Vanguard Initiative Launched New Nano-Enabled Products Pilot

The “New Nano-enabled Products” Pilot of Vanguard Initiative is working to launch three new demo-cases and support the existing ones to approach the demonstration-commercialisation phases.

On 13th of November 2020, the New Nano-enabled Products Pilot (Nano Pilot) organised its Annual Plenary Meeting. The event gathered members of the Vanguard Initiative network as well as interested stakeholders from European industries and innovation ecosystems, such as companies, startups, clusters, R&D organisations, universities, regional agencies and many others.

The objective of the plenary meeting was to showcase the recent developments in the three active demo-cases as well as to present three proposals for new demo-cases originated under the call for ideas that was launched in September. The mission of the Nano Pilot is to promote interregional demonstration projects based on micro- and nanotechnology with a high TRL (6-7) that can be relevant for European industries. It focuses on a range of several nanotechnology topics going from nanowire fabrication to nano-functionalization, over microfluidics to nano-printing, to photonics related microelectronics. The application areas of the demo cases in the Nano Pilot encompass a wide variety of markets including agri-food, medical technology, ICT & electronics, energy, automotive and transportation, aerospace, building and construction, among others.

The annual plenary meeting was opened by Mrs. Valentina Pinna, Project and Programme Manager at European Commission – DG REGIO, and Mrs. Viorika Dishnica, Coordinator of ART-ER’s Brussels Office who presented an overview of the interregional collaborations for innovation in the new EU programming period and several activities that the Vanguard Initiative has undertaken to support this process. The current status and main elements set out in the Interregional Innovation Investment (I3) were explained.

Next, the nanowires demo-case (led by Skane) was presented. This demo case has identified several challenges they are facing related to substrate, lithography, etching and characterization in the area of III-V (GaN) Nanowire-enhanced materials for high power electronics. These challenges are associated with establishing a new European Innovation Infrastructure (ProNano) as a pan-European pilot manufacturing facility for nano-enabled products. This resulted in several potential collaboration opportunities that will be further explored.

The second demo case that was presented is the NeMs4Bio demo-case, which aims to increase the usability of automated fluidic biosample analysis in low-to-medium volume markets by making it more accessible to innovative SMEs by reducing time from idea-to-product. The demo case aims to drive the development of integration technologies, by leveraging component technologies and contributing to standardization.  This demo-case is led by the Flemish institute IMEC and East Netherlands. Several specific application cases for  the NeMs4Bio platform, such as High-content cell cytometric analysis, bio-availability studies based on a gut-on-a-chip platform, patient-specific therapies using personalized patient cartridge, etc. were presented. A search for technology partners with relevant expertise and solution provider and end users with application fit was discussed.

The demo-case on Nano-Enabled Printed Electronics SHAPETRONICS (led by Wallonia) is working on the development of technologies to integrate functionally printed structures directly onto 3D objects. The project aims to develop a technology platform dedicated to benchmarking and exploring new printed fabrication process (subtractive and additive methods) to integrate electronics on large area curved objects. The Shapetronics business case presents a platform of structural and conformal electronic solutions, that can operate in severe environments. The platform covers important tools for 3D printed technologies, but they are still looking for new partners.

During the pitch session, several new demo cases were presented.  A first demo case focused on MEMS for nano-analytiX. It aims to demonstrate and deploy MEMS technology for the integration of analytical functionalities in miniaturized sensing systems by adding analytical functionalities of nano-enabled MEMS devices to microsensors. A second demo case concerns a Flip-Chip assembly for Indium Phosphide PICs chips. They are looking for collaboration with OEM-ers, end-user, OSAT’s and research centers that are interested in adding to the European integrated photonics value chain. A third demo case focused on structural health of composite materials. The objective of the demo case is to develop reliable, cost effective and large scale solutions to address structural health on mechanical parts and components and embedding of micro nano sensors within composite manufactured parts.

The Pilot Project on New Nano-Enabled Products is part of the Vanguard Initiative, a coalition of more than 30 EU-regions committed to supporting the industrial modernisation and the social an economy growth of Europe.


Author: Fabrizio Ciarmatori, Ph.D. & Els Van de Velde, Ph.D.

Organisations: ART-ER & IDEA Consult