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Letter from the Editor - 2014 October
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Letter from the Editor

 

In our third edition of the Graphene Council Newsletter, we feature a Q&A interview with Jari Kinaret, who was appointed last year as the director of The Graphene Flagship, the European Union’s €1-billion investment to make Europe a hub for the commercialization of graphene.

 

Of course, the Graphene Flagship is not alone in receiving large government investments to establish a graphene hub in a particular region, even in Europe. One of the largest investments has occurred at the University of Manchester where the plan is to build a £60m (approximately $100 million) Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC)

 

The University of Manchester, of course, is where Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were the first to successfully synthesize graphene back in 2004.

 

However, last year Geim expressed some doubts about the efficacy of government investments in creating a “Silicon Valley” for graphene.

 

Upon receiving the prestigious Copley medal from the Royal Society last year, Geim said during an interview:

 

"I'm not interested in going into industry or property development or creating 'graphene valley' as the government would like me to. It's a bit silly for society to throw a little bit of money at something and expect it to change the world. Everything takes time."

 

Indeed. And it seems that with billions invested that patience wears thin far more quickly than it should.

 

With the €1-billion investment the Graphene Flagship received they were given a 10-year mission to smooth the path for graphene as it makes its way from research labs to the marketplace: from the lab to the fab, so to speak.

 

To many observers used to seeing billion-dollar companies developed within a week after three guys started writing code in their parent’s basement, ten years seems like a long time. However, for developing a new platform material to enable new capabilities for established products as well as devices that we haven’t even conceived of, ten years is a blink of the eye.

 

Kinaret and his colleagues at the Graphene Flagship have a huge task ahead of them, perhaps none of those jobs more difficult than managing expectations of what they can really achieve in getting graphene-based products into the marketplace.

 

In this interview, we hope you can get a bit more insight into what it takes to bring an emerging material to the marketplace.

 

As always, we also bring to you the latest research over the last quarter in graphene and other two-dimensional materials and how they are being applied to areas such as electronics, energy storage and medical applications.

 

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