Description and main aims of the Marie Curie Research Training Networks

Fundamental understanding of cementitious materials for improved chemical physical and aesthetic performance

The main aim of the Marie Curie Research Training Networks is to provide training and research experience for researchers at an early stage of their careers by giving them the opportunity to spend between three months to three years in another country as part of an international high-quality research project.

The networks contribute to the transfer of knowledge through the promotion of multidisciplinary research. The NANOCEM RTN was awarded as part of a call specifically to promote intersectorial exchange between academia and industry and the RTN integrates 6 University groups with 4 Institutional partners interacting with 1 SME, 1 Industrial Association and 5 large companies. The industry highlighted the lack of suitable doctoral scientists available for recruitment. This RTN project provides the core platform by which the required new technologists will be trained and, at the same time, advance the research needed to support innovation.

The nine PhD students and 6 post doctoral fellows work on a set of interrelated research projects aimed at improving the fundamental understanding of cementitious materials for improved chemical physical and aesthetic performance.

The focus is particularly on underpinning the use of supplementary cementitious materials, which are a key component to improving the sustainability of cement manufacture. We aim to advance understanding of the role of these materials in contributing to the resistance of cementitious materials to degradation by sulfate ions and to the development of strength, through study of their role in the formation of microstructure. It is intended that this will contribute to meeting the growing need for flexible norms and standards, as a means of encouraging new materials development, by relating fundamental research to the normalisation process.

In addition the network provides a interdisciplinary training (chemistry, physics, materials science, mineralogy, civil engineering, as well as environmental aspects, project management, IPR, standardisation, etc) to all researchers in a structured programme, delivered by the leading experts from university, institutes and industry. These semi-annual training courses are also open to a limited number of PhD students outside the network.