The project 'Quantum Materials for Applications in Sustainable Technologies' will be undertaken at UWB by the NTC Research Center and the Faculty of Applied Sciences.
A total of 74 projects were submitted by Czech research institutions in the "Excellent Research" call of the Jan Amos Komenský Operational Programme (OP JAK). An international evaluation committee recommended funding for fifteen projects, including the "Quantum Materials for Sustainable Technologies" project led by the Research Institute NTC of the University of West Bohemia (UWB). The Faculty of Applied Sciences will collaborate with NTC on this project.
Quantum technologies are among the key areas of focus for NTC. The five-year project will focus on the study of materials that exhibit entirely new properties explainable by quantum physics. These materials will find applications not only in quantum computers, unique sensors, integrated circuits, and energy-efficient electronic devices but also in the fields of medicine and advanced biotechnologies. They may also play a fundamental role in emission-free technologies. The project, involving partners such as Charles University, Masaryk University, and Brno University of Technology, has a total value of nearly half a billion Czech crowns.
Furthermore, in addition to the project focused on quantum materials research, NTC is engaged in collaboration on the "Mechanical Engineering of Biological and Bioinspired Systems" project, led by Brno University of Technology. This project also ranks among the fifteen supported initiatives.
"The fact that two out of the fifteen supported projects have UWB's involvement, with UWB even being the main applicant for one of them, is an outstanding achievement. These projects will involve cooperation between top research groups from Czech universities, fostering international collaboration," states Miroslav Lávička, Rector of UWB, emphasizing that the support from Operational Programme (OP JAK) demonstrates the quality of UWB's research teams and the significance of supported projects for advancing the competitiveness of the Czech Republic in the field of innovation. "Success in this call confirms that UWB is among research-oriented universities, and considering the prestige that solving OP JAK Excellent Research projects brings to the university, this result is undoubtedly excellent news for all of our components. I extend my gratitude to all those who contributed," adds Miroslav Lávička.
"The project 'Quantum Materials for Sustainable Technologies' is built upon the expertise of the internationally recognized expert Ján Minár, who has formed a strong international team. Among other distinguished figures, the project's expert panel includes Nobel Prize laureate in Physics Andre K. Geim from the University of Manchester. The project significantly enhances the region's standing within the European research landscape," states Petr Kavalíř, Director of NTC.
Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Miloš Železný, adds: "This is a success for our faculty as well. I'm pleased that the team from the Department of Physics, led by Jaroslav Vlček and Petr Zeman, will play a significant role in addressing this project. I wish them the best of success."
"Our collaboration with this department has deepened primarily thanks to Jaroslav Vlček. Until now, we've only united forces in smaller projects, so it's great that such a significant opportunity lies ahead of us," says Ján Minár.
The project 'Quantum Materials for Sustainable Technologies' also aims to enhance the quality of doctoral studies and support young researchers, including Aki Pulkinen and Andrea Konečná. "Aki has been with NTC since the beginning of this year, hailing from Finland, and he is a very promising young researcher. I am confident he will excel in his role. Representing young female researchers, Andrea Konečná from the Brno University of Technology, who began her career under the guidance of Professor Kolíbal, is a holder of the GAČR JUNIOR STAR grant," adds Ján Minár.
Ján Minár joined UWB from the University of Munich. Thanks to a project funded by the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education, co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds, he established a strong and respected international team here, as evidenced by the recent ERC CZ grant secured by new team member Maura Fanciulli. "Now, we will have the opportunity to continue our research thanks to the support from the OP JAK project. This achievement signifies that properly designed research calls from the Ministry of Education promote collaboration between research teams and yield long-term results, not only for the entire university but also for our society as a whole. It serves as clear evidence that supporting scientific research and innovation provides promising benefits for our society," adds Petr Kavalíř."