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Handhelds Technology

Nokia Receives $1.35B Grant To Develop Graphene Tech 79

Posted by samzenpus
from the future-is-now dept.
silverpig writes "It now appears that graphene has reached a point worthy of serious, direct industrial attention. The grant money itself comes from the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), but the work will be done by a large non-governmental company with eyes on developing useful real-world applications. Smartphones contain many components with high potential for making use of graphene. From the article: 'Nokia is leading the electronic firms within the Graphene Flagship Consortium, which includes 73 other companies and academic institutions from a number of mediums. The Finnish handset manufacturer has received a grant of $1.35 billion to research and develop graphene for practical applications, with the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) providing the grant itself.'"
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Nokia Receives $1.35B Grant To Develop Graphene Tech

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  • by ltrand (933535) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:07PM (#42758053)
    Both the tech that comes from it, and the funding process model if it is successful. I wonder how much Nokia is going to try to solo this project vs. working with other science entities. This has the potential of showing the world either how to, or how not to, do research. It's too bad that the US and the EU can't work together in a more efficient way to develop material sciences. How much tech is being held up by the slow advances in materials development? Batteries, solar, next-gen computing, ect, ect, ect. At least someone is starting to push hard into this.
    • So the EU is giving Nokia 1.3 billion dollars develop and patent things with Graphene for it's own use?

      Yum. Tasty pork!

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:24AM (#42758515)
        Other articles I've read say that's half of it promised in matching funds, and even that isn't completely certain.

        I didn't know it was all going to Nokia. That's surprising. I'm guessing they'll make an amazing phone out of graphene, foldable, a trillion core processor, flies, and has AI... and then they'll kill it off and only sell windows phones.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I didn't know it was all going to Nokia. That's surprising.

          They're too old, big and too central to Finland's history and economy to be allowed to fail. It would be an embarrassment.

          Also the EU will be happy to piss Microsoft off. Now they'll have to wait a bit longer to pillage the corpse of their victim.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:30AM (#42759077)

          The FET flagship projects, of which this is one, have a budget of up to 100 million euro per year. The amount contributed by the EU will be considerably lower, as this number includes costs borne by the project members that are not reimbursed by the EU.

          According to the rules governing these kinds of EU projects, Nokia will be able to request reimbursment for up to 50% of their R&D costs in the project. The actual levels of reimbursment may be lower, depending on how the budget is allocated. The EU is actually pretty aggressive about ensuring that money is actually spent in accordance with the contract that the project members are required to sign.

          But way, there's more!

          The press release from the project itself states that the initial 30 months have a budget of only 54 million euro and involve 126 different research groups. We don't know yet what the project will look like after that initial phase since new participants and activities will be added through an open (i.e. competitive call). Based on my experience, the project will almost certainly use the full 1 billion euro, eventually, but there's know way to know how those funds will be allocated, yet.

          Nokia's share of the budget by the end of the project? My guess would be at the very most 50 million euro over ten years (of which they about half from the EU and have to put up the rest themselves), but that is just a guess.

      • by Zorpheus (857617) on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:24AM (#42758889)
        Even the summary says that Nokia is just one of 74 participants. No idea why they write that Nokia gets everything.
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Even the summary says that Nokia is just one of 74 participants. No idea why they write that Nokia gets everything.

          It sounds more annoying to non-Europeans, so you'll probably get a bunch of Americans moaning about evil European socialists ruining their economy, or something, and a bunch of us Europeans telling them to stop whining like little babies.

          It's a way of generating argument.

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Why shouldn't the EU help along what was one of Europe's premier tech companies and help give them an edge over the Chinese, Koreans and Americans?
    • FYI This is the second portion of the European funding with the first being reported on slashdot a few days ago, the Human Brain Project.
    • by clarkn0va (807617)

      It's too bad that the US and the EU can't work together in a more efficient way to develop material sciences.

      Considering that MS and this grant from the EU are about the only two sources of revenue at Nokia right now, we can't really say that the collaboration isn't happening. Whether it could be more efficient, well--

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:17PM (#42758103)

    Nokia is involved in a graphene research program along with 73 other companies. The research program gets 1 billion euros over 10 years. Nokia will probably only get a fraction of that money.

    • by EzInKy (115248) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:46PM (#42758229)

      The article says differently, but I suspect you may be right. Like many I don't regularly read articles. For the most part I find the comments much more informative, but with Nokia stories I can't help it. I just can't get rid of the hope that the maker of the best phone I've ever owned (N900) will come to its senses and market another and perhaps even freer one despite its deal with the devil.

