In the vision to reinforce the cooperation between EU and Ukraine in the field of Superhard Materials the project "START" of Seventh Framework Programme began in the V.N. Bakul Institute for Superhard Materials of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine from 1 November 2012. The project´s duration will be 30 months (1 November 2012 - 30 April 2014).

The main project objectives:

- to analyse ISM´s research competencies, review the scientific and technological developments and examine the EU/Ukraine´s collaboration framework in order to develop ISM´s long-term Research Strategy and position the Institute in the international research arena.
- to set up a consultation, assessment and validation mechanism in a collaborative perspective with EU research actors to monitor the implementation on ISM´s Research Strategy.
- to organise a variety of training activities adjusted to the Institute´s support needs building ISM´s competencies towards its participation in future FP7 collaborative research activities.
- to deploy a set of diversified twinning activities, to significantly increase ISM’s networking level facilitate the exchange of knowledge and good practices and, thus, prepare the ground for setting Joint Research Plans with EU leading research centres.
- to initiate the implementation of joint research activities between ISM and leading EU research centres in the field of Superhard Materials (e.g. experiments, lectures and courses, FP7 proposals, etc).
- to facilitate the exchange of research staff between ISM and EU research centres, enabling them to carry out joint experiments and, thus, setting the foundations for long-term collaboration.

ISM exhibits a significant expertise and numerous scientific breakthroughs in design, development and production of superhard materials. Its participation in START derives from its interest to build long-term relations with EU leading research centres in order to enhance and broaden its "international collaboration portfolio", advance its scientific knowledge base and jointly design and develop new products that address current an future industrial needs (new application areas). In addition, ISM is eager to combine fundamental and applied research with education of new scientists (currently ISM has no education curricula).START will offer a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge and good practices with EU higher education establishments that will allow the Institute to adjust its operation and transmit the knowledge produced at national and regions level.