Working Groups (WG)

NETWORKING ACTIVITIES & COORDINATION

WG1 will strategically coordinate various network activities aiming to promote interdisciplinary communication, synergies, knowledge exchange, and access to COST Action tools. Annual Meetings will be organised, to gather all stakeholders and scientists of the different communities, by synchronising scientific sessions, WG meetings, courses, and end-user sessions. WG1 will also ensure that knowledge exchange is promoted through the Action’s events. WG1 will also work with the Management Committee (MC) to select candidates for local organisation of events and manage the applications for educational events. Moreover, the aim of WG1 is to promote the enrichment of the initial Network with the engagement of new scientists and researchers either from the industrial or the academic field, by considering the gender balance and the empowerment of young researchers and innovators. Within this WG, S&T core groups will be established for each one of the following WGs.

Group leaders:
Prof Evangelia A. Pavlatou,
National Technical University of Athens, Greece, 

IDENTIFICATION OF VALUE CHAIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF BUSINESS MODEL

WG2 will focus on the collection of all relevant data from the involved end-users and setting the key aspects and priorities that will define the backdrop for future commercial and policy developments. The main goal is to identify existing gaps in common industrial processes along with the main challenges that the industrial partners are currently facing towards technology advancements and the launch new smart products to the market. This information will shape the core S&T strategy to be adopted during implementation of EsSENce and define the ways to expand S&T fields by adding sensing properties. WG2 will work on innovative ways to involve and connect academia and industrial partners to practical sessions, where end-users and scientists/researchers will meet to discuss and identify commercial market gaps and industrial challenges that need to be tackled. Validation of S&T development strategy will be performed on the basis of new Business Models development and identification of new value chains in the relevant industrial sectors. For this, partners from industry will interact with academics/researchers to find cost-effective routes for large scale manufacturing.

Group leaders:

Dr Chiara Pernechele,
DALLARA AUTOMOBILI, ITALY

NOVEL CNMs & NEW PROCESSING ROUTES

Within WG3, new processing routes for nanocomposites manufacturing will be investigated. Developing the processing–manufacturing technologies in terms of scale up and value for commercialization will be one of the biggest challenges. WG3 will try to overcome issues related with the processing of carbonbased nanocomposite materials, through intense knowledge exchange between different labs by organising STSMs and practical exercises in nanocomposites manufacturing. By this, the main challenges that are faced will be overcome; i.e. dispersion issues of nanoparticles or chemical compatibility with matrix materials, alignment of nanoparticles in the composite matrix that can be critical to maximize unidirectional properties such as strength, modulus, and toughness. This WG will also interact with WG5, to study the carbon nanofiber-matrix interfacial adhesion. Scale up is also needed to produce large quantities of NMs for manufacturing purposes, as well as to define the best practices for nanocomposites manufacturing in larger scale, for real applications. Due to the future changes in the guidelines for the disposal of NMs, which no longer permit landfill or incineration in waste incineration plants, it will be necessary to invest in the development of new recycling technologies that permit the establishment of closed material cycles. The value retention can be significantly increased by specifying the material flows in collaboration with industrial partners from different sectors.

Group leaders:

Dr Raquel Santos,
INEGI-Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Portugal,

SENSING APPLICATIONS & SMART SENSORS DEVELOPMENT

WG4 is seeking to explore properties of CNMs in sensing & smart sensors platforms. Research in the area of design and fabrication of sensors and/or composite materials with sensing properties as well as in actuators to enhance standard inspection techniques, has become of great interest to a variety of scientific communities ranging from biological and chemical sciences to engineering communities. Several tools and techniques for detection, based on the latest trends in NMs, and micro- and nanotechnologies are offering new opportunities for the development of composites with sensing properties. CNMs are emerging as reliable and powerful tools for sensing various compounds (e.g. heavy metals, phenolic compounds and pesticides) being offered at the same time as efficient destroying agents with interest for industrial applications. Moreover, CNMs with optical properties (e.g.
carbon quantum dots) could be considered for smart sensing applications. Through EsSENce, knowledge will be exchanged between partners engaged in the NMs and nanocomposite synthesis and partners with expertise in sensors development. This integration will lead to sensing technologies with advantages such as high sensitivity and selectivity, rapidness, and cost efficiency.

Group leaders:

Prof Robert Böhm,
HTWK Leipzig , Germany, 

Dr Paolo Bondavalli,
THALES , France, 

DESIGN THROUGH COMPUTATIONAL MODELLING

WG5 is seeking to establish a community of European and International stakeholders in the process of developing and improving simulation tools in order to bring the development of CNMs and advanced high-performance composites into end products more successfully. It will stimulate the development and use of “standard” or widely agreed modelling protocols, particularly for those methods commonly used to characterise nanocomposite materials. It will provide a forum to identify the needs of the community considering both experimental characterisation and modelling points of view. EsSENce will place focus of attention in liaising with expert groups in the emerging field of Deep Learning, in the purpose of setting up collaboration avenues for the automated modelling of novel materials using advanced artificial intelligence methods. One of the goals of this WG is also to disseminate these design practices, to assess their applicability in industrial environments and to develop educational tools in order to spread them as much as possible in the large community dealing with advanced highperformance carbon-based nanocomposites.

