories were going to build up C-MAC, put it into practice and demonstrate that it is capable to embark upon the research and development of materials that could not be dealt with before.

As a matter of facts, the CMA Network of Excellence (NoE) has united 26 high-reputation institutes in 20 European institutions, representing a person year critical mass of more than 330 person years and 60 PhD students in 12 countries in Europe. CMA NoE has received a total funding of EUR 7.3 million from the European Commission. The total human resources allocated to the project by the partners is estimated well above EUR 50 million in five years. CMA NoE has carried out a number of integration and dissemination tools and has achieved a large number of breakthroughs in the field of metallic alloys.

CMA NoE established its internal research structure during the first year of the project. This structure was based on six Virtual integrated laboratories (VILs) in which more than 330 permanent scientists and 60 PhD students were enlisted. Virtual integrated units (VIUs), closely involved in integration and dissemination activities (missions, innovation and knowledge spreading, gender mainstreaming, knowledge management and higher education lecturing and publishing), have reinforced the action of the VILs.

The network activity was focused on five specific classes of complex metallic alloys, which were carefully selected for their potential to establish broader knowledge of the crystallographic structures, defects and properties of complex compounds made of metals with a view to applications based either on magnetocaloric properties, thermoelectricity, hydrogen storage, catalysis or reinforcement of light mechanical components. Used as a case study to test the functioning of CMA NoE, the basic study of one such family, namely ß-Al3Mg2 was nearly completed during the first year and a significant number of papers submitted to specialised journals.

A strong program for higher education was run by CMA NoE during its five years of existence. This program consisted on the one hand in the so-called Euroschool and on the other hand, the EuroPhD scheme. The Euroschool was organised at Hotel Mons, Ljubljana by Jozef Stefan Institute (director of the Euroschool: Prof. J. Dolinsek, JSI, Ljubljana) and has consisted in five sessions held every year during the last week of May. Five different topics were addressed, with an average attendance of about 150 participants every year. Lecturers came from CMA NoE partners, but also from companion institutions in the United States, Japan, Korea, China and India. The sessions, except in the fifth year due to shortage of funds, were all associated with a book published and marketed by World Scientific. As from third year, the University of Ljubljana awarded ECTS credits to junior participants in the Euroschool (under certain conditions). The EuroPhD program has allowed a dozen of students to perform their PhD on CMAs under the joint supervision of (at least) two supervisors in two different partner institutions located in two different countries in Europe. Long-term research programs could thus be undertaken within the VILs of CMA NoE. Most often, the PhD has benefited from another financial resource in addition to the European Commission funding.