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A push for polymer expertise in Romania

Many research centres in Eastern Europe hold much promise for European industry, but their potential hasn't been realised due to lack of resources. One project has set an example in shifting the balance in favour of these centres.
A push for polymer expertise in Romania
Eastern European countries have lagged noticeably behind in their participation in projects under European Framework Programmes. The fully-funded EU project 'Enhancement the Quality Participation at FP6 Projects in the Polymer Nanomaterials Field' (Enpona) helped the most important polymer centre in Romania take part in the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

The centre or Polymer Department belongs to the National Institute for Research & Development in Chemistry and Petrochemistry (Icechim) in Bucharest, Romania. The support initiative itself fell under the wing of the an earlier, larger EU project, 'Reinforcement of the competitiveness of the three candidate countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey'.

Enpona oversaw the upgrade of the centre's equipment and facilities to enable high-level research in nano-structured polymeric material. This also involved the training of a young team of researchers at prestigious EU scientific institutes.

In parallel, a website was established to inform stakeholders of new developments and outline the centre's science-related services, including equipment available and personnel expertise. The staff's knowledge with respect to nano-structured and hybrid polymer-based materials was especially highlighted.

Another aim of the website was to enlighten interested parties, the general public and policymakers on the different subjects of the centre, with material presented in different various European languages.

Overall, the project can bewas seen as a success story in how centres of excellence can be upgraded and taken to a pan-European level. Enpona brought important advances to the continent's industrial knowledge base and leadership.

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