JST-EC DG RTD Coordinated Research Projects announced

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The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (EC DG RTD) have announced on 30th August 2013 that they would commence support for 3 coordinated projects tackling the “Development of New Materials for the Substitution of Critical Metals”.

FP7This support, within the framework of JST-EC DG RTD Coordinated Research, will be provided as an activity of JST’s FY2013 Strategic International Collaborative Research Program (SICORP) and EC DG RTD’s Framework Programme 7.

Many rapidly emerging technologies in the clean energy, electronics and telecommunications sector face material requirements that are, or will be, critically affected by demand-supply disruptions. The research projects focus on improving our fundamental understanding of the development of new materials with unique chemical and physical characteristics, including catalytic, magnetic, and conductive properties, to replace such critical metals.

The selected projects are as follows:

  • NOVACAM: Novel cheap and Abundant Materials for catalytic biomass conversion” to be conducted jointly by Wataru Ueda, Professor at the Catalysis Research Center at Hokkaido University in Japan, and Emiel Hensen, Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. This project aims to develop novel catalyst technology based on the use of abundant elements in catalyst formulations for the conversion of biomass to chemicals and fuels.
  • HARFIR: Heusler Alloy Replacement For Iridium” to be conducted jointly by Koki Takanashi, Professor and Deputy Director at the Institute for Materials Research at Tohoku University in Japan, and Atsufumi Hirohata, Reader at the Department of Electronics at the University of York in the United Kingdom. This project aims to develop antiferromagnetic Heusler alloy films which do not use rare earth metal to replace antiferromagnetic IrMn films which have been widely used in spintronic devices, thereby reducing Iridium consumption.
  • IRENA: Indium replacement by single-walled carbon nanotube thin films” to be conducted jointly by Shigeo Maruyama, Professor at the School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo in Japan, and Esko I. Kauppinen, Professor at the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University School of Science in Finland. This project aims to develop high-performance carbon nanotube (CNT) thin-films to completely replace oxide semiconductors that contain the rare metal indium such as ITO and IGZO.

JSTA total of 33 proposals were submitted in response to the joint call for proposals implemented by JST and EC DG RTD, which closed in October 2012. Separate expert evaluations were commissioned by the two parties and conducted according to their respective criteria, which assessed the quality of the research plan and expected effectiveness of exchange, among other aspects. Based on those evaluations, JST and EC DG RTD jointly decided on the three successful projects to select for funding.

Support to both the Japanese and EU teams will commence in September of this year and will continue for 43 months respectively.

The announcements can be found on the websites of the EC, the JST and the Critical Raw Materials Innovation Network – as well as in a jointly-released PDF.