      Anyway, a little searching turned up this Bloomberg article [bloomberg.com] that seems to back your assertion.

      "University-led research projects to investigate graphene and the functioning of the human brain each won 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) in European Union funding, the European Commission said.

      Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University will lead a project to investigate graphene, the thinnest and toughest material ever produced which conducts electricity 30 times faster than silicon. Royal Philips Electronics NV, Alcatel- Lucent SA, Thales SA (HO) and Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) are among companies involved in the program. Another project simulating the way the human brain works is led by researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne, Switzerland, and includes SAP AG (SAP), Cray Inc. (CRAY) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) "

      • by ltrand (933535)
        Yeah, while they say that they are incorperating unversities as well, the list of corps and their prior uses of patents is what makes me cautious about cheering this on. CERN may be the last organization alive that just invents things and gives it away. I really would like to see the US dangle large money like this for R&D, but with the string that it must be released public domain for all to use and enjoy. THAT would be a good use of tax dollars that is fair to everyone.
      • I would have given a arm and a leg for a N950 (N9 crossed with the N900).
        The bastards never sold it. Even eBay turned up blank.

        • by EzInKy (115248)

          If the device you are referring had a hardware keyboard like the N900, arguably its most important feature, I'd agree with you. The N950 was only issued to developers from what I understand, a truly Microsoftian move if ever there was one.

      • The FET Flagships will be 1B€ over 10 yr projects / programmes. Some of that money will come from the EU budget, some will be co-funding from EU Member States's national research programmes and some will be provided by the partners. For the purposes of discussion 1B€ / 10yrs = 100M€ pa could be ... 20M€ pa own resources 30M€ pa from EU 50M€ pa from Member States Large Member States may be in for about 10M€ pa per flagship.
    • by silverpig (814884)
      Yep it seems you are correct. I came across the post via my twitter feed, which led me to the THG article as the source. It seems THG got their info from Nokia, and while Nokia mentioned they were part of a consortium that won the grant, THG wrote it up as Nokia being the winner. I'll see if I can get /. to update the article.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    of the graphene money will be spent on No. 2 pencils with the "Windows Phone" logo.

  • No, it's "media," unless your talking about clairvoyants.
    • by msauve (701917)
      Go ahead, mod me down for "your" instead of "you're." :-)
  • I assume that anything they learn from this research will be openly available to anyone and not encumbered with patents?

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      Ya no. Also about 25% of the grant will be given to their board of directors as Bonuses!
    • by Elixon (832904)

      You wish. If you are an employee of Nokia part time assigned to this job how will you know who paid for your idea? Today you work on EU project, tomorrow you work for Nokia on related project... and boom you got an idea. Who paid for it?

      And after all Nokia is just a commercial company currently struggling for money so I have no doubt what will be the management decision.

      I rather wander if it is not just a case of disguised subvention by EU.

      • by EzInKy (115248)

        Nokia dug its own grave. Why they didn't concentrate on continuing to be the best phone hardware manufacturer instead of locking themselves in to a deal with Microsoft is a question for the ages.

    • by freeze128 (544774)
      Sure. Apple patents cellphones with a metal case, Nokia patents phones with a graphene case.... What does that leave for anyone else? Bamboo?
  • Seems as though this could keep Nokia relevant. I'll be curious if Nokia becomes a hardware vendor for the other cell makers though.
  • Grossly wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by ndverdo (799508) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:40PM (#42758209)
    this is a unusually grossly wrong submission having gotten to the /. frontpage. The gross project funding amounts to EUR 1 billion (approx. USD 1.35 billion) which is allocated to all the over 100 participant institutions, companies and groups - of which Nokia is only one. The effort is led by Chalmers University of Sweden.
    • Re:Grossly wrong (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:35AM (#42758917)

      Thanks, I reacted strongly to this myself. This is a very big deal for Chalmers University of Technology [chalmers.se] who are the ones who actually "won" anything here, and it would be nice to at least mention them in an article summary since they are the driving force behind the project. Nokia is one partner out of many.

      Chalmers have been at the forefront of experimental nano science in Europe since their big investment in the MC2 building [chalmers.se] with a state-of-the-art clean room, with a particular focus on materials science and microwave electronics. They have a theoretical department to go with this, and the head of the theoretical division, Jari Kinaret [chalmers.se], is the one who will commandeer this project.

