24 November 2016
STFC's Central Laser Facility and scientists from the Czech Institute of Physics will work together on a new "Centre of Excellence" for the industrial exploitation of new laser technology.
The 45 Million Euro venture is co-funded by the European Commission and the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) and will be one of the first projects to be funded under the "Widespread Teaming" programme within Horizon 2020.
The H2020 programme will bring 10 Million Euro to the project, with the remainder from MEYS upon fulfilling the conditions of the Czech Operational Programme for Research, Development and Education. The project will further laser development based on the needs of high-tech industry and support the transfer of STFC know-how in effective cooperation with companies.
The new Centre of Excellence will be based at the HiLASE facility at Dolní Břežany, close to Prague. HiLASE incorporates advanced solid state laser systems that are ideally suited to high-tech industrial applications, opening up new processing techniques for surface hardening, semiconductor processing and micro/nano-machining, for example.
Brian Bowsher, STFC Chief Executive, said: "I am delighted that this project has been selected for funding by the European Commission. STFC recently delivered a £10 million contract to HiLASE and the funding for this new centre of excellence will allow us to ensure the research at the facility is fully exploited for industry. We also look forward to collaborating on the centre of excellence as an opportunity to build our ongoing partnership with our Czech colleagues.”
John Collier, Director of the STFC Central Laser Facility said: "The award of the Widespread Teaming Project with our colleagues in HiLASE is really excellent news that recognises both the already close and successful partnership we have with them and the current and future impact of the advanced laser technology we have developed together."
The HiLASE facility is located within the Science and Technology Advanced Region (STAR) and Jan Ridky, Director of the Czech Institute of Physics highlighted the importance of a common strategy for the development of the STAR region: "From the very beginning, the management of the Institute of Physics and both laser centres has been to be actively involved at the heart of regional matters. The new Teaming initiative puts the emphasis on the active approach to clustering which has been shown, at a European level, as an effective tool to boost the convergence of scientific and research institutions and industry. In the longer term, we are committed to supporting education and awareness within the STAR territory."
The STAR region is rapidly growing based on cluster cooperation formed around HiLASE and ELI Beamlines laser centres and Biotechnology and Biomedical Centre BIOCEV that are situated on the municipality axis Dolní Břežany, Zlatníky – Hodkovice and Vestec. STAR aims to provide complex support for development of the area, to create an environment that stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship based on the knowledge economy and to ensure the exchange of know-how and technologies among its members, partners, universities and companies.
CLF at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is one of the world’s leading laser facilities providing scientists from the UK and Europe with an unparalleled range of state-of-the-art laser technology. The CLF’s wide ranging applications include experiments in physics, chemistry and biology, accelerating subatomic particles to high energies, probing chemical reactions on the shortest timescales and studying biochemical and biophysical process critical to life itself.
From advanced, compact, tuneable lasers which can pinpoint individual particles to high power laser installations that recreate the conditions inside stars, a vigorous development programme ensures that our facilities maintain their international competitiveness.