TheLink aims to provide 15 postgraduates (“early-stage researchers”) with the scientific and complementary skills they will need for a career in the field of nanotechnology. They will receive a firm grounding in the scientific skills needed for their individual project work, and also a unique understanding of the interface between the different project disciplines (simulation, characterisation, processing and application). Training in entrepreneurship will help them to progress from theoretical to practical knowledge, and industrial secondments will allow them to experience different schools of thoughts and implement their knowledge in an industrial setting.

Local-level training
Each project partner will provide training to its recruited researchers based on their individual needs. This will involve:

  • Training through research (PhD expected)
  • Training in transferable skills, such as language and presentation skills or project management
  • On-the-job training and specialised scientific and practical training courses relevant to the individual project work of the recruited fellows
  • Visits and secondments, especially to industrial and applied research partners

Network-level training
Seven network-wide training units will be held during the project, aiming to provide the recruited fellows with the interdisciplinary knowledge needed to transfer their results into industrial applications.

Training unit 1: Basic training in simulation, characterisation, processing

The unique approach of TheLink is its emphasis on the interface and synergies between simulation, characterisation and processing. TU1 will consequently provide a basis and awareness of each discipline as input and output for the other disciplines.

Training unit 2: The link between simulation, characterisation and processing

The quality and the effectiveness of modeling and simulation tools to predict material and part performance strongly depends on qualified, reproducible and robust input as well as the possibility to verify the simulation results. TU 2 will focus on the interface between simulation, characterisation and processing.

Training unit 3: Project management

Having developed a thorough grounding in the three project disciplines, the aim of TU3 is to move the recruited fellows towards the application of this knowledge in a commercial setting. In an interactive workshop they will gain insight into interdisciplinary industrial projects involving nanostructured polymers, and complete a project management course.

Training unit 4: Characterization in processing of nanostructured polymers

This TU will provide both theoretical and hands-on practical knowledge of characterisation during processing, integrating the results of another European project coordinated by Fraunhofer ICT. In a hands-on-workshop the recruited fellows will obtain insight into the relationship of process parameters and material performance as well as the sensitivity of such a complex process. Work will also start on a market survey to facilitate the exploitation of the project results.

Training unit 5: Innovation processes in the field of nanostructured polymers

Developments in nanostructured polymers are rapid and ongoing. TU5 will therefore be linked to a selected conference in this field that presents the latest achievements in science and industry. The recruited fellows will participate in this conference with a project presentation, and prepare a paper on current industrial needs in the sectors covered by TheLink.

Training unit 6: The link between standardisation and market implementation in the area of nanostructured polymers

TU6 will provide the recruited fellows with additional skills needed for the rapid implementation of their results. It will include workshops on technology benchmarking, life cycle assessment, standardisation and the development of an implementation strategy for the exploitable results.

Training unit 7: Application workshop: market development with project results

An industrial workshop will be organised (target group: 10-20 companies active in nanocomposite simulation, characterisation, production or application). The recruited researchers will report their scientific and technological results. They will furthermore generate a training module which can be used for marketing purposes even after the research programme is completed.