Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín (Slovakia) is one of the succesfull applicants of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014-1 – „Spreading excellence and widening participation“ of the European Union programme Horizon 2020. The university competed at the international level among 167 submitted proposals with the project of establishing the excellent Centre for functional and surface-functionalized glasses (acronym FunGLASS).
The scope of the project coordinated by prof. Dušan Galusek is the upgrade of the existing Centre of Excellence for ceramics, glass and silicate materials (CEKSiM, https://sites.google.com/site/ceksimenglish/) to an internationally recognized Centre for functional and surface-functionalized glasses as a joint venture of five participating institutions from four EU countries. The aim of the university is to use the funding from the European Union programme Horizon 2020 and the Operational programme Research and Innovations up to 30MEur for creation and formalizing the coordination and management structure of the new Centre, upgrading the research infrastructure, expansion of personal capacities of the Centre to the level facilitating achievement of the critical mass for Research and Development activities, with special attention paid to hiring high quality researchers and engineers from abroad, in order to establish creative and competitive international environment, and formation of close ties with regional and European glass industries for efficient knowledge transfer.
The establishment of the FunGLASS centre is planned between 2015 and 2020 and involves 2 stages.
The main objective of the first stage (2015-2016) is the preparation of extensive, detailed and robust Business Plan for upgrading of the existing Centre of Excellence to an internationally recognised and established institution of research and innovation. The plan should demonstrate the potential of the future Centre to connect effectively with existing regional cluster formation and the prospects to create an innovation friendly environment.
If the business plan is approved by the EC, the second stage (2016 – 2020) will follow. Here the university has the vision to create the new centre specialized to cutting edge research in the area of glasses with special functional properties and to functionalization of conventional glasses with the aim of modification of these properties and adding them new functionalities. The research topics will include also utilization of waste materials for production of glasses and glass ceramics materials with high added value. The research of the Centre will focus on activities contributing to population health, energy-related issues or applications of glass-based materials in automotive and machinery industry. As a part of establishment of the Centre approximately 25 jobs for skilled researchers with PhD degree or higher, administration workers and technicians will be created. In addition, the ambition of the Centre is continuous support of training and education of young researchers, including establishment of an international graduate school issuing joint diplomas, together with project partners from high performing EU countries. The establishment of the Centre is in line with the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization of the Slovak Republic (RIS3 SK).
In this project the Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín cooperates with technology leaders in the field of glass and innovative glass-based materials from high-performing European countries, namely Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen – Nürnberg (Germany), Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (Germany), Institute of Ceramics and Glass of Spanish National Research Council in Madrid (Spain) and University of Padova (Italy). . The foreign partners will provide Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín the related know-how and experience with knowledge transfer into industrial praxis.