Goals and facts

SMART (Foresight Action for Knowledge Based Multifunctional Materials Technology)

within Priority 3 „Nanotechnology and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials, new production processes and devices“ of FP 6, funded by EC, contract no. SSA 517045 SMART (total costs: 576 k€ and funding: 478 k€, 2 years)

The SMART-Report is now available.
The report "Future Perspectives of European Materials Research" summarises the results of the SMART-project.

> Content of the report and bibliographic data

> Order the report

Materials research and science are among the main driving forces for innovative products and processes, however usually with long lead times. This aims at mapping of excellent groups and at identification of highly relevant research areas in the field of knowledge based multifunctional materials in the perspective of next 5 to 30 years. Therefore the focus will be put on the fields that are relatively new or that need still long time for successful technology implementation. The Specific Support Activity will consist of combination of forecast process including interviewing of experts aiming at scientific and technological relevance and of the analysis of recent foresight studies occupied with the aspects of economic prosperity, environmental and social change as well as public safety and security issues.
Following a broad screening the search will be focused on a limited number of highly promising fields (materials hot spots) by involving experts from academia and industry. On this basis road maps will be developed carrying information on scope, time horizon and bottlenecks. On this basis suggestions for the research needs and future actions will be developed and presented.

Expected impact
The progress in materials research and technology is one of the key drivers of innovation. The diversity and width of the field of materials research coupled with the strong impact of rapid progress in neighbouring disciplines cause difficulties in finding the best candidates for funding activities.

The study will provide an overview of the most promising research topics in the materials research for the next three decades. It will summarize and complement the numerous other studies and roadmaps that have attempted to identify the ways in which material research will proceed in the future. Due to the focus on themes relevant for European research and the fact that many of the preceding studies are slowly becoming obsolete this joint undertaking of the present partnership will provide an up-to-date basis for preparation of research actions for the future.

One of the main potential addresses is the EU, which is currently discussing basics for the 7th Framework Programme. Here, the roadmaps will be of assistance when drafting technical content. The national research activities are based on dedicated national studies. By their synthesis some new insights may be derived on this level.

Other interested recipients may be the individual participants involved in the research process, working in industry, including the small and medium enterprises, academia, and research institutes. Such a study will also be of assistance also to the ERA-NET activities concerned with aspects of materials research and with potential influence of progress in this field to innovation.

The involvement of many experts from different fields and countries will contribute to better structuring of the future research field. A more unified view on the important individual research themes and on their relative importance will be developed that can support the dialogue in Europe by better definition of the working fields. This process will be further enhanced by the workshops, where the European research representatives will jointly discuss and evaluate the findings of the study.

One of the impacts of the study will be also the identification of the infrastructures and techniques needed for the unhindered advance of the research. This concerns not only hardware such as radiation sources or analytical equipment but also innovative means for networking and education.

Contribution to policy developments
SMART will deliver an important contribution to the European Research Area by making the specific skills and deficits of European excellence transparent. This transparency is the prerequisite for a healthy competition and synergies between European researchers, enterprises and innovation systems. It could also give impulses for multinational governmental or regional research programmes by identification of “hot topics” in materials research on medium to long term. Moreover, the identification of fields of long term importance might have also a positive effect on sector of education. Last but not least, the benchmarking of European position in world-wide context might contribute to better definition of future measures on European scale.