Graphene has featured strongly in world news headlines in the past week, mostly due to the European Commission awarding a billion euros for research into the commercialization of the material. But the headlines have taken a strange turn, somehow changing from “EU awards a billion euros to the Graphene FET” to “Nokia wins billion-euro award to put graphene in mobile phones“. Oddly, the latter report has gone viral like no other graphene news has in the past, with all mouths voicing the same story: Nokia leads a consortium to develop graphene. In fact, Nokia is just one of many partners that will participate on the project and it is unfair to single it out as the owner of the project and sole beneficiary of the fund.
In the emerging forest of reports, it is difficult to trace back the original source. The story that infects the graphene internet space contains references to the official Nokia blog; however from that blog entry it is obvious that the company (at least officially) is not to blame for the hype that has made Nokia look like the owner of the FET, or even of graphene itself. We reproduce here the original and official blog entry (from conversations.nokia.com):
“Today, ‘the future’ just got a little more present, thanks to news that the Graphene Flagship Consortium, a collection of industry and academic partners – including Nokia – looking to improve the world using graphene, was chosen by the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) program, triggering an investment of 1 billion euros that will be spread over the next 10 years.
Measuring only one atom thick, graphene is classed as a 2D structure with super-useful properties. While thin, it’s also the strongest material ever tested, having a breaking strength 300 times greater than steel. Oh, and it’s also the lightest and best intrinsic conductor, too.
The Graphene Flagship Consortium currently consists of 74 partners from the EU, from many different sectors. Nokia is flying the flag for the electronics corner, as well as the mobile one, with realistic dreams of improving the industry.”
Nokia is indeed in the consortium of 9 institutions which are to lead the project. Only one other company is among the 9 that lead the consortium: AMO GmbH; the rest are research institutes and universities. This does not necessarily mean that the FET project will save Nokia, or that the company will benefit from it in any way – this will depend solely on the will and skill of the people involved from Nokia’s side. There are 655 research groups on the project, numbering about 9000 individuals, from 74 legal entities, with more set to join once the project gets rolling. There are many other companies in the project, including but not limited to those named in our recent analysis of the FET. See the full list of partners on the official website of the Graphene FET. Although it is not clear where the incorrect report is coming from, it is certainly causing a lot of hype which needs to be put into perspective.