On Tuesday, June 16th, the Advanced Materials Pandemic Task Force Kicked off it’s a virtual meeting for members of it’s chapters in the US and Europe and several of it’s working groups.
AMPT Director General, Zina Jarrahi Cinker, Ph.D. kicked off the virtual meeting sharing the reason for everyone gathering, “We started noticing there was a lack of coordination, and lack of vision within the materials community when the pandemic started. All the calls were initially about putting graphene in masks. So we wondered if we should all be putting graphene in masks. When we went to doctors and nurses and asked ‘what do you need?’ They said, ‘our goggles are fogging.’ And we realized, we are trying to predict the needs of a community without listening. AMPT is setting out to come together as an international group to share resources and knowledge across the landscape to find out what materials can do to help the situation.”
She also outlined the three pillars which will ultimately inform a roadmap for how advanced materials can help people in this pandemic and for years to come:
The conversation from scientists, business leaders and many in between shed light on some key issues that AMPT is helping to address. For example, Dr. Carlo Saverio Iorio, Senior Researcher at Université libre de Bruxelles shared insights into why he is working on the roadmap working group, “Even if there is a solution like a vaccine, there will still be residual effects left after the waves of this pandemic which will present opportunities for science and business to solve and lessons for policy makers. Since we are all in this together, we need a large framework that can address this at a global scale.”
The theme of creating a framework was a popular idea, especially one that will take an international lens. Dr. Lucia Gemma Delogu, Professor of Biochemistry at University of Padua, Italy Chapter shared that the roadmap, “needed to go beyond papers and create a long-term vision, to show this is the right time for change, especially as It relates to grands and funding in science.”
Dr. Gloria Guidetti, a Development Engineer at Tetra Pak feels that a roadmap will help to identify gaps in the current solutions and to build trust in consumers and organizations in the use of advanced materials through developments like regulations and standards.
From the Applied Public Health and EHS Working Group, Kazi Tasneem and Dr. Baig Al-Muhit of Vanderbilt University shared that the short-term goals is to begin by understanding the needs and barriers of how can we connect the advanced materials community with the public health community. Although this connection is not yet well established, this working group is aiming to drive a better connection through gathering data on important supplies like PPE and anti-fogging devices in the library of knowledge. Beyond this data, the focus is on connecting the what the market is saying with research priorities will help to enable the right technological advancements
Dr.Vincent Bouchiat, CEO at Graphheal shared that his organization is focused on brining sensors to market which can support the various diagnostic and testing challenges. They can be as sensitive as to recognize pathogens on skin in large, populated areas like airports. Other industry leaders like Ray Gibbs, Commercialization Director at Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre at Manchester University, shared more on the progression and hurdles of advanced materials in this unique market. On their mask with anti-static properties, “It’s not always about being antiviral, and lot’s of products out there that haven’t been tested or proven. Many B2B customers are keen to assure their customers that safety is paramount – putting masks in the hand of customers will help to assure them of safety.”
To wrap things up, Dr. Laetitia Gazagnes, Founder of Impuls'Innov and member of the AMPT France Chapter shared, “I’m convinced that we need to work together to innovate openly, and we need to bring together high skill levels in different domains.” This was a testament to the cross industry and discipline work that AMPT is doing to accelerate more human centric materials solutions.
Luke is the AMPT Knowledge Hub advisor, brining together a unique blend of experience across business development, corporate strategy and various engagements in the advanced materials market. Luke was the business innovation liasion for the National Graphene Association in 2019 and hosted a series of interviews with key business and research stakeholders at the Senate Russell building during graphene hearings with legislators.