The first objective of the present Action is to overcome the fragmentation of the nanofriction community by merging diverse skills into coherent interdisciplinary approaches, to boost interactions and collaborations among scientists. This Action will certainly lead to approximately 100 joint publications in the period of the Action but, more importantly, will make new insights emerge and stimulate creativity.
The aim of the Action is to strengthen, organize, and merge scientific and technological competencies in the field of micro/nanotribology at an European level, by means of the integration of research capacities which are nowadays nationally and thematically fragmented, especially in such a wide and multidisciplinary area as friction at the micro- and nano-scale. The better coordinated research will lead to innovative solutions to, e.g., the industrial problems of hi-tech companies, such as novel coatings and molecular lubrication strategies.
Early-stage researchers will be provided with broad international perspectives for their scientific career. The underrepresentation of women in the hard sciences is exacerbated by the fragmentation of nanotribology research: there are several women but they are scattered across the continent and across sub-areas with little contact. This Action will provide vital opportunities to network together, vigorously promoting the participation of women scientists in all Action activities. This will encourage particularly young women scientists who will have an opportunity to interact with all senior scientists, in particular women active in their field through Action events.
Exchange and dissemination of results are crucial coordinating the research among the units, advancing the field, interacting with other communities, and for increased visibility in the global scientific arena. This is crucial at the political level too. A problem which nanotribology research faces is that it is not adequately represented in European scientific policies and programmes. Effective dissemination and advertising of the scientific achievements in this field will improve the awareness of European policies of the role of tribological research in the advancement of science and technology.
Europe offers several schemes for funding joint activities, e.g. the Initial Training Network (ITN), under the Marie-Curie actions of the VII Framework Programme or new actions within Horizon 2020. Since national funding schemes rarely support international events and cooperation, European funding programmes acquire in this respect a central role because they cover a much broader scale. The present Action aims at developing strategies for the successful participation in future funding programmes and for preparing future proposals, in order to give continuity and to build on the scientific success of the nanotribology network.