The European Interreg programme POCTEFA has awarded a grant of 1.2 million euros to the project, Trans-Pyrenean Node for Scientific Instrumentation (TNSI). This project aims to encourage and enable cooperation between SMEs and research centres based in the Spain-France border regions in R&D, innovation and technology transfer. In total some 1.9 million euros will be allocated to the creation of a technology hub for nanotechnologies, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing, highlighted by the European Commission as key enabling technologies (KET), and the development of three main areas of activity:
- Pre-competitive research: the SMEs and centres will collaborate on the study of key technologies, exploring their technical and economic potential.
- Fundamental research: products developed by the SMEs will be integrated into research projects, with a view to identifying improvements that will allow entry into new markets.
- Training: a secondments programme for SME employees and young researchers will deepen their experience base and smooth the transition between academia and business.
These actions are reinforced with an intense programme of communication and dissemination, which includes several specialized meetings and a summer school.TNSI is coordinated by BIHURCRYSTAL and is regrouping 5 research institutes, 3 SME, 1 university and 1 large facility, with the following regional distribution: In Catalonia, the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB, CSIC), the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and the ALBA Synchrotron (managed by CELLS). In Aragon, the Institute of Material Sciences of Aragon (ICMA, CSIC), theUniversity of Zaragoza (UNIZAR), and GraPhene NanoTech (GPNT, SME). In the Basque Country, BIHURCRYSTAL (SME), and the Centre of Materials Physics (CFM, CSIC). In Haute-Garonne, CEMES (CNRS). In Hautes-Pyrenées, ISP-SYSTEM (SME).
The project has been 65% cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra programme (POCTEFA 2014-2020). POCTEFA aims to reinforce the economic and social integration of the French–Spanish–Andorran border. Its support is focused on developing economic, social and environmental cross-border activities through joint strategies favouring sustainable territorial development.