Trinity College Dublin has been successful in winning milestone pan-European consortia that will boost innovation and tackle health and raw materials, two of the key societal challenges facing Europe. The European Institute for Innovation and Technology yesterday announced the winning consortia for two new Knowledge Innovation Communities (KICs) − large scale partnerships made up academic institutions and innovation stakeholders. The winners of the EIT’s 2014 Call for Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) proposals are the pan-European consortia RawMatTERS (EIT Raw Materials) and InnoLife (EIT Health), bringing together more than 150 partners from 20 EU Member States.

In RawMatTERS, Trinity is joined by the University of Limerick and companies Aughinish Alumina Ltd and Boliden Tara Mines. The winning consortium has a broad coverage across the materials chain and is considered the strongest partnership that has ever been assembled in the raw materials sector. It aims at strengthening innovation in the sector by introducing new solutions, products and services for sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution. It brings together more than 100 partners from 20 EU Member States, including the KGHM Polish Copper S.A. from Poland, the RISE Research Institute of Sweden and the University of Milano-Bicocca from Italy. The consortium will contribute approximately €430M to the members over 7 years. Prof Lyons will drive 10 projects and is expected to bring approx. €25m to AMBER and Trinity College Dublin over the 7 years.

Commenting on its significance, Trinity Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: “This is a milestone for Ireland securing core participation in both EU multi-million euro strategic partnerships that will grow Ireland’s health and mining/ refining industries. Trinity College is acutely aware of the impact its research and innovation has for the benefit of Ireland, Dublin and society in general. Its participation in the EIT consortia is crucial for creating jobs in Ireland and will contribute to positioning the country on the global stage for high quality innovation and education. It will attract foreign direct investment, sustaining and growing Ireland’s health and raw materials Industries.”

Professor Michael Lyons, at the School of Chemistry and AMBER in Trinity College Dublin, who lead the Irish bid for Raw MatTERS, through the Irish raw materials platform IFOSTER, said: “KIC membership presents an unparalleled opportunity to fully participate in a pan-European world class partnership which will transform the important raw materials sector internationally. This membership will also give AMBER the opportunity to foster new, and develop existing, industry partnerships in the area of raw materials.”

He added: “This KIC will provide access to an additional key funding source, and generate a significant number of new high value jobs for professional graduates with a mindset for innovation and business in sustainable Mining, Recycling and Substitution of Raw Materials. We believe that this membership will allow us the opportunity for future collaborative applications for funding from significant sources such as Horizon 2020.”

It is anticipated that at full implementation the KIC can benefit from EIT with an opportunity of €90m new funding for which Ireland can compete. It is, by far, the biggest funding programme there is in Europe. EIT has a total fund of €2.7 billion.

Ireland’s effort to secure participation in these two consortia was Government supported through the Departments of Education and Skills, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Geological Survey of Ireland. The initiatives were spearheaded by Trinity College Dublin, which has worked on both KIC bids over the last two years.

Dean and Vice President of Research at Trinity College Dublin, Professor Vinny Cahill, commented: “We are delighted to see this positive outcome in the two bids. Trinity looks forward to working with our national and international partners in these consortia, which also have the potential to contribute significantly to achieving the national target of €1.25 billion in European funding from the Horizon 2020 programme. Both proposals are directly in line with the commitment to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the College’s recently launched Strategic Plan by promoting the creation of knowledge-based businesses; as well as its commitment to addressing current societal challenges, such as those posed by ageing and sustainability.”

Trinity College Dublin joins exceptional players from industry, higher education and research institutions of Europe including the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, K.U. Leuven, and Imperial College among others.

Trinity is the first Irish university or academic institution ever to be part of a KIC.

AMBER, the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin, has launched its ‘Design your nano gear’ competition, allowing primary and secondary school students to decide how they think nanoscience will impact our sports and clothing in the future. To enter, draw a picture of a new sports product, or item of clothing (sports or regular clothes), inspired by nanoscience. The top two winning entries (one primary, one secondary) will be brought to life by a professional illustrator and displayed at the Irish Science Teachers’ Association Annual Conference in March 2015.