      This months-old article [goteborgdaily.se] lays out the thoughts before the big project landed, where they originally budgeted for a ~€80M project. Now they actually got an order of magnitude more funds which will expand the project greatly, but it's still the same focus.

      A more recent article [goteborgdaily.se] that even more clearly lays out the circumstances.

      (CAPTCHA: "electron" - how fitting)

  • Just read an interesting article [phys.org] today about using boron as a possible graphene alternative.
  • Nokia does seem like a very adapatable company, starting out with rubber gloves and condoms, then diversifying into mobile phones (a totally different field), then into materials reaseach (which is a natural progression, according the the article).

    That level of flexibility doesn't strike me as particularly common.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They started out as a tire manufacturer. Fisting gloves and condoms came later, when the Russians weren’t satisfied with drawing happy faces on tires with lipstick, and calling it their wife. ;)

  • Carbon future (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LongearedBat (1665481) on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:01AM (#42758455)

    "When we talk about graphene, we’ve reached a tipping point. We’re now looking at the beginning of a graphene revolution. Before this point in time, we figured out a way to manufacture cheap iron that led to the Industrial Revolution. Then there was silicon. Now, it’s time for graphene."

    This is something that I've been looking forward to for various reasons: plenty of cheap carbon available, perhaps carbon circuitry will integrate better with biology, and I believe that electric conductivity between covalently joined atoms (as in graphene and nanotubes) is the way towards viable superconductors.

    • I'm by no means an expert, but I understand that the physics of superconductors is barely understood even by the most knowledgeable - covalent bonds certainly can't explain it, as high-temperature superconductors tend to have highly complex structures. The highest temperature room-pressure superconductor known to date is a compound of copper, oxygen, mercury, calcium and barium - and not a simple compound at that, but a precision-grown crystal.

      • True, and I'm also no expert, but we haven't (to my knowledge) had really long, unbroken series of covalent bonds with which to test superconduction in covalent bonds. With graphene and nanotubes we ought to get that opportunity. I suspect that in the case of superconducting ceramics/crystals, the smaller atoms bridge the gaps/holes between the larger atoms within the electron sea that makes up metallic bonding.

        When I said "believe" I meant it akin to a hypothesis rather than a theory. So I'm still looki

        • Long, unbroken series of covalent bonds... sounds a lot like diamond to me. Superconductors are complicated - there's something only vaguely understood going on inside them, and it depends upon quantum effects.

  • by tomzyk (158497) on Friday February 01, 2013 @01:11AM (#42758475) Journal

    ... but I can't seem to find the answer to my question in the article.

    What exactly are they going to be using the graphene [wikipedia.org] for?
    Is it going to be used for the actual conductive material on circuit boards?
    Is it going to be used to improve cellphone antennas?
    Is it going to be used to greatly increase the structural integrity of the phone casing and/or screen?
    Is it going to be used for some new smell-o-vision [wikipedia.org] capabilities in future phones?!
    Heat-sink? Transistors? ... Your own personal space elevator [wikipedia.org]?!?

    • by game kid (805301)

      What exactly are they going to be using the graphene for?

      Hmm...let's start our fact-find quest by reading the summary...

      ...something something Nokia mumble mumble Graphene Flagship Consortium, grumble blahblah...

      ...ah, "Consortium"! Something that involves patent pooling and money exchanges and no-poach agreements (that never happened of course but we'll just agree to the settlement because no wrongdoing) and lots of nicely- (or less-so) worded requests for even more money from governments and end users.

  • Now watch them waste it on Windows Phone.
  • On the short term, this could help shore up their smartphone business.

  • by advocate_one (662832) on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:43AM (#42758943)
    It had better NOT be the beneficiaries of this largesse... the corporations can have licenses as a reward for doing the donkey work, but the patents should belong to the people whose money is being used...
  • Would using graphene as a kind of laser printer toner, allow us to print out circuit boards on paper? or does it need to be in a structure, that would prevent the electrical properties of the fused dust being useful?
  • by longbot (789962)
    Who will get Nokia's share of this grant when they go under in a few years? I highly doubt they're going to be still solvent in five years, let alone 10.
  • I can't wait to see what Nokia does with graphene. They have proven that they are willing to use new materials and manufacturing techniques in their hardware to date.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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