Graphene Commercialization: Pushing Too Hard

A few comments from me are reported in an IEEE Spectrum article looking at the effectiveness of the billion euro Graphene Flagship program.

I’m not sure that I’m a critic of the program per se because spending money on basic research is the wellspring of later innovation. Where I do have doubts is in graphene commercialization when academics are trying to push technology into TRL 6 or 7.

If there is market pull then the technology will get there in the end. Large companies will take advantage of its potential and entrepreneurs will fund new uses for it. But no matter how well intentioned, technology push is a Sisyphean task.   

While it is hard to recall a single instance of successful technology push, it is also unthinkable to submit a funding bid for something the size of the Graphene Flagship without adding a section on graphene commercialization.  And as funding proposals are mainly reviewed by other academics it’s often a case of the blind leading the blind.  

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