The new funding programme "WING - Materials Innovations for Industry and Society" was published in early 2004. This is the first programme to integrate traditional materials research with the basic discipline of chemistry and with nanotechnology. The WING Programme integrates for the first time classical materials research with the basic discipline of chemistry and the future-oriented area of nanotechnology and focuses materials development, in particular, large sectors i.e. the automobile industry, mechanical engineering, IT industry, electrical/electronics industry and chemical industry.
Funding is provided for risky collaborative projects between companies and institutes in the field of materials development for industrial applications. The funding of materials technologies as part of the programme "WING - Materials Innovations for Industry and Society" is oriented both to industrial demand and social benefit (jobs, medical engineering, the environment) of the respective materials development.
WING focuses on the following overarching lead goals
through which material-based product innovations are to be generated in the companies while taking into account the social demand for new material developments.
New functionalised nanoparticles, innovative layers and surfaces, self-assembly effects and nanoscale foam-type structures have an enormous potential both in microelectronics, optics, medical engineering, sensor technology, bioengineering as well as in more classical sectors such as in the automotive industry, chemical or construction industry.Computational materials science
Bionics concerns concepts and designs of nature which are interesting for technology. Here, construction manuals of nature are not simply copied, but standards that emerged in an evolutionary manner from biology are identified and used for technological purposes. This applies to structures and functions as well as to fabrication processes which occur in nature mostly in a resource-conserving manner.
Life expectancy has increased continuously in the wealthy countries of the world - a development which can be mainly attributed to medical progress. The fast development in prophylaxis and treatment is related to a permanent demand for new medical devices, instruments, analytical procedures and substances as well as implant materials for the replacement of body tissue, bones or organs.
Chemical processes often form the basis of innovative materials. In addition, the chemical industry plays a key role in the sustainable development of our society. Both aspects together focus on environmentally compatible fabrication processes for materials, i.e. chemical processes should be resource-conserving, emission-free, energy-saving and should avoid waste.
Layer, interface and surface phenomena are essential, among others, for protective layers which increase mechanical and chemical resistance as well as corrosion resistance, for multifunctional layers, e.g., for implant materials with combined mechanical and bioactive properties, for issues concerning adhesion both between different materials and in the processing of internal interfaces such as in materials mixtures and also in heterogeneous reaction processes.
Especially the automobile industry, plastics industry and mechanical engineering - three sectors in which Germany is at the cutting edge on the world market - are characterised by enormous efforts in the promising innovation field of lightweight construction. This field significantly contributes to sustainable economic activities and offers, in particular, advantages where energy savings, power reductions or higher acceleration of moving masses are achieved due to the weight reduction of the materials. Only the combination of lightweight construction in terms of materials and structure leads to system-optimised component designs and structures.
Resource-efficient materials are characterised by the fact that they contribute significantly to the saving of resources in the form of energy, materials and/or production time when applied in technical systems. Such materials are essential for improved efficiencies in energy technology, such as in power generation or in different energy conversion and storage processes. Turbine technology and engine technology as well as mechanical engineering also profit from long-lived and extremely reliable high-performance materials, inexpensive production processes and materials with adaptronic properties.
Materials are not "intelligent" per se. If they are able, however, to react independently to external influences such as changes of temperature and light or also to changes of the pH in order to act independently, i.e. without any other activation, they are often termed "intelligent materials" or "smart materials". Examples that have been well-investigated in the meantime are piezoceramics, shape memory alloys as well as electro- and magnetorheological fluids.
Materials with special electronic and magnetic functionalities are decisive pacemakers for R&D developments in microelectronics and sensor technology. Current trends are higher admissibility of with at the same time increasing complexity of the technical architecture, recyclability, absence of lead in solders, improved energy efficiency and long-term archivability. Opportunities of shielding electromagnetic radiation (cellular phone network) and ensuring electromagnetic compatibility with other technical systems (aviation) are becoming increasingly important with a view to health protection.
Further fields of action or topics may arise in the course of the programme through current scientific, technical, industrial or social developments. Further information about the individual funding areas and the corresponding contacts can be found at the Internet portal werkstoffinnovationen.de.
Funding topics are published in the form of calls for proposals in the Federal Gazette. As a rule, project outlines for collaborative projects can first be submitted to the responsible project management organisation. Regardless of the calls for proposals, in the so-called bottom-up procedure materials projects can be funded which are open in terms of time and topics and particularly fulfil the criteria of the programme.