FUNGLASS: a new Centre in Trencin
Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín, Slovakia, builds a new Centre for functional and surface functionalized glasses
Centre for functional and surface functionalized glasses (FunGlass) is the only successful Slovak project in the European framework program for research and innovations Horizon 2020 in the frame of the call Widespread: Teaming, Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation. The team of the university's Centre of Excellence for Ceramics, Glass and Silicate Materials led by Prof. Galusek was selected from among more than 160 originally submitted applications to become one of the only nine funded projects in European Union. The success is the result of a close collaboration with leading experts and institutions in glass science and technology in Europe, namely (in alphabetical order) Prof. Bernardo from the Universita degli Studi di Padova (Italy), Prof. Boccaccini from the Friedrich – Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany), Prof. Durán from the Instituto de Ceramica y Vidrio Madrid (Spain), and Prof. Wondraczek from the Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena (Germany), who are the partners and members of the project consortium. The partners will be directly involved in the establishment and management of the new Centre, contributing to achievement of scientific excellence.
The financial support of 15 M€ for the time period 2017-2023 will ensure an upgrade of the existing national Centre of excellence for ceramics, glass and silicate materials and its transformation to internationally recognized and established Centre for functional and surface functionalized glasses – FunGLASS. The support from the European commission is dedicated mainly to personnel expansion of the Centre, creating 44 new jobs for highly qualified research and administrative staff. The funding will ensure motivating conditions not only for researchers from the Slovak Republic, but also for influx of experts from other countries, with the aim of building multidisciplinary, creative, highly competitive and motivating environment. Continuous education and training of research staff through extensive scientific exchange programmes and creation of international doctoral degree programs issuing double diplomas with project partner institutions will ensure the desired qualification growth of scientists and PhD students from the Centre.
The research activities of the Centre will focus at excellent research and innovation activities in the field of glasses with specific functional properties (luminescent, electric, sorption) and surface functionalization of conventional glasses resulting in substantial modification of their properties. Such materials can be used in a wide range of applications including generation of energy from renewable sources, its storage, production of high value added materials from waste, protection of cultural heritage, but also in health care, by development of biomaterials tailored for specific needs of individual patients.
Establishment of the Centre is supported by the most important glass producers in the Slovak Republic, namely Johns Manville Trnava, RONA Lednické Rovne, and Vetropcak Nemšová, as well as professional organizations such as the Slovak Glass Society, the Czech Glass Society, the Union of Glass Industry of the Slovak Republic, and most importantly the International Commission on Glass, comprising 33 national organizations and unions of glass science and technology from around the globe.
Based on the letter of commitment from the minister of education, science, research and sports of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Peter Plavčan, the Centre will receive additional funding from the Operational Program: Research and Innovations of at least 10 M€ to upgrade and extend its research facilities.