An Irish research institution has secured a significant role in a massive €1 billion flagship EU funded research project.

The CRANN centre at Trinity College Dublin is to play a primary role in the Graphene Flagship project, the largest research project ever funded by the EU Commission.

Under the EU plan, 126 academics and industry groups from 17 countries will work on 15 individual but connected projects.

Professor Jonathan Coleman from CRANN and TCD's School of Physics has been chosen to act as deputy leader to one of these individual projects.

As a result CRANN will initially receive sufficient funding to hire three new researchers, and together with scientists working in other countries, they will research methods of developing Graphene.

The strongest, most impermeable and most conductive substance known to man, Graphene is considered by scientists to be a wonder material of the future.

One atom thick, but 200 times stronger than steel, it is expected that Graphene will become of fundamental importance to manufacturing.

It is known to have better electrical and thermal conductivity, mechanical strength and optical purity than any other material.

Because it is fast, flexible and strong, products likely to emerge from the development of Graphene are flexible computer screens, paper-thin smartphones and lighter cars and aeroplanes.

It is expected that CRANN will benefit significantly as the project develops into the future.

Total funding of €54m is guaranteed for the first two years of the project across Europe.

But it is expected that the EU will continue the funding for at least a decade.

The EU has compared the scale of the Graphene Flagship to the US project to put a man on the moon during the 1960s and the Human Genome Project in the 1990s.