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University and Masdar Institute launch joint Graphene research programme

21 Jan 2016

Research projects to highlight diverse application of graphene, from military grade sensors to desalination technology and energy storage

The University and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, have launched a research collaborative research program covering three innovative projects in graphene and 2D materials.

The three projects covering composites, sensors and membranes will be led by faculty members from both research institutions. The projects will respectively explore the development of novel low-density graphene-based foams for various engineering applications, inkjet-printed graphene micro-sensors for energy and defence applications, and graphene-enabled ion exchange membranes for desalination.

The announcement was made by James Baker, Graphene Business Director, The University of Manchester, and Dr. Steve Griffiths, Vice President of Research, Masdar Institute, on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit, which is being organized as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Week 2016 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Officials and faculty from The University of Manchester and Masdar Institute attended the ceremony that was hosted at the Masdar Institute pavilion.

James Baker said, “Graphene has huge potential for applications in a large range of sectors, and we are delighted to be collaborating with The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology on these important areas of research.

“The University of Manchester has more than 235 researchers working on graphene and 2D materials and many will now have the opportunity to further their research by working with Masdar.  

“Our partnership with Masdar Institute is crucial to the commercialisation of graphene and we look forward to seeing ground-breaking research and into developing exciting applications with potential industrial partners as a result of this activity.”

Dr Steve Griffiths said: “The collaboration with The University of Manchester reflects Masdar Institute’s commitment to supporting the UAE’s innovation agenda for establishing knowledge-based industries that leverage materials advances. The projects cover a wide spectrum of applications, in which both universities have expertise. We believe the research program being launched will yield benefits for the UAE’s economic and strategic goals and ultimately achieve global impact.”

Meanwhile, work is progressing on schedule for the AED345 million (£60 million) Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) building being constructed as part of a collaboration between the University and Masdar, and is set be completed by the end of 2017. The GEIC is partially funded by £15 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), £5 million from the Innovate UK and by £30 million from Masdar.

The GEIC is expected to accelerate the arrival of graphene products in the marketplace. Commercialization of graphene research has already begun from projects associated with the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute, including graphene light-bulb and graphene RFID tags. Therefore, current research projects may ultimately be targets for commercialisation in the GEIC when it is completed in 2017.