ESPERANTO (Enhancing the Sustainability of PhotopolymERs ANd phoToinduced prOcesses) aims at improving the sustainability of photoinduced polymerisation and boosting the use of this technology in the industrial sector, to replace less sustainable processes. It embraces the EU strategy supporting more sustainable and safer consumption and productions, transforming the way polymeric products are designed, produced, used and recycled and is in line with UN SDG 12. ESPERANTO converts chemical knowledge and ideas into prototypes demonstrating the readiness of the photopolymerisation technology for new applications to promote the industrial uptake.

ESPERANTO addresses sustainability not only by technological innovation, but also by training of a new generation of researchers. Commitment to sustainability is still a very niche priority, ranking high only in Government and Healthcare and rather low across all the other sectors. This highlights the urgent need to educate around the relevance of this theme: ESPERANTO proposes a training programme focused on sustainability to form creative, entrepreneurial, innovative researchers, having environmental responsibility. The researchers will gain transferable competences to lead and manage the innovation in the field of photopolymerisation with a systematic approach to sustainability: this is also likely to enhance their career perspectives.

ESPERANTO has three objectives:
O1. greener and safer chemicals for photopolymerisation and innovative sustainable photopolymerisation processes;
O2. new sustainable materials and prototypes based on photoprocesses and their modelling;
O3. training of researchers with sound technical skills and strong environmental consciousness.

O1-O2 tackle the technical and environmental issues of photopolymerisation, turning them into drivers of innovation and opportunities for the enhancement of this technology. In this area, the beneficiaries of the consortium have an excellent track record and the requested operational capacity to assure that the objectives are achievable, also leveraging the unique expertise of the Swiss and British academic associated partner and the know-how of the industrial partners. The level of success of the research (O1 and O2) will be measured by comparing the innovative material, process, prototype with benchmarks. Besides product performance, the increase in sustainability will be evaluated: for qualitatively and quantitatively measuring and verifying it, appropriate sustainability metrics8 will be set including socioeconomic parameters, to determine the extent of “greenness” of the materials, processes and prototypes. The benchmarks will be appropriately selected by each researcher at the start of the individual project to assure they are up to date as technology may evolve by the time the proposal is approved and kicked-off.

O3 is implemented through a systematic training programme supervised by the scientists of the consortium, who have a long experience in training, both in academia and in industry. The training programme is primarily based on the development of individual PhD projects, enriched by courses on hard and soft skills and other initiatives. Successful training will be demonstrated by the obtaining of the Doctoral Degree.