The aim is to offer students the opportunity to learn more about nanoscience, and to use that knowledge in a creative way – by designing their own ‘nano gear’. Nanoscience is the study of materials on the nanoscale or 100,000 times smaller than a single human hair. It is leading to the revolution of materials and manufacturing, with application across a range of industries including energy; medical devices; pharmaceuticals; technology and bioengineering. ‘Nano in my Life’ and ‘NanoWOW’ resource packs, aimed at TY and senior primary pupils, are available for teachers and students looking to learn more about nanoscience.

Mary Colclough, Education & Public Engagement Manager from AMBER, said “We’re excited to launch this year’s ‘Design your nano gear’ competition and look forward to the many creative and innovative designs we’ll receive from students across Ireland. When it comes to what we expect they will design, the possibilities are endless! We hope to inspire young students to create something revolutionary as well as showing them the importance of nanoscience and what it can do!”

The closing date for entries is Friday 6th February 2015.

Images should be at least A4 in size and can be either digital or non-digital. The design should contain clear drawings / images, including a name for the new product / technology and a description (maximum of 200 words) of the aspects of nanoscience that inspired it. This text should indicate a clear understanding of how nano or materials science has impacted your design. Entries will be judged on demonstrating a clear understanding of nanoscience and the application of it to the design. Innovation and creativity will also be considered.

Competition Flyer

TEDx Brussels to feature ERC speakers’ ground-breaking ideas

Earlier this year, Professor Jonathan Coleman, Researcher at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics and AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre, announced a world-first Graphene Innovation which got international applaud. He discovered a new research method to produce large volumes of high quality graphene. Today, European Research Council has invited Professor Coleman to speak at TEDx Brussels, about his pioneering idea to an audience of 2,000.

Professor Coleman will join five European Research Council (ERC) grantees, including a Nobel Prize winner, to speak at TEDx Brussels. Appearing in a session of their own, the ERC speakers will present their high-risk, high-gain, EU-funded research. This is the first time the ERC is present at the event, which will gather world-class speakers from a variety of fields at BOZAR Brussels, Belgium.

The theme of TEDx Brussels this year is ‘The Territory and the Map’, and each ERC speaker will represent a different scientific field and nationality. From oceanography to nanotechnology to invisibility, the ERC TEDx talks will cover new ground at the frontiers of human knowledge. The speakers will give an insight into their research and explain how their pioneering ideas, supported by ERC funding, are being realised.

Professor Coleman, AMBER and Trinity’s School of Physics, said: “I’m delighted to be taking part in TEDx Brussels today and to be able to talk a little about our simple but effective methods of producing graphene and other nano-materials. Earlier this year, we added graphene to rubber bands, making them electrically conductive, opening up a host of possibilities for the development of wearable sensors, which could be used to monitor blood pressure, joint movement and respiration. I have no doubt that we will continue to make groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs which ultimately will allow industry to produce and deliver a truly revolutionary material globally.”

Referring to the ERC’s participation, TEDx Brussels Director Sam Lounis de Brouwer said: “TEDx Brussels is glad to count on the partnership of the prestigious European Research Council in this year’s edition. The central place it has gained in Europe by sharing and spreading ideas in science makes it a natural partner.”

ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon also commented: “The participation of five ERC laureates in this TEDx Brussels event is testament to the ERC’s ability to inspire minds with passionate and innovative research leaders on stage. TEDx talks are a most welcome exercise of popularising science and we really look forward to listening to a new strain of thought-provoking presentation.”

