"I am confident that the collaboration of excellent research teams from the Czech Republic and abroad will bring the desired results," says Miroslav Lávička, the rector of the University of West Bohemia (UWB).
Quantum technologies are considered to be the technologies of the future. They are expected to determine the further technological development of humanity. At the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen (UWB), quantum technologies are one of the key fields, and their importance will now be further strengthened. The UWB Quantum Materials for Sustainable Technologies project, which succeeded in the prestigious Jan Amos Komenský Operational Programme's (OP JAK) Excellent Research call in August, was launched on October 23, with the participation of representatives from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) and partner institutions in the TechTower building in Pilsen. An international scientific team led by the UWB will focus on the research of materials with potential applications in quantum computers, sensors, integrated circuits, or energy-efficient electronic devices.
„The Excellent Research OP JAK call, with its eight-billion budget, aims to support research projects that have the potential to achieve pan-European excellence in their field. Out of 74 proposals in the competition, 15 have succeeded so far, and the UWB is one of them. Over the next five years, it will, together with project partners, address materials research to support sustainable development. The UWB consistently demonstrates that it plays a truly significant role in certain areas beyond the dimensions of the Czech Republic and that it can use cohesion funds for this purpose. I am convinced that the UWB is proof of how ESIF can help not only with the development of research but also with research organizations as a whole. Congratulations," comments Václav Velčovský from MEYS, the head of the International Relations, EU, and ESIF section, on receiving the project. “
Studying materials with specific properties explainable by quantum physics, and thus contributing to their better practical use - that is how the goal of the five-year Quantum Materials for Sustainable Technologies project, led by the NTC Research Institute of the UWB as the main investigator, and the Faculty of Applied Sciences of the UWB as co-investigator, can be simply described. The project consortium also includes the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University, the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University, and the CEITEC - Brno University of Technology as further co-investigators of the project.
"Receiving an excellent research project in a huge national competition represents a significant success for the University of West Bohemia, and I am confident that the collaboration of excellent research teams from the Czech Republic and abroad will bring the desired results. This success also clearly confirms that we belong among research-oriented universities. I would also like to emphasize the importance of cooperation between universities in the Czech Republic and abroad, as well as the linking of two components of the UWB - the NTC research center and the Faculty of Applied Sciences, as it is a great example of synergistic relationships and cooperation," reminds Miroslav Lávička, the rector of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen.
"The project will enable Pilsen and the Pilsen Region to become a leader in Europe and the world in the field of emerging quantum technologies and materials, not only in terms of research but also in the practical use of these technologies in industry. This represents a huge potential for growth and development," says Ján Minár, the scientific director of the project from the NTC research institute and a globally recognized expert who came to Pilsen from the University of Munich and assembled a strong international team here. He points out that quantum technologies are already being used today in mobile phones, navigation systems, lasers, and other applications, but researchers still have many little-known materials ahead of them, the study of which can contribute to a revolutionary technological development in many other industries.
The expert team led by Ján Minár includes top experts, including Nobel Laureate in Physics Andre K. Geim from the University of Manchester. However, the project also provides an opportunity for young scientists, and its members include, for example, Aki Pulkinen, who came to the NTC from Finland, and Andrea Konečná from the Brno University of Technology.
The project received financial support from the Top Research call of the Jan Amos Komenský Operational Programme (OP JAK) totaling nearly 500 million CZK. Part of these funds will be used to improve research infrastructure. For example, the NTC Research Institute needs to purchase a computing cluster for the development of new quantum mechanical methods due to the huge computational demands of the research, which will have an unusually large memory of 2 TB/CPU. Another planned purchase is an analytical scanning electron microscope with a focused ion beam, which will be the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic and will allow researchers to study micro- and nanostructures of thermochromic coatings. The partner universities also plan to purchase new equipment. The total amount for investments in unique equipment is planned at 124 million CZK.