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Centre of Excellence in Multifunctional Materials for Industrial and Medical Applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NOMATEN (Centre of Excellence in Multifunctional Materials for Industrial and Medical Applications)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-01-31

Main aim of the NOMATEN Teaming project is to support growth of a new Centre of Excellence developing materials for extreme applications (high temperature, radiation and corrosion). The Centre will be assisted by its strategic partners: CEA France and VTT Finland. The Centre will carry out a broad scope of analyses, from computer simulations of material structure and their mechanical properties to studies of functional properties passing through advanced analytical characterization used for a detailed description of the materials structure.
Apart of scientific goals the Centre should also act as an example of modern organization of the research laboratory and a model of a national organization perfectly integrated within the European Research Area. To fulfill these tasks we are closely collaborating with an increasing number of research institutions (currently 7), industrial partners (now 6) and governmental institutions and agencies (3). Presentations of the CoE concept are spread among research partners pointing to the advantages and benefits related to participation in European projects.
The importance of these studies is related mainly with the development of new technologies for nuclear industry (e.g. IV Generation of nuclear reactors), chemical and power engineering where the increase of process temperatures and need for a synthesis of new products are of paramount importance and in the development of new radiopharmaceuticals by irradiation of targets in nuclear reactors or cyclotrons. These aspects cover the axes of energy production for the next generations, effective use of the resources on Earth and health. The importance of these topics for society is obvious as well as the fact, that these topics are undoubtedly valid today and in the foreseeable future.
Details of the work performed are given in Deliverables and in the Reports (Technical Report Part B and Implementation Report), here only a short summary will be given. The first part of the Teaming project was focused on establishment of the Centre of Excellence, creation of the operational procedures (mostly described in Deliverables), organization of the working space and employment of the personnel. An important part of the work was also the development of the internal organization of work in the Teaming project; establishment of the mandatory project bodies with their internal procedures, identification and creation of joint working groups including NCBJ, CEA and VTT employees for the entire project. During the activities, it was also necessary to clarify the legal issues related to financing from various legal contracts, from the EU project to the NCBJ's own contribution by going through the IRAP+ project. The research agenda was also modified and the first topics of doctoral dissertations were identified. The rooms provided by NCBJ at CoE's disposal were enlarged with new laboratories where SEM and XRD systems were installed. The activities required by the Teaming project rules were also launched: a website, hiring procedures based on the HR logo were developed, equipment necessary to popularize the project was designed and produced. Equipment in CoE offices was purchased and installed. Due to the current situation with the Covid pandemic, some activities had to be moved to later phases of projects, mainly training, visits to strategic partners and the organization of workshops and conferences. As a partial replacement of these activities, a regularly organized series of virtual meetings (webinars) was launched, which enjoyed great interest among employees of project partners, but also external research organizations around the world.
The whole NOMATEN ecosystem composed of three main elements: organization (NOMATEN CoE), administrative and formal support (NOMATEN Teaming) and research project (NOMATEN IRAP+) constitutes, jointly with SANO and Ensemble3, first of its kind novel research platform in Poland. All three platforms benefit from the key element: support from widely recognized research organizations in Europe. This support is channeled through the Teaming project and in the case of NOMATEN is ensured by major European research organizations: French CEA and Finnish VTT. The unique opportunities offered by this concept are: combination of research and administrative support, multiannual project permitting establishment of long-term research agenda, numerous possibilities open for young researchers (joint Ph.D. theses, technical visits, mentoring by high-level foreign scientists, access to top European laboratories etc.) and, finally, construction of the research organization based on the experience of European partners. These elements constitute thus a complete novelty in Poland that’s why the CoE is expected to become an example of an entirely new, successful research laboratory, integrated within the European Research Area and serving the purpose of a model for new organization of research in Poland. This new concept will answer the needs of the integrated approach to major societal challenges (such as energy and health) and will help other research institutions in Poland to adapt to modern, European methodology to carry out scientific activities on global scale in collaboration firstly with partners from 27 EU countries but also with the most advanced partners worldwide.
Young scientist from NOMATEN CoE working at SEM Microscope