Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany - July 17-21, 2017
Braga, Portugal - September 18-22, 2017
Trieste, Italy - September 23-24, 2017
After 18 months, NFFA-Europe is going into full drive. This time milestone was marked with the first project progress review meeting in Brussels, which led to a positive evaluation. Up to five calls have been opened in this period, in which worldwide users have been invited to apply to the NFFA-Europe nanoscience distributed offer being made available through our online Catalogue, Single Entry Point and being supported by our Technical Liaison Network. A slightly increasing average of 30 proposals per call were received in this period (up to 165 proposals in the first five calls). These proposals came from 28 countries, mostly from Europe (Italy, Germany, France, Spain, UK…), but including as well 6 Third Countries (India, Russia, USA, Japan, Chile). 10% of the proposals were closely linked to industrial users, which is an interesting feature.
At this moment, and taking into account the four calls with full evaluation statistics, the proposal success rate is about 60%. The remaining 40% splits as follows: 14% of the proposals were deemed non-feasible and 26% were not cleared by the independent Access Review Panel. In any case, the combination of the current demand and the resulting success rate is leading to an adequate usage rate of the capacity offered by the project. Moreover, 17% of the granted access has involved Large Scale Facilities techniques, which also points to the fulfilling of one of the original goals of NFFA-Europe: bridging nanoscience being done at nanolabs and the one being done at Analytical LSF.
More than twenty projects have already finished and both the user feedback and the provider feedback are extremely positive
All six installations offered (Lithography and Patterning, Growth and Synthesis, Theory and Simulation, Structural and Morphology Characterization, Electronic and Chemical Characterization, Magnetic and Electrical Characterization) have been demanded with a relative weight not far from the originally offered. Since we are still in a situation of low number statistics, there is certainly some uneven coverage at a deeper technique level or provider level; deviations that nevertheless will be closely monitored in the coming calls.
Last but not least, more than twenty projects have already finished and both the user feedback and the provider feedback are extremely positive. NFFA-Europe congratulates on this result, since it must be reminded that NFFA access is given by providers that are not necessarily user-oriented institutions.
User interest in materials and applications has been wide at proposal level. In this first calls, though, an interest in novel resist materials for next generation lithography, and 2D chalcogenides materials could be distinctly identified. Some of this user research was showcased in the NFFA First Scientific Workshop celebrated in Trieste in late March, which also highlighted the progress of NFFA Joint Research Activities.