The FunGlass Centre has reached two significant milestones in the middle of implementation of the biggest Slovak academic project within the European Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
The first milestone is related to building staff capacity at the FunGlass centre. In 2021, the number of Centre´s researchers and students will exceed sixty and for the first time in the history of the Centre, the majority of researchers and students of PhD study programme will come from abroad (32 scientists or doctoral students represent 14 countries and 4 continents). As confirmed by the Director of the Centre – Professor D. Galusek “Institutions that have the ambition to work successfully in the international scientific field have to be able to attract talents from all over the world”. Thanks to the influx of brains from abroad, the FunGlass Centre has been successfully coordinating an international consortium of the project for four years, which is in full compliance with the demanding criteria of the research agency of the European Commission. There is also increasing cooperation with partners of the project, which are:
- Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padova, Italy
- Institute of Biomaterials, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
- Institute of Ceramic and Glass, Spanish National Research Centre in Madrid, Spain
- Otto Schott Institute of Materials Research, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany
Sixteen researchers of the Centre have already completed one-year training stays in these top institutions, who after returning to the Centre solve joint research tasks and further developing the existing contacts. The fact that talent does not know boundaries is confirmed by the rich publishing activities of the Centre – most of the more than sixty works published by the scientists of the Centre in cooperation with the Consortium´s partners this year, were published in prestigious international journals. The vision to create a renowned centre of excellence in the area of new glass-based materials and ceramics help to also meet advisory partners of the Centre, in which representatives of the most important global glass companies operate, such as: AGC (Japan), Johns Manville (USA), Nuova Ompi (Italy), Corning (USA) or Sisecam (Turkey), and other top experts from the countries outside the European Union (USA, China, Brazil).
The second milestone, which has been reached by the FunGlass Centre, is the completion of the preparatory phase and the subsequent signing of the contract for the supply of special technologies and laboratory equipment for the research activities of the Centre. Investment worth 8.6 million Euro is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Integrated Infrastructure Operational programme. About forty of the purchased devices include, for example:
- Equipment for testing of innovative glass surface treatments in pilot plant conditions enabling the adaption of laboratory research concept to the stage of readiness for the introduction of new surfaces into industrial production with using in the field of architectural glass or photovoltaics.
- Testing laboratory of Biohazard II biomaterials with applicability in the development of biomedical glass and ceramics (e.g. bone implants, orthopaedics, dental ceramics).
- 3D printers (powders, liquid mixtures, ceramic mixtures) for additive production, which allows by combining input mixtures in layers to “print” complex structures, which are used for example in the recycling of glass waste or development of geopolymer building materials.
These new modern technologies create conditions, which helps the Centre to successfully attract new talents, and at the same time the Centre can spread and export innovative ideas.
As the Rector of the University, Assoc.prof. J. Habánik stated: “This workplace embodies a passion for research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge. Achieving of mentioned milestones is the logical result of hard work by which the Centre confirms that the Award of the Minister of Education, Science, research and Sports of the Slovak republic in the category of the Scientific and Technical team of the year 2019 (FunGlass) and the Scientist of the Year 2019 – Personality of International cooperation (Prof. D. Galusek) ended up in the right hands”.