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Graphene: a honeycomb lattice with the strength to change our world

Workshop hashtag: #GrapheneSTOA
STOA website

Written by Sara Cagol

NH / Shutterstock

Graphene, one of the ‘Ten technologies that could change our lives‘, is a one-atom-thick film of carbon. It is the thinnest material ever obtained, which yet is also extraordinarily strong – stronger even than steel or diamond.  On Tuesday, 2 June 2015, the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel will host a workshop entitled ‘Graphene in Europe: From Nobel Prize to technology, innovation and industrial competitiveness‘ that will track the progress science has made on graphene since it was the subject of research which earned two University of Manchester scientists the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics.

Graphene indeed stole the limelight in 2010, when Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded their Nobel Prize for their ground-breaking research on this material. From then on, graphene has been considered one of the most innovative and versatile substances available to mankind, and expected future developments may find application outside the field of pure physics. For instance, graphene is likely to have an influence on electronics, health, energy, chemistry and environment, photonics and many other fields. The workshop is an opportunity to discuss the benefits, and concerns, that graphene-related science and technology present.

The workshop will be chaired by STOA Chair Dr Paul RÜBIG, and Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) Chairman, Jerzy BUZEK will deliver an introductory statement. STOA’s Vice-Chair Eva KAILI will bring the workshop to a close. You can find detailed information on the programme here.

The workshop is organised in collaboration with the European Commission, and within the framework of the Graphene Flagship research initiative. The Graphene Flagship aims to bridge the gap between academic and industrial researchers, to take graphene out of the physics laboratory and into European society, generating economic growth, new jobs and new opportunities. This academic-industrial partnership covers the entire value chain, from production of materials to components and system integration.

During the workshop, laureate of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics, Konstantin Novoselov, and the initiator of the Graphene Flagship, Jari Kinaret, will showcase the promise of this revolutionary material. Speakers from science and industry will also present the challenges and innovation potential of graphene in their sectors of expertise.

Questions regarding the potential of graphene and graphene-like 2D materials to foster economic growth, and their impact on society, environment and human health, arise from different fields. Why is Europe investing massively in graphene? How can graphene use contribute to tackling key societal challenges? What should Europe do to ensure the safety of new graphene products? Should Europe go it alone with graphene research, or seek to gain more through international partnerships with the US or Asia? Might graphene use lead to a need for complementary policy initiatives in the future?

Throughout the day of the workshop, an exhibition will illustrate uses for graphene and ground-breaking graphene experiments, (Paul-Henri Spaak Building, first floor, area G).

STOA looks forward to launching the debate on one of the strongest, lightest and most conductive material known to humankind. Don’t miss out, register now!

About Scientific Foresight (STOA)

The Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) carries out interdisciplinary research and provides strategic advice in the field of science and technology options assessment and scientific foresight. It undertakes in-depth studies and organises workshops on developments in these fields, and it hosts the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH), a platform to promote networking, training and knowledge sharing between the EP, the scientific community and the media. All this work is carried out under the guidance of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), composed of 27 MEPs nominated by 11 EP Committees. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the EP.

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