Solar cells. Water desalination. Dialysis. Sensors. Oil extraction. Those are just some of the potential applications that scientists envision for graphene and related materials. The Graphene Flagship, which kicked off in mid-October, is one of the European Commission’s two future and emerging technologies flagship projects—well-funded, decade-long, multidisciplinary efforts with grand ambitions for science and society. (See the story on the other flagship, the Human Brain Project, on page 20.)

Graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms, is strong, lightweight, flexible, and transparent, and it is a good conductor of heat and electricity. “The challenge is to bring the unique properties from the lab to the marketplace,” says Andrea Ferrari, a professor of nanotechnology at the University of Cambridge and chair of the flagship’s executive board. “We want to revolutionize multiple industries. We want to create jobs. We want the applications to benefit society.” The Graphene Flagship...

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