The non-confidential output of the Network project included a printed Biomateria Newsletter, published as 4 issues between 1998 and 1999, and the Internet-based web site (http://www.biomateria.com), which has carried further issues of the Biomateria Newsletter. The Biomateria web site also carries information on forthcoming conferences in the biomaterials and devices areas and digests of information on RTD and commercial developments in these areas. The site also provides a service to people with enquiries about materials and devices. In addition, the co-ordinator of the Network organised seminars and workshops and spoke at independent conferences in the field of materials RTD and devices.
The confidential outcome of the project includes monitoring reports on RTD projects participating in the Network, and other special reports carried out at the request of the EC Scientific Officer.
TRA-N PROJECT OVERVIEW
The TRA-N European Biomaterials Network is a project funded by the EC, designed to aid the monitoring, evaluation and
exploitation aspects of a number of Brite-Euram and SMT
projects in the field of new materials for bio-medicine.
Whilst the participating projects have the common goal of
improving the range and safety of materials available for
medical use, their specific targets and market sectors are
diverse. This diversity increases the challenge for efficient and mutually beneficial technology interactions, dissemination and development of appropriate technology-protection and
To maximise the potential for these actions, the European
Biomaterials Network has been established to share knowledge and experience relating to the manufacture, modification and/or testing of materials for use as medical implants or devices. Given the already widespread information available pertaining to the Network and the strength of support for the initiative, it is being directed immediately towards the implementation
phase. The TRA-N is divided into three natural clusters; hard materials, soft materials, and methods of testing and
manufacture, to take into account the overall aims of the
existing EC-funded projects and permit a further level of focus and complementarity whilst assuring effective co-ordination of activities. The network itself establishes a system for
monitoring technical and financial progress within the projects against targets agreed with the EC, and maximising the
potential for greater awareness of, and fruitful interaction with, related activities.
The key objectives of the network are:
* to monitor progress within the identified projects against agreed targets
* to maximise communication , awareness
(dissemination/technology transfer) and fruitful interaction within, and between, projects and related activities of issues such as the current regulatory position and effect on the
biomaterials industry, the role of appropriate Standards,
EUROPEAN DIMENSION AND PARTNERSHIP
The TRA-N Thematic Network is anticipated to have a significant European and internationalimpact. To enhance and maintain competitiveness in the world market for materials components, materials and finished products, EU industry (especially SMEs) must have the ability to develop new quality products of higher added-value and must be involved in materials research that
provides new solutions to problems, new ways of approaching
challenges in the market, and optimises the application of
current technologies. The clusters proposed and the individual projects themselves are aimed at addressing difficult problems or targeting significant advances in the devices area.
Successful implementation of the network will contribute to the EU's competitive position.
The projects incorporated into the TRA-N are already embedded within the EC's IMT Programme and its industrial objectives. Each project itself includes contractors, partners or members from industry, especially SMEs, who have endorsed the project with their interest and/or funding. Many of those elements
pointed out above are included in these projects and fulfill the future strategic needs of EU industry.
The potential sales to be gained by European companies that can exploit new technologies which overcome existing material and test problems are clearly large. These technology gaps include the need for materials for medical use that have better shortand long-term biocompatibility profiles and that are based on a greater understanding of the interaction between body tissues and materials. Such an improved understanding will drive the production of "second generation" materials for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. This necessitates further
development of the following:
* materials manufacturing and processing technologies
* surface engineering technologies
* techniques for imaging materials and biomolecules on
* computer models relating materials composition,
microstructure, process parameters and end product performance properties
* improved data analysis, compilation and
cataloguing/storage as databases for technology
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