NCA member ENERGOKLASTR to establish top science and technology centre
In 2014 the Czech Republic’s innovation infrastructure will be further strengthened with the opening of the new Vysočina Science and Technology Park (STP) and Technology Transfer Centre (TTC) in the city of Jihlava – the capital of the Vysočina Region. The new facility will be one of the premier technology centres in the country, focusing mainly on energy technologies. The initial investment to set up the centre is over CZK 400 million. The STP itself will create over 50 jobs, with a further 150 – 200 jobs generated by partner companies. Czech Minister for Industry and Trade Martin Kocourek explains the importance of the project: “Research and development in the energy sector is a key strategic activity for the Czech Republic. It will soon become necessary to invest heavily in this sector, so it is essential that we have state-of-the-art technologies already in place, developed by Czech companies. The Vysočina project will also support the professional development of talented young people working in this key sector – and that is a key priority in the government’s new energy policy, which emphasizes the importance of educating a new generation of energy industry specialists for the Czech Republic.” The project is part-funded by the Ministry of Industry and Trade via the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation. Petr Očko, EU Funds Section Director at the Ministry, gives more details: “The Technology Transfer Centre will provide an ideal environment for start-up SMEs to fine-tune their innovative business plans before full market implementation. In view of the key strategic importance of the Vysočina project, the Ministry is channelling almost CZK 300 million of subsidy funding into the pre-opening phase.”
The project is coordinated by the Energoklastr association – a network of companies, institutions and other organizations cooperating to strengthen their position on the domestic and international markets. Energoklastr Director Jan Rakušan explains: “The key benefit of the project is that it enables companies to test the results of high-level research in a real-life environment before launching the full-scale application phase.” The main partners of the Technology Transfer Centre are Mendel University in Brno, the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT), and CVVI (the Centre for Research, Development and Innovation). The financial partner is Komerční banka.
The core focus of the Science and Technology Park (STP) will be on the energy sector, with researchers addressing key issues such as energy efficiency, materials engineering, and the use of biomass as a fuel. The laboratories will provide state-of-the-art facilities for the experimental development and production of thin films and biogas energy generation technologies. Besides the Science and Technology Park, the new centre will also incorporate a Technology Transfer Centre and a Business Incubator. Boris Šimák, Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT) and Chairman of the Energoklastr Administrative Board, explains the benefits: “The project will help us to apply theoretical research to practical solutions, developing our expertise in conjunction with commercial partners. This will give us a much stronger foundation for our research and development activities.”
Miroslav Křížek, CEO of the CzechInvest agency, adds: “The Jihlava project has received support from the ‘Prosperity’ funding programme, which helps organizations create laboratories for applied research and other facilities for innovative business activity. The programme is still open for applications until the end of July, but this will probably be the last call for projects.” The benefits of the new centre will also be felt by the wider local community. Jaroslav Vymazal, the Mayor of Jihlava, emphasizes that the city will be able to attract more university graduates, which will have a positive knock-on effect on local business and education. Regional Vice-President Libor Joukl adds: “The project will also help bring new jobs to the Region.”
Source: Pavel Vlček, Press Spokesman, Ministry of Industry and Trade