The ideas for the NOMAD project were developed following a Skype meeting with Amanda Pentecost, Yury Gogotsi’s PhD student from Drexel University, USA. We were discussing potential biological applications for her work and ended the meeting by agreeing that it would be good to look for ways to fund potential exchange visits between her lab and ours. At the same time we saw the call from the British Council go out for applications to the Global Innovation Initiative. Our Biomaterials Research Group at the University of Brighton also has links with colleagues at Northwestern Polytechnical University in China and these were the three partners needed for the call. My work, and that of others in our group, has been focused on nanoporous adsorbents for biological applications, particularly to address chronic inflammation and infection and the grant was looking for innovative solutions to address global healthcare challenges. I liked the emphasis on research education and the idea that we could build a global lab rotation in materials science using the best expertise in each lab to train our young researchers. Fortunately the funders agreed that our research ideas were worth some investment and the NOMAD project was initiated on the 1st April 2014. Our first symposium was held in June in Brighton, UK to establish state of the art and innovative ways forward in the development of nanostructured biomaterials using the expertise of the group and other clinical, academic and industrial partners. The project will particularly target nanomaterial solutions to infection, chronic inflammation and environmental pollution. We look forward to two more events in China and the USA over the two years of the project and many more research exchange visits ahead.