The project has now ended. A total of 22 fellows in the early stages of their career (16 PhD students and 6 fresh PhD graduates; 11 females and 11 males from 15 countries) were recruited in the joint research-training program of the network. Their work resulted in ca. 45 scientific publications (with more on the way), ca. 70 individual contributions at international conferences, and 4 patent applications. All fellows are gratefully acknowledged for their sincere efforts and the consortium wishes them every success in their individual careers.
(Edited: 06 December 2012)
For questions, please email: textilchemie[at]

Marie Curie Initial Training Networks aim to improve the career perspectives (in both public and private sectors) of researchers who are in the first five years of their research careers. Institutions from both academic and industry sectors form a collaborative network to recruit research fellows and provide them with opportunities to undertake research in the context of a joint research training program.
Naturally occurring polysaccharides constitute the largest segment of all available polymers, and hence exhibit the greatest potential as renewable, sustainable, and eco-friendly replacements for man-made polymers derived from fossil-resources. That this potential remains untapped to a large degree is testament to the inherent challenges in converting polysaccharides from natural sources to forms more suited for human use.
One of the major challenges in the conversion of polysaccharides is overcoming the non-covalent interactions that characterize polysaccharide structures and lead to significant restraints on their processability. The non-covalent interactions exert strong influence on polysaccharide conversion by restricting polymer dissolution in solvents, limiting thermal processability of polysaccharides, and dictating the feasibility and extent of polymer functionalization.
The objective of the STEP-ITN is to gain fundamental understanding of the non-covalent interactions in polysaccharide structures and utilize the knowledge to develop ways and means of overcoming their influence on polysaccharide conversion processes. This concerted and coherent multi-disciplinary effort spanning diverse areas of specialization and an active participation of the industry sector will generate significant advances in the science and technology of polysaccharide conversion.
An intimate involvement in all aspects of the collaboration (research, knowledge transfer, dissemination, coordination) along with an extensive program of training in a wide variety of fields will allow early-stage and experienced researchers to develop the technical proficiency and complementary skills required to make significant contributions to science and technology in their professional careers.
Focus of Research

  • To design modes of transformation that will impart special properties to polysaccharide-based materials, e.g. thermoplasticity.
  • To design modes of shaping to engineer polysaccharide-based materials towards desired end-uses.
  • To identify and optimize critical variables in conversion, viz. in transformation and shaping processes.
  • To characterize materials obtained from the innovative conversion processes and tune their performance to meet end-use requirements.
  • To determine feasibility of transferring the innovations to commercial-scale production.

Focus of Researcher Training

  • Formulation, planning, management and execution of research work.
  • Development of critical analysis and problem-solving skills.
  • Cooperative team-working; communication (oral and written); networking.
  • Best practice in sharing of information and data, transfer-of-knowledge, management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
  • Entrepreneurship