INL awarded with 20 new RTD projects

July 1, 2020

The INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory was recently awarded six European H2020 Research Technological Development (RTD) projects and 14 additional national projects (PT2020) totalling 20 new research opportunities worth 7 million euros funding for INL.

According to Paula Galvão, INL Chief Business and Strategic Relations Officer, “these are very good news, not only for the possibilities opened by these new projects but also for the high-profile partners involved in them”.

The six H2020 projects are the TrustEat, with INL as coordinator, to build a trusty future food system by using blockchain tech; AscentPlus, providing access to European Infrastructure for Nanoelectronics; QU-BOSS, quantum advantage via non-linear boson sampling; SpinAge, spin-hall-nano-oscillator based neuromorphic computing system assisted by laser for cognitive computing, and SPINAR, spin-based hardware artificial neural network for embedded radio-frequency signal processing.

These two last projects have Ricardo Ferreira, the INL Spintronics Research Group Leader, as a partner.

Regarding SPINAR, Ricardo Ferreira explains that “it is a 2-year research project that joins three European research institutions (CNRS in France, INL in Portugal and University of Louvain in Belgium) together with Thales, a French industrial giant in the AeroSpace and Defense sector. The goal of SPINAR is to combine nanodevices with AI algorithms to classify radar signals with ultra-low power and high efficiency”.  

The technological foundation of the proposal lies in the implementation of a hardware neural network making use of spintronic devices to act as artificial synapses and artificial neurons.  This novel neuromorphic hardware is the basis for ultra-efficient and low power computation without the need for a conventional CMOS microprocessor.  Such small, compact, and efficient computation platforms can enable disruptive distributed intelligent architectures with possible applications that extend well beyond the realm of defence technologies alone.  “The role of INL in the project is to optimize and produce the nanoscale spintronic devices that will be used to act as the artificial neuromorphic processing units”, adds Ricardo Ferreira.

INL was also awarded 14 other national projects, PT2020, and FCT Research4COVID.

Over the last months, INL also submitted a very high number of proposals (110), meaning this was a very productive time, counterbalancing the negative effects of the pandemic.