Welcome to ENPONA web site


A) OBJECTIVES

B) WORK PLAN

C) PROJECT RESULTS

D) CURENT STATUS


A) OBJECTIVES

In order to achieve requirements of scientific excellence to successfully participate to the activity of European scientific community ICECHIM -Polymer Department will develop some relevant activities in a coherent strategy to fulfill following specific objectives:

1. To strengthen scientific ties with international recognized research institutions with interests in Nanosciences and Nanomaterials areas in order to reduce the fragmentation of the research activity, the dispersal of human and material resources and to promote the complementarities in FP6 projects.

From the beginning, when the Candidate Countries acceded to the Fifth Framework Programme, our institution had carried out a sustained activity for promoting international collaboration, by establishing fruitful partnerships. Because of the transition period ICECHIM - Polymer Department (ICECHIM-PD) got off to a difficult start, but our participation at international projects had increased rapidly.

The networking activities will be fulfilled with national and international research units with similar or complementary research interests in order to valorize our institution's expertise in polymeric nanostructures. A special attention will be paid to improve and to intensify links with some research centre in Member States (England, France, Czech Republic) which have already express their interest to develop common activities on various topics related to the fabrication of nano-scaled polymeric materials.

The centre will be an active promoter for coagulation of human and material resources of research units with similar interests in preparation and characterization of polymeric nanomaterials by:

- Networking activities in Romania and Balkans region;

- Affiliation to European Research Networks of Excellence;

- Organizing exchange of research staff with Western European Centres for identification of complementarities in research potential, and competencies, in order to elaborate common research projects.

This objective is destined to ensure the exchange of personal for developing research activities in order to joint FP6 proposals for the future calls in the NMP priority and to prepare future collaborative activities for FP7 projects.

2. Improvement of the competence of the centre through the organization of a complex program of transfer of knowledge by hosting foreigner scientist from international recognized centres.

The objective will be reach via hosting foreigner scientist for long and short term visits for training and/or more complex activities involving also research and demonstration. As referring to the areas of research and industrial valorization that will be open to researchers, the transfer of knowledge action intends to focus its main activities to some directions that could valorize the existing experience and national traditions, as well as the new trends required by European integration, as follow:

- new nanostructured materials and systems - obtaining and characterization of new materials structured at nanosize scale, understanding physico-chemical properties to better control the macroscopic properties;

- new intelligent materials for drug delivery, nanoelectrode and nanosensors;

- new nanocomposite materials with modified properties for food packaging application, aerospace and car industries;

- new nanostructured polymeric membranes with application in environmental technology.

The training activities will focus on specific domains link to the priority 3 NMP which our centre take into consideration for further development.

The objective will be achieved by recruiting experienced and more experienced specialists to perform training activities on the equipment existing in the host organization and common research activities. An important part of the program will be the training in complementary skills in order to achieve a broad interdisciplinary and complex program, focus for developing specific skills regarding writing scientific proposal and management of scientific projects.

3. Increasing the possibility of the centre to participate as a partner in FP6 projects by increasing connections with research teams with similar interests.

It is important for our centre to foster the identification of potential partners willing to participate in join projects on the third priority in FP6.

For accomplishing this objective a series of brokerage events will be organized, separately or linked to international conferences or workshop organize by ICECHIM - Polymer Department.

Every year of the project open calls referring to priority 3 will be identified in order to organize brokerage events with appropriate topics. A special event will be organized for identifying possible partners from SMEs. Another special event will be organized for Marie Curie Actions.

The objective will be also accomplished by organizing short visits (one week) of teams of experimented researchers and young researchers to the partner centres from MS and ACCs countries for identification of complementarities in research potential and competencies, in order to elaborate common proposal for FP6 particular calls. Special attention will be paid to visits in interested SMEs, in order to promote application of CRAFT type proposals, to ensure the superior finalizing of the research activity.

4. Development of human potential of centre able to participate in FP6 projects.

The objective aim is to enlarge the research team of our institution with young researchers, who will have the opportunity to be trained by bright scientist in the fields of nanomaterials through the training program and common research activities organized within this project, by including them in FP6 research teams, offering free access to information, modern equipment, and specialization in other European research centres.

Young researchers will be selected to be hired and the project will allow the increasing of their motivation for activity research, by their involvement in an "cutting edge" domain such as a nano-scale polymeric materials.

