Nokia bags EU graphene research money


Mobile phone maker Nokia will be one of the beneficiaries of a 1 billion European Union (EU) grant that will be used to fund research into the development of graphene.

The sum has been awarded by the EU's Future and Emerging Technology (FET) research programme, which recently announced plans to give European researchers 1 billion to develop commercial applications for graphene.

The material has been touted by the electronics industry for several years now as a possible replacement for silicon in computer chips.

The material has been touted by the electronics industry for several years now as a possible replacement for silicon in computer chips.

The material is made from a one-atom thick layer of graphite and is renowned for being exceptionally strong, lightweight and flexible, and for its ability to conduct electrons faster than silicon.

Nokia, through its involvement with the Graphene Flagship Consortium was selected by the FET to receive the funding, and claims to be "flying the flag" for the use of graphene in mobile devices.

Henry Tirri, executive vice president and enterprise vice president and chief technology officer of Nokia, said the company has been working with graphene since 2006 and has already identified "multiple areas" where it can be applied in modern computing.

"We've done some very promising work so far, but I believe the greatest innovation have yet to be discovered," said Tirri.

"Graphene happens to be an area where we, in Europe have all the important players in the value chain who are ready to use it in application...[so] this is a very efficient and promising way of doing research investments for Europe."

Jani Kivioja, research leader at the Nokia Research Centre, said graphene will not only open up new technology opportunities, but has the potential to create jobs across Europe.

"Not only does creating a graphene research consortium open up new research possibilities, it will also create work and jobs across all of Europe," said Kivioja.

"This kind of research is also an investment to the people that live within the EU, from an economy perspective."

The EU funding news follows on from the announcement last month that a UK Government-backed graphene research facility is to open in Cambridge later this year.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.