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A new ‘R&D champion’ inaugurated in the Czech Republic

Following the approval of the European Commission, the launch of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) has been inaugurated by Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas in Brno, Czech Republic. The first of its kind in this country, this centre will bring together 600 researchers in life sciences, biomedicine and advanced materials and technology, some 1 200 students, as well as companies from across the country and abroad.

More than EUR 200 million will be allocated by the EU through 2014 for the construction of newly-equipped modern laboratories covering 25 000 m2 on the campus at Bohunice and on the Pod Palackeho vrchem campus in Brno. The recipient of the grant is Masaryk University, which designed the project together with Brno University of Technology and other Brno universities and research institutes. The funding comes from the Operational Programme “Research and Development for Innovations”, approved by the European Commission for all Czech regions except for Prague for the period 2007-2013. Co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), one of the aims of this funding scheme is to create a number of centres of excellence, i.e. well-equipped research and development centres that can help forge closer links between Czech research groups and their European and international counterparts.

An infusion of EU funding to help make R&D and innovation in Central Europe more visible Europe-wide and internationally is welcome news. As a comparison, the overwhelming majority of so-called Knowledge and Innovation Communities of the European Institute of Technology and Innovation, which was established as an institute of the European Union in 2008, are located in Western Europe. Meanwhile, the expectations for the Brno centre’s performance run high. It is expected to carve a niche for itself as a prestigious international R&D and innovation hub in life sciences and advanced materials and technology, and drive local and regional economic growth. The CEITEC centre clearly faces much work ahead, as it moves to earn its way into the ranks of the future ‘Silicon Valleys’ of the world.

CEITEC (Central European Institute of Technology) centre European Commission European Institute of Technology and Innovation