The objective will be also achieved by organizing training actions for young researchers in host institutions located in the most important Western European specialized centres, with high level equipment and prestigious teams.

5. Development of the RTD potential of the ICECHIM - Polymer Department in order to became the best equipped partner for the similar Western European centres acting in nanostructurated polymeric material field.

The objective is to upgrade the existing S&T material basis and to complete it with new equipment of hyphenated techniques with higher precision and sensitivity for nanostructured material analysis The capacity to perform experimental research in obtaining and characterization of nanostructured polymeric materials is an important measure in order to turn our institution in a "local champion", an attractive partner owing international-level facilities and unique equipment to ensure the broad range on measurements. The objective will be accomplished by buying complementary equipment to the existing one, allowing ultra-sophisticated determination. The upgrading and renewal of equipment is destined to raise the complementary with existing partners and to allow the enlargements of the nanomaterials research area.

B) WORK PLAN

WP1. Reinforcement of cooperation with European Research Centres involved in studies of nanostructured materials

The main objectives of this workpackage are networking activities through short-visits from ICECHIM-PD to the chosen European research institutions aimed to increase the collaborations with other universities, research institutions and centres in the nano-science field, examining the possibilities of using the available research facilities in different Research Institutions and in ICECHIM-PD for common investigations in the topic "Polymer Nanomaterials" which could be developed in future common research proposals in FP6 and FP7 and to improve the experience and know-how dissemination and co-ordination at international, EU, national and regional level of nanomaterials and related activities.

Short visits of the scientists of ICECHIM-PD to the other European research institutions are planned to get access to measurement facilities of partner centres. That will help us to estimate how can be optimized the existent research facilities for nanomaterials synthesis and characterization. Besides, the short visits may include some preliminary investigation of each of the three different aspects of nanomaterials processing, structure and properties.

Contacts with scientists in other research centers will be also helpful for us by improving our skills in preparing future proposals for FP6 and FP7 programmes.

These short visits will strengthen the scientific collaboration in the European context.

WP2. Enhancement of research competence in the Nano-Science field of ICECHIM-PD

This workpackage consists from short-visits of foreign leading specialists to ICECHIM-PD aimed to train scientists of our department in Nano-science-related topics and to make up channels of scientific information exchange between ICECHIM-PD and other chosen European research institutions.

Our option is to organize a larger number of shorter periods of training (3-6 person-months) in order to cover wider research topics. We expect that the quality of the activity will be ensured both by the experience and the competence of the personnel in our institution and the high competence of the recruited specialists. For all the researchers recruited our organization will envisage to offer a very family-friendly environment with built-in flexibility to accommodate the recruited fellow and his/her family.

In ENPONA project we have dedicated managerial organism responsible for ensuring equality in employment and support the governmental policy for advancement of women in science, engineering and higher education.

The participants in the project will be trained in two different modules focused on the two major envisaged nanomaterials research directions (organic-inorganic hybrids and core-shell nanoparticles). In this way we expect that researchers will have a clear appreciation of the state of the art on the approached field and will be in a position to apply their training and skills in the nanomaterials topics/tasks.

Short-term visits to ICECHIM-PD are planned which will enhance by exchange of knowledge the research competence and professional abilities of the Center's researchers.

Beside the specialized knowledge on the nanomaterials synthesis, structure and properties, the planed visits of leading scientists from abroad will focus on useful discussions and advices for writing good proposals for the future calls of FP6 and FP7.

WP3. Increasing active participation of ICECHIM Polymer Department in FP6th and FP7th projects

The objective of this worpackage is to ensure the increasing participation of ICECHIM in FP6 projects by making possible identification of suitable partners. The worpackage contains two types of activities, concerning organization of brokerage events and consequently, organization of short visits to those institutions that express their interest in the former events.

The purpose of the brokerage events is to create a meeting point for science and technology, development and implementation and to raise awareness about the current and future funding opportunities within the European Community. It will offer a forum for meeting experts from European institutes and companies equally active in the nanomaterials field who also value cooperation with institutes from Romania and other countries and the target will be particularly those who have won an FP5 or FP6 proposal. The brokerage sections will concentrate during few days of discussions a large number of participants (50 to 75) that are invited to be informed about the FP6 actions and to join to propose projects or to be partners on new projects.

The sessions will be organized in correlation with FP6 Call Calendar, aiming to prepare and extend the participation in new project proposals.

Key persons, both researchers and managers, will be invited and will contribute to attract more experienced people to join in the campaign of new FP6 projects.