A series of ERC talks will begin at 2 pm with:
• Prof. Jonathan Coleman, physicist specialising in graphene and two-dimensional nanostructures based at AMBER, the materials science centre. He will show the audience how graphene can be made in a kitchen blender. (Find out more here)
• Dr Tiziana Rossetto, expert in earthquake engineering. She will discuss how by simulating tsunamis she can help better inform engineers and architects in areas under threat from natural disasters. (Find out more here)
• Prof. Ulf Leonhardt, theoretical physicist and author of the first paper on invisibility cloaking with metamaterials. He will demonstrate the possibility of invisibility with optics. (Find out more here)
• Dr Laura Robinson, is an ocean scientist whose research has taken her to the most remote places on earth. She will talk about how the ocean’s environment is changing and give clues as to what might happen in the future. (Find out more here)

In addition, Prof. Christopher Pissarides, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences talk at 9.00 am and take a fresh look at unemployment in Europe (Find out more here).

Members of the ERC Scientific Council will also be in attendance at the event. The ERC Scientific Council is composed of 22 leading scientists who define the ERC science strategy in Europe and act on behalf of the scientific community to promote creativity and innovative research in Europe.

TEDx Brussels is an independently organised TED event. TEDx conferences take place around the world and have their origins in the Silicon Valley technology community in the USA. The events bring excellent speakers and ideas to local communities, and the talks have had hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.

TEDx attendees can join us at the ERC booth in the ‘fumoir’ area of BOZAR and find more research stories. TEDx speakers Jonathan Coleman and Ulf Leonhardt will carry out demonstrations at the booth during coffee breaks.
Note to the editors

About the ERC

Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council (ERC) is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run 5-year projects based in Europe. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe. To date, the ERC has funded more than 4,500 top researchers at a variety of stages in their careers.

Under the new EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, the ERC has a substantially increased budget of over €13 billion.

The ERC consists of an independent Scientific Council and an Executive Agency. The Scientific Council, the ERC’s governing body, is composed of 22 distinguished scientists and scholars. Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon has been the ERC President since 1 January 2014. The ERC Executive Agency implements the ERC component of Horizon 2020 and is led by Director Pablo Amor.


ERC website -

Twitter - @ERC_Research
#ERC #TEDxBrussels

TEDx Brussels website or to follow the live stream -

Pictures of TEDx Brussels event -

Researchers at AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre, and the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, have developed a solution to increase the speed interaction between processor and memory in computers and other electronic devices.

Instead of each memory cell storing just a single piece or ‘bit’ of information, the team - led by Professor John J. Boland with researchers Curtis O’Kelly and Jessamyn Fairfield has developed a multilevel memory in which it is possible to programme a number of stored bits into a single cell. Multilevel memory increases communication speed by reducing the number of memory cells.

Whether your favorite app runs on a mobile phone or a supercomputer, performance no longer depends solely on the brain power or so-called processor speed. To function, the processor has to communicate efficiently with memory on the chip. The properties of the metal wires connecting the processor and memory provide a fundamental speed limit.

Professor John Boland, AMBER, explained: “Processors and memory communicate using the clunky language of binary code. Conventional on-chip memory stores information as ‘1’s’ and ‘0’s’, which reflects the presence or absence of charge at the memory location. For example, 2014 in binary language requires 11 cells of memory. It take time for the computer to access such a large number of cells and so the overall performance is impaired. The new process reduces the number of cells required.”

The scheme proposed by the AMBER researchers operates on a different principle; the resistance to charge flow, known as resistive memory which ultimately leads to more streamlined processing with fewer cells but with each having multiple memory levels. A particular advantage of the new approach is that it is possible to arbitrarily tune the number of memory levels within each cell.

Professor John Boland, AMBER, said, “The discovery opens up a host of possibilities for the consumer leading to smaller, cheaper and faster electronics. Having demonstrated six memory levels per cell, we believe the technology can be developed to display even more memory levels per cell. A memory language with greater density can increase the efficiency and speed of desktop and mobile technology by reducing the number of memory locations.”

Professor Boland concluded, “Further research will be focused on integrating this technology with existing industry fabrication capabilities, so that society can continue to reap the benefits with new and improved technology.”

The paper, A Single Nanoscale Junction with Programmable Multilevel Memory is available at: