The European Commission has announced that it is to co-fund the creation of a new “Centre of Excellence” (CoE) for the industrial exploitation of new laser technology in partnership with the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Scientists from Czech Institute of Physics and the STFC’s Central Laser Facility in Oxfordshire, UK, will work together on the 5.5 year / 45 Million Euro project. Funded under the “Widespread Teaming” section of the programme ‘Horizon 2020’, it aims improve the innovation performance of Member states.
The Horizon 2020 programme will bring 10 million Euros to the project. It will be used for further laser development based on the actual needs of high-tech industry, whilst gaining the support from STFC. The long term goal is to improve the financial independence of the new Centre of Excellence on public resources. The HiLASE CoE will also offer career opportunities for the most talented domestic and foreign researchers, to significantly strengthen the intellectual, knowledge and cultural level of the country.
John Collier, Director of the 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, and the current and future impact of the advanced laser technology we have developed together.”
The new Centre of Excellence will be based at the HiLASE facility at Dolni Brezany, Prague. HiLASE incorporates advanced solid state laser systems for hi-tech industrial applications, opening up new processing techniques for surface hardening, semiconductor processing and micro/nano-machining etc.
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 the new ‘Centre of Excellence’ will allow us to ensure that 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”.