All events are designed to assist European companies, universities, research institutes and the public sector in finding partners for product or project development, manufacturing and licensing agreements, joint ventures or bilateral partnerships.

The high lever representatives from the Romanian Government (Ministry of Education, Research and Youth, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Ministry of Public Administration etc) will be invited as the potential users of the research projects.

The results of brokerage events (new partners, new intents to submit proposals, new proposal ideas) will be reinforced by shorts visits to the research institution which express their interest in a common research work under FP6th programs.

These objectives will be accomplished by some activities such as short visits in possible partnership locations, with discussions and partnership agreements. The sessions will bring new collaboration ideas to enrich the spectrum of FP6 proposals. The participants will be skilled project makers that can provide ideas and can trace the sketch for another project. All the sessions will be prepared aiming a good and intensive work during the stage.

WP4. Increasing of human potential involved in participation of in FP6th and FP7th projects

The main objective of this workpackage is the possibility to extend the expertise of the Romanian researchers and educational staff in the new cutting-edge area particularly focused on nano-science domains.

ICECHIM will extend its team by employing young researchers who will work on nano- & bio-materials. Because the bio- & nano-materials research has an interdisciplinary base, the new team will cover a broad range of disciplines from physics, chemistry, material science, environment control, biology and many experimental techniques and technologies (various types of microscopy, nano-fabrication methods, laser technologies, surface physics and chemistry methods).

The managerial team, through Gender & Ethical Issues Committee, will pay a special attention in the recruitment to remove any unfair discrimination.

The complementary type of activities in this worckpackage is devoted to training of young researchers, first by attracting more young scientists toward the nanomaterials and nanotechnology research field.

The training of young specialists will include the following activities:

- general research training for all interested researchers in the host institutions in advanced nano-science domains such as: obtaining and characterization of nanostructured polymers, of nanoparticles and of nanocomposite materials, nanotechnology in biomedicine, etc.

- specific training courses for selected research groups through a comprehensive collection of specialized technical courses

- training on equipment and facilities existing in our institution and partner's laboratories and to provide special methods used in nano-science field, such as advanced microscopy methods for characterization of nanostructured materials; multiphoton CFL microscopy applied in characterization of soft biomaterials, nanoidentation etc.

WP5. Increase of the material potential of the ICECHIM Polymer Department for nanostructured materials synthesis and characterisation

In order to increase the research potential of the ICECHIM for nanostructured materials synthesis and characterization and to extend the centre capabilities in obtaining and characterization of nanomaterials we intent to upgrade and renew the existing equipment, by acquiring complementary equipment in order to extend the biomaterials and nanomaterials research area.

C) PROJECT RESULTS

The ICECHIM-PD enlarged the team by employing 7 young researchers who are subjected to an intensive training programme to work on specific topics in nanoscale structured polymeric materials. Their background are chemistry, chemical engineering, physics and material engineering.

An important number (57 %) of the recruited young researchers are women, which reduce the initial unbalanced gender distribution in our department.

Specific activities for training young researcher or to complete the expertise of more experienced ones with new skills and extend their competence in nanoscience field is now performed as short stages for training in new research methods, new experimental techniques and production procedures. Three young researchers have accomplished short stages in prestigeous and well equipped laboratories from France and Slovakia, working on nanoscience field.

Short visits of the scientists of our team to the other European research institutions were organized at "Ecole Superieure de Chimie Physique Electronique de Lyon" France and "Polymer Institute, Slovak Academy of Science", Slovakia to strengthen the existing ties and develop future collaborations with these European research institutions with interests in the nanoscience field.

The upgrading and renewal of existing research facilities was carried out by purchasing some highest performance instruments, complementary to our existing facilities. As a results, ICECHIM-PD have now a fully equipped unit to prepare and characterize hybrid polymeric nanomaterials. An intensive training session of the own staff on these advanced instrumental methods was performed for operation on instruments on various samples.

In order to increase the real chances of our team to participate to European funded projects, a coherent brokerage activity is still ongoing, consisting in brokerage events, based on the analysis of Expressions of Interest (EoI) for FP7 and will be focused on specific activities for integration of the last Candidate Countries in ERA.

D) CURRENT STATUS

- Hiring activity - (Completed)

- Purchasing equipment - (Completed)

- Brokerage events - (Completed)

- Short visit to European research centres - (Completed)

- Training programme - (Completed)