CEITEC – Central European Institute of Technology Commences Activities

26. Sept. 2011

The CEITEC centre of scientific excellence project, which is the first of its kind in the Czech Republic, will be officially introduced to the experts and the general public at an opening conference today. The institute, for which 5.2 billion Czech crowns have been allocated, was approved by the European Commission on 6 June 2011. A consortium of universities and research institutions in Brno secured the funding for its establishment through the Operational Programme Research and Development for Innovations. The institute, which will bridge research activities in life sciences and technical fields, will be built up in Brno over the next three years.

The aim of CEITEC is to set up a European centre of science and education with state-of-the-art facilities and conditions for the best scientists. It’s uniqueness lies in the close interconnection of research in life sciences with the field of advanced materials and technologies. Unique instruments and equipment will facilitate the work of 600 scientists and almost 1200 students as well as companies from the whole of the Czech Republic and abroad.  In this way, the centre will provide a substantial boost to this country’s existing basic and applied research as they move to world class levels.  

“The Czech government has been actively supporting research and development for a long time and therefore the start of realization of the CEITEC project is another clear example of its determination to conceptually invest in the future of the Czech Republic,“ commented Prime Minister Petr Nečas.

Thanks to working teams that had already been in place in partner institutions, only three months following its approval, the Centre can release specific results of its research. Some scientists will come to CEITEC from previously existing institutions. These teams will be completed by colleagues chosen through international selection procedures, four of which were set in motion immediately after the final approval from Brussels. In this way, CEITEC will be strengthened by top foreign scientists next year. In 2014, they will move into newly-equipped modern laboratories covering 25,000 m2. These will be built on the campus at Bohunice and on the Pod Palackeho vrchem campus in Brno.

“Our ambition is to become a European Silicon Valley in the fields of science and research and the CEITEC centre surely belongs to significant projects on the journey back towards the world´s elite. Moreover, CEITEC is the most favourably evaluated project of all of the so-called major projects  – within the Operational Programme Research and Development for Innovations – and therefore the expectations of its success from the MEYS are extremely high”, said Jakub Hodinář, First Deputy of the Minister of Education, responsible for European affairs.

CEITEC already cooperates with the most prominent international research institutions and is gaining from their experience. For this reason, part of the conference is devoted to presentations by foreign experts to introduce prestigious scientific centres in which they are active, and to explore possibilities for cooperation with CEITEC. Key managerial and leading scientific positions in the institute are already being filled with renowned foreign experts; employees of the centre are evaluated adhering to strict international standards. The ambition of the institute is to cooperate with, and also to become a part of, a global network of prestigious international scientific centres within the next few years.

In today’s opening conference, scientists will introduce unique inventions already being made in the centre to the public. Examples include special hydrogels that can glue partially split bones using a syringe and thus eliminate the necessity to operate on the patient, and “smart” materials used in aeroplanes that will be able to report their own weaknesses or defects. A hypodermic chip that can measure the life functions of a patient and inform a doctor at a distance is being developed, and also the production of biosensors that can detect an illness at an earlier stage is on the way. Scientists also engage in the research of human minds and are working on things such as how the brain human brain behaves when we are not thinking. They are also learning to differentiate between various kinds of cancer and are searching for suitable possibilities for treatment. Thanks to these and other results of this scientific work, doctors in practice will be better able to treat serious illnesses.

Apart from scientists, the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment will be also used by Czech and foreign organizations from the private sector. They are already making enquiries about opportunities for research, the education of experts and the facility rentals in the amount of more than 1.6 billion Czech crowns. The aim of the centre is to significantly increase cooperation between scientists and companies in the region and the whole country, attract other national and foreign investors, and thus contribute to the creation of new innovative companies and other jobs in prospective fields.

The following organizations are taking part in the founding of the centre: Masaryk University, Brno University of Technology, Mendel University in Brno, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Institute of Physics of Materials of the Academy of Science CZ, and Veterinary Research Institute.