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Posted: December 3, 2009
Czech government launches four major new research initiatives with EU support
(Nanowerk News) Toxicology, mechanical engineering, nanoscience and veterinary medicine are the subjects of four major new EU-funded research initiatives launched recently in the Czech Republic. The projects, which will share over CZK 2 billion (EUR 77 million), are financed under the Operational Programme Research and Development for Innovation (OP R&DI), which receives EU support through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The aim of the OP R&DI is to strengthen research, development and innovation in the Czech Republic with a view to enhancing the country's economic growth and competitiveness, and to make the Czech regions attractive locations for research and related activities.
One grant recipient is Masaryk University in Brno, which has been allocated CZK 544 million (EUR 21 million) for its CETOCOEN ('Centre for the study of toxic substances') project. The money will allow the university to build a new pavilion for the centre and put together a research team comprising both Czech and foreign scientists with expertise in environmental science.
The project will focus on the development of new chemical and toxicological tools to monitor environmental quality, assess the impacts of man-made and natural toxins in the environment on human health, and model the behaviour of these compounds. The team will create an open access environmental database and link it up to other epidemiological databases. They will also work closely with regional authorities and support regional development through the organisation of an international conference or workshop and annual summer schools.
Another project is the NETME ('New technology for mechanical engineering') Centre at Brno University of Technology. As its name suggests, the NETME Centre's work focuses on research into advanced technologies for mechanical engineering. The CZK 768 million (EUR 30 million) grant will help the centre significantly enhance its research activities by allowing it to invest in state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment. In addition, the new equipment will help the centre improve its education programmes and ensure its research is applied in practice.
Elsewhere, the Technical University of Liberec has been allocated CZK 800 million (EUR 31 million) for the Centre for Nanomaterials, Advanced Technologies and Innovation. The funds will go towards the purchase of new equipment and devices to allow the centre's researchers to carry out top-level experiments in the fields of material research (with a focus on nanomaterials) and competitive engineering (notably in the areas of robotics, mobile devices and safe engineering subjects).
Finally, CZK 365 million (EUR 14 million) will go to the Centre for Advanced Microbiology and Immunology Research in Veterinary Medicine Research at the Institute of Veterinary Medicine in Brno. The main activities of this initiative will be the development of veterinary vaccines, the study of vaccination procedures and the immune response after vaccination, the development of diagnostic kits for the detection of contaminants in samples of biological origin, and the monitoring of the causes of infections in farm animals with a view to creating techniques to prevent them and control their spread.
The work will include the reconstruction of a number of the institute's buildings in order to make them more suitable for research and experimental work involving animals. The project will also fund the purchase of new equipment and enable the training of the team's workers.
The OP Ramp;DI is managed by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and has a total budget of EUR 2,436 billion. It received 44 applications in its first round of calls for proposals. The ministry is expected to release details of a further four projects slated for funding shortly; they are currently finalising these projects' budgets. The projects were selected following a stringent evaluation process involving both Czech and international experts.
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