The EU-financed EuroTraining project is designed to provide high quality training in the field of nanotechnologies, with the general aim of fostering Europe’s industrial competitiveness in this field.
These days nanoelectronics and nanosystems play a key role in a number of industrial sectors. They are essential to the telecommunications industry, and are also used in the health field, the energy sector and for satellites. In 2009, the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research initiated the Nano-INNOV plan, whose purpose is to set up a number of technology centres. The plan was supported by investment worth €70 million. The centre at the Plateau de Saclay, south of Paris, opened in 2012. Also known as ‘European Silicon Valley’, it serves to demonstrate the potential of nanotechnologies and how they can be integrated into innovative systems. The recently-established EuroTraining project, an initiative funded by the European Union, also gives pride of place to nanotechnologies, offering innovative training modules and materials designed for engineers at manufacturing companies, plus researchers and students. The basic goal is to strengthen the competitiveness of European companies in this field on the world market.
A quality multimedia platform
Launched in January 2013, EuroTraining is an online platform which offers a wide choice of advanced training modules, summer courses, downloadable documents, videos, etc. It is designed for industry engineers, researchers and university teachers. The platform basically functions as a distribution and communication space which lists the specialised courses offered by partner universities across Europe and highlights all important events in the nanotechnologies field. Some of the 500 courses on offer allow undergraduate students and PhD candidates to obtain certification for the training they have followed and gain credits under the European Credits Transfer System. Universities that wish to offer their training can register on the website and list their courses in the database, which is updated on a regular basis. Some of the courses on offer are provided by universities with a high reputation in the field of electronic systems and EuroTraining grants its seal of approval – a Quality Label – to those of proven efficacy.
Responding to the real needs of industry
A major aim of the project is also to train engineers working at companies, with a view to enhancing industrial competitiveness in Europe. Over recent decades European company microelectronics and nanoelectronics production has generally been developed in the emerging markets of the Far East. Before the project was launched, EuroTraining commissioned a survey* designed to obtain a clearer picture of the needs of European companies for training in the field of nanotechnologies. All of the companies which were already working in the Far East stated that local training was needed, while 12% of those not yet working in the Far East did not recognise the need for this approach. However, everyone polled for the survey expressed the need for training to take place in English, since their workforce comes from a variety of geographies. The EuroTraining project thus responds to a stated strategic objective of the European Union – namely to provide advanced professional training in cutting-edge fields, and if possible to raise awareness among the general public of these technologies as well.
*Online survey carried out by EuroTraining: Of the 44 people polled, 36% work at a small or medium-sized company (defined as having fewer than 205 employees); while 64% were employees at a larger firm (with a workforce of over 205)