INNOVAXN kick-off meeting or how to foster the competitiveness of the EU industry


A new Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND doctoral 5-year programme aiming at combining the use of X-ray and neutron based-techniques for industry has been launched.

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Innovation is the name of the game in INNOVAXN, and 40 PhD students (20 this year) will benefit from the expertise of scientists using X-rays (ESRF) and neutrons (ILL) to characterize matter driven by industrial challenges.

 “This programme will increase the synergy between large-scale research infrastructures and the R&D needs of the European industry”, explains Jean Susini, ESRF director of research and co-director of the programme.

The first 20 PhD projects have been selected by a panel of experts and the recruitment process is already underway. The subjects of the projects line up with the Horizon Europe challenges and the UNESCO sustainable development goals, including health, environment and sustainable industrial processing, construction, metallurgy, renewable energy, catalysis, new materials for aerospace, food security and agriculture, consumer products. “Ultimately, we expect to cover a wide range of societal challenges”, explains Mark Johnson, director of research at the ILL and co-director of the programme. The scheme will “bridge the gap between research and industry”, he adds.  

During the kick-off meeting, several coordinators presented the projects, which may hopefully lead to more sustainable products in the market in the long run. This is the case, for example, of the research on how to decrease the harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in diesel cars or how to create mechanisms of CO2 reabsorption in cement, which currently produces 8% of CO2 emissions worldwide.

The first group of recruited students will start their PhDs after the summer. Their training will enable them to get a unique insight into the world of academia and the industrial world. The University Grenoble Alpes is a partner in the programme.

“INNOVAXN, as the EU project ATTRACT, underlines the key role of European large scale research infrastructures such as the ESRF and the ILL to share knowledge for the benefit of society, to serve the competitiveness of the European industry and to create jobs, and to serve the development of a fair and sustainable future”, concluded Francesco Sette, director general of the ESRF.


Check out the INNOVAXN to know more about the project:

INNOVAXN has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847439