Group leaders:

Dr Agustín Chiminelli,
Instituto Tecnológico de Aragón , Spain,

Dr Ivan Radovic, 
Vinca Institute of nuclear Sciences, Serbia,

VALIDATION OF FUNCTIONALITY THROUGH ADVANCED CHARACTERISATION TOOLS

The specifics of an investigation technique can be suitable to explore specific structural, physical or chemical aspects, yet may exclude others. Furthermore, micro- and nano-scale data complement each other, and their consistent correlation can enable novel perspectives and open new research avenues in all research fields where carbon-based nanocomposites could play key roles, such as automotive, medicine, environment or electronics. One of the objectives of EsSENce in this WG is to design one or more multimodal prototypes that will incorporate a variety of techniques that rely on complementary contrast mechanisms and which operate at different scales, which are relevant for the characterization of CNMs composites and to evaluate their performance in various applications. This multimodal and correlative imaging platform(s) will result in novel characterization frameworks that can enable multiple paradigm shifts en route to dissolving current bottlenecks that impede answering important questions of material science. Such systems will potentially be implemented during the lifetime of the project
depending on available financial provisions in the network and identified funding opportunities. Furthermore, an objective that is equally important will be to familiarize scientists conducting research in the synthesis and functionalization of CNMs and composited with latest hour characterization tools (e.g. imaging, spectroscopy, etc), by organizing periodic meetings between the parties involved in instrumentation development and the parties involved in materials science and application development. STSMs that will address the implementation of proof-of-concept experiments in terms of demonstrating the potential usefulness of a novel characterisation tool for carbon-based nanocomposites-oriented research will represent a major focus of attention. This will ensure a speedy penetration of novel valuable characterisation tools in this specific field of research and innovation, accelerating the progress in this connected area. This WG will be closely tied to the progress in WG5, in light of emerging Deep Learning methods for virtual cross-modality imaging.

Group leaders:

Dr Spyros Diplas,
SINTEF , Norway, 

Prof Elena Jasinuiene,
Kaunas University of Technology , Lithuania, 

SAFETY & STANDARDS

WG7 is seeking to collect the necessary information about the standards that have been developed (such as ISO TC229 and IEC 113) for the synthesis and characterization of CNMs and their composites, as well as all the safety issues that arise during the employment of this type of materials. The standardization process facilitates the transfer of composite CNMs from lab to the market. The extended use of CNMs in both research and industrial environments also demanded the establishment of safety rules for handling them as well as the monomers and precursors employed for their production. The goal is to examine and gather all the health and environment risks posed by the use and the production of this type of materials and hence put safety concerns in perspective. Fundamentally, risk assessment will involve an estimation of the potential for exposure and characterization of hazards.

Group leaders:

Dr Elias Koumoulos,
IRES , Belgium, 

Dr Sharali Malik,
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology , Germany, 

TRAINING & EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES

This WG will focus on training activities in order to contribute to professional development through advanced training of young researchers and other key staff, research managers, industrial executives, and potential users of the knowledge generated by EsSENce. Training is envisaged as that given by nd for personnel working in the hub. Different training approaches will be adopted at various levels:
a) Organisation of four summer schools for high-degree students and young researchers of both academia and enterprises with well-defined focus:
– Summer school N.1 (Y1): Synthesis of innovative CNMs composites
– Summer school N.2 (Y2): Modelling and characterization of CNMs composites
– Summer school N.3 (Y3): Smart sensing applications
– Summer school N.4 (Y4): Business of high performance advanced composite applications
b) Thematic Seminars will be organised in the frame of relevant events and EU funded projects and clusters meetings, in order to further the information and dissemination potential, while optimising the use of the EC funds.
c) STSMs will be also organised in each of the technical WGs in order to provide the opportunity to young researchers to create contacts and establish partnerships with experts across the world.

Group leaders:

Prof Cardon Ludwig,
Ghent University , Belgium, 

Prof Evangelia A. Pavlatou,
National Technical University of Athens, Greece, 

EXPLOITATION AND DISSEMINATION

This WG is in charge of internal and external public relations, within and outside the hub. It is responsible for developing and maintaining the web page of this Action, the collection of information from the scientific WGs in order to improve the exploitation and dissemination of knowledge from the academic society to the end-users. At the beginning of the Action, a dissemination plan will be drafted in order to ensure the adequate coordination between the different Actions and the tools used to implement them, both during and at the end of the Action. Particular focus will be given to the content of communication strategies so as to produce targeted information and to convey clear, simple and straightforward messages in order to ensure the dissemination of the results achieved at local, European and International level.

Meetings and events
National as well international Conferences, Workshops and other events will be attended from all partners in order to ensure wider dissemination of the outcomes. Dedicated Workshops will be also organized in correspondence with relevant events and by the end of the Action.

Publications
– Target audience publications: scientific publications, conference contributions (invited, oral, posters), technical magazines, general audience articles and others (CORDIS news), etc.
– Wide audience publications and development of specialist sessions at relevant Conferences
– Leaflets/brochures that will be distributed at topical events
– Audiovisual publications on electronic medias Periodic newsletters (one issue every year)

Media activities
– Advertisement in newspapers and radio: newspapers and local radio stations will be used to advertise this Action throughout its development. At the same time, radio messages will be broadcast so as to advertise it at a national and local level.
– Press conferences will be held before and after having reached the main Milestones, and before and after conferences and other key events, so as to disseminate the cultural approach of the Action as well as the state-of-the-art of good practices of environmental sustainability

Group leaders:

Mr Thomas Parissis,
STRATAGEM ENERGY Ltd, Cyprus,