Call HORIZON – MSCA – 2021 – DN - Start Date 2022 | 10 | 01
Next-generation membrane technologies for sustainable exploitation of seawater brine resources: transition towards a circular blue industry

Consortium Beneficiaries

The University of Calabria (UNICAL) was established in 1972 in Cosenza (Italy) to spearhead the development of this Italian southern region. At present, UNICAL includes 14 Departments and more than 30.000 students.

Research activities in membrane science and technology are carried out at the Department of Environmental Engineering (DIAm), composed by 40 professors and researchers, 15 technical-administrative units and several PhD and postdoc students. Among the 10 Doctoral Programmes existing at UNICAL, DIAm coordinated the Doctoral School SIACE “Environment, Construction and Energy Science and Engineering” which aims to train early-stage researchers able to address the sustainability challenges based on a trans-sectoral approach.

Established in 1952 and located in L'Aquila, administrative centre of the Abruzzo Region, University of L’Aquila (UNIVAQ) is a public teaching and research institution offering a full range of academic programmes. The UNIVAQ team includes staff members from, the Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences (DSFC).

DSFC offers MasterDegrees in Physics, Chemistry and Materials Science with research facilities for characterization of electronic and physicochemical properties of advanced materials, including nanotechnology laboratories. 

NSA, the French national group of 7 engineering institutes, graduates about 10% of the engineers in France and counts 54 research units over the country. The Toulouse Biotechnology Institute (TBI; 340 employees, 20 M€ turnover, 110 publications/y, 7 patents/y as average of 2017-2021) is one of INSAT’ research units, jointly operated by INSAT, INRAE and CNRS. TBI, established 40 years ago, is nationally acknowledged as a leading multidisciplinary top level research institution and innovation hub within bio-based technologies, at the interface between fundamental life sciences and applied process engineering. INSA Toulouse is involved in 7 doctoral schools from Toulouse Federal University. 

Breaking away from the traditional university concept and form of teaching, Aalborg University (AAU) emerged in 1974 with a profile very much its own. It is now a dynamic university with more than 20,000 students and 3,000 staff. The key concept in both research and teaching is interdisciplinary, and the study programmes are organized around problem-oriented group work. AAU emphasizes cooperation with businesses, organizations and institutions within teaching as well as research. Likewise, internationalization has a very high priority at AAU. The employees at the university is (or has been) engaged in more than 150 Horizon 2020 projects. According to the Times Higher Education Young University ranking, Aalborg University was 23rd in the world in 2020. Department of Chemistry and Bioscience has a high-profiled research and teaching structure responsible for the engineering study programme within biotechnology, chemical engineering, environmental engineering and related fields. According to the interdisciplinary problem-oriented teaching, the department emphasizes on collaboration with companies and public sectors. 

Founded in 1425, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULEUVEN) bears the double honour of being the oldest extant Catholic University in the world and the oldest university in the Low Countries. Today KU Leuven has ca. 30,000 students and a staff of ca. 8,000, organised in three faculty groups: Humanities, Science, Engineering and Technology and Biomedical Sciences. The research group ProcESS (Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems) is part of the Department of Chemical Engineering, one of the 16 departments in the Science, Engineering and Technology group. The group also hosts associated researchers from the Association KU Leuven, which groups 12 university colleges in addition to the university itself.

The Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Leuven has separation technologies among its focused research lines, with a strong emphasis on the use and development of membrane technologies. The technologies of interest include pressure-driven membrane processes (mainly nanofiltration and ultrafiltration), electromembrane processes, pervaporation, membrane contactors and gas separation. 

Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya Barcelona TECH (UPC) is the largest technology university in Spain. The UPC is a public institution dedicated to higher education and research, specialized in the fields of engineering, architecture and science. The UPC is home to more strategic research projects funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Program than any other Spanish university. UPC participates in more than 250 highly competitive European research projects (FP7, 2007-2013), ranking in the first position of technology of HES institutions participating in FP7 in Spain. In Horizon 2020, UPC currently has been approved more than 40 projects. UPC employs 3200 researchers on its academic staff (2014). To strengthen international collaboration, UPC has its own international research fellowship programme and supports international scholars in international funding applications.

Founded in 1952, the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (VSCHT) is a natural centre of first-rate study and research in the area of chemistry in Czechia and is one of the country's largest educational and research institutions focused on technical chemistry, chemical and biochemical technologies, material and chemical engineering, food chemistry, and environmental studies. Group of Technical Electrochemistry of Prague at Vysoká škola chemicko-technologická v Praze (VSCHT) is long term active in research and development of the electrochemical conversion technologies utilising different kinds of membranes, including development and testing of ion selective ones. This includes, beside fuel cell and water electrolysis technology, electrodialysis and reverse electrodialysis. Membranes developed are subject of characterisation both as a standalone, as well as implemented into the relevant technology. This experience is documented by the published papers and projects solved, as listed below.

Universidade Nova de Lisboa (NOVA) is a comprehensive university that integrates circa 20,000 students, from which about 2,000 are PhD students. 

Founded on 1973, NOVA is the youngest of Lisbon’s three state Universities. Integrated within a framework of expansion and diversification of higher education, the University adopted a new model within the Portuguese system that stressed interdisciplinary approaches, technological developments while, at the same time, safeguarding offerings in traditional academic domains including medicine, sciences and humanities.

NOVA is ranked by QS in the top 50 young universities worldwide (universities with less than 50 years). The Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia integrates LAQV-Requimte, the research centre that will be involve in this initiative. LAQV-Requimte is the largest research centre in Portugal in the domain of sustainable chemistry and green technology; it has the highest status attributed by the Portuguese government (Associate Laboratory) and was evaluated internationally, since its creation in 2001, has “Excellent”.

The Institute on Membrane Technology (ITM) is a research Institute of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), which is the largest public research institution in Italy consisting of 102 institutes and 8.400 employees. Mission of ITM is the research and development of membrane science and technology. The Institute has 39 units of permanent staff and about 60 temporary units represented by visiting professors, associate professors, Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellowships, high-educational fellowships from national and international Institutions. A significant exchange of young researchers, coming from various foreign Countries (e.g. Spain, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, France, USA, Russia, Algeria, South Korea, China, India etc.) has been always strongly encouraged for integrating research activities at international level.

Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT - Italian Institute of Technology) is a scientific research center established by law in 2003 by Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research and Ministry of Economy and Finance, in order to promote excellence in both basic and applied research and to facilitate the economic development at national level. IIT scientific activities started in 2006, they are multidisciplinary and with a very strong approach to technology transfer. IIT staff is composed by almost 1900 people, with a gender distribution of 41% women and 59% men and an average age of 35 years. Half of the researchers (50%) come from abroad: 31% are scientists from more than 60 foreign countries and 19% are Italian researchers who have come back to Italy after a professional experience abroad. IIT has a vast experience in managing and supervising research projects with a portfolio of 641 external funded competitive research projects, 324 of which financed by EU funding programs as FP7 and H2020 - 50 are funded by European Research Council (ERC). IIT has produced more than 15500 publications and 338 inventions resulting in 1116 active patents. Its research activity led to the creation of 26 start-ups, with additional 50 under due diligence. Research is carried out in the Central Research Laboratories in Genoa (IIT headquarters), in 11 research satellite centers across Italy and in 2 outstations in US. IIT scientific vision is interdisciplinary, based on the concept of “translating evolution into technology”, that is mimicking natural solutions to develop new technologies in the fields of robotics, materials science, and life science. Currently IIT is conducting its new scientific plan (2018-2023) developing four strategic research domains: Robotics, Nanomaterials, Technologies for Life Science, and Computational Sciences.