Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

FunGLASS Report Summary

Project ID: 664440
Funded under: H2020-EU.4.a.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FunGLASS (Centre for functional and surface-functionalized glasses)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The overall objective of the project is the upgrade of the existing Centre of excellence for ceramics, glass and silicate materials (CEKSiM) in Trenčín, Slovakia, to an internationally recognized Centre for functional and surface-functionalized glasses (FunGlass). The new Centre will be specialized to cutting edge research in the area of glasses with novel properties and embedded functionality (luminescence, electric, magnetic, catalytic, sorption), and to functionalization of conventional glasses with the aim of modification of the mentioned properties, and adding new functionalities.
In a broader context the planned upgrade of CEKSiM to FunGLASS, in close collaboration with the project partners in Germany (FSU, FAU), Italy (UNIPD), and Spain (CSIC), is in accord with the Work program topic “Spreading excellence and widening participation”. The FunGLASS project is defined across several of the focus areas as specified in the Work Program. In particular, the planned research activities of the Centre shall contribute to the following research topics:
- Through developing of materials and technologies for more efficient energy harvesting, especially solar, and more efficient energy use through development of materials for energy efficient lighting applications, and surface modification of building materials, such as construction glass panels with increased energy efficiency the research topics “Smart cities and communities”, Competitive low-carbon energy” and Energy efficiency” in the fields related to secure clean and efficient energy,
- Personalized health and care: development of new types of glass-based biomaterials, tailoring their properties through e.g. surface modification, and developing of technologies for adjusting their performance to particular needs of individual patients,
- Waste: a resource to recycle, reuse and recover raw materials: development of new materials based on glass waste (glass is in principle 100 % recyclable), and development and introduction of new technologies for utilization of industrial and household waste for production of glass and glass-ceramic materials,
- Key enabling technologies including nanotechnologies, nanomaterials, and photonics.
In broader terms the project will respond to a number of issues as defined in fundamental documents of the H2020 Program:
- Through development of innovative products and technologies in close cooperation with industries will help to:
- respond to economic crisis, by creating new jobs, and facilitating sustainable economic growth,
- strengthen the EU’s global position in research, innovation and technology,
- create a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and to create a knowledge society.
- Through networking of the technological leaders with the excellent research centres in low performing countries to complete the European Research Area as a single market for knowledge.
- Through targeted R&I activities with strong industrial potential to adapt, advance and transform the results of R&D in product and services.
The establishment of the Centre will reflect also the objectives of the H2020 program. In terms of achieving of scientific excellence the activities in the Centre will be focused at:
- Pursuing frontier research by attracting leading scientists in the field by providing motivating conditions for their research activities,
- Providing training opportunities for young and experienced researchers by seeking funding for training programs through Maria Currie Actions especially training networks,
- Building networked research facilities, and providing access to them to leading specialists from partner institutions, thus exploiting the innovation potential of research infrastructures, strengthening the human capital of the research infrastructures, and facilitating international cooperation.
In terms of industrial leadership the Centre will pursue the activities focused at development of materials with added functionalities, nanotechnologies, with close cooperation with leading glass producers, and SMEs.
In terms of the societal challenges the Centre will focus at research activities contributing to population health (new materials for personalized health care), and energy-related issues (more efficient solar energy harvesting, and energy saving lighting applications).
The horizontal issues of the H2020 program will be pursued by the activities of the Centre leading to:
- international cooperation and collaboration,
- promoting gender equality in science & innovation,
- participation of SMEs at the activities of the Centre,
- adapting R&D discoveries to commercial applications.
The project is also in agreement with the smart specialization strategy (RIS3) of the Slovak Republic approved by the Government of the Slovak Republic in November 2013. The research topics outlined in the long-term science and innovation strategy of the proposed Centre are in accord with the RIS3 areas of specialization 1 and 9 (research of materials and nanotechnology) and 5 (sustainable energy), through development of new types of glass and glass-ceramic based materials and surface modified materials with new functionalities and, partially also to the area 3 (biomedicine and biotechnology), through research activities related to materials for personalized health care.
Development trends based on the available R&I capacities are in the RIS3 strategy defined in 8 areas, out of which the proposed research Centre will cover the topics related to the trend 1 – new materials, 6 - development of technologies for obtaining electricity and heat from renewable sources (water, sun, wind, biomass), and 7 - research in nuclear energy with a focus on safety, storage of spent fuel.
The proposed project will contribute to closing the gap between the innovation leaders and the low performing countries, thus overcoming the innovation divide, and to promote a strong partnership between the member states.
The synergy with European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) is ensured by the commitment of the Ministry of Education of Slovak Republic to support those projects funded through the H2020 grants from the sourced of the operational program Research and Innovation, in particular, providing the sources for real financing of the related RTD infrastructure.
In order to achieve the overall objective of the project in the frame of the one-year CSA action, i.e. preparatory works for the planned upgrade of the CEKSiM to FunGlass the following partial goals had to be achieved:
1. Preparation of a robust business plan ensuring the creation of the Centre, describing the exact methodology how the CEKSiM will be transformed and upgraded to qualitatively new level from the point of view of its scientific excellence, innovation capacity, international collaboration, training capacities, and management. The business plan was based on:
- Benchmarking of the peer centres,
- Evaluation and preparation of feedback of the SWOT analysis of the CEKSiM,
- Detailed financial analysis of the CEKSiM, taking into account available and prospective sources of funding, including the competitive funding both from national and international sources,
- Preparation of a roadmap of research and innovation activities based on the cutting edge research topics identified within the frame of the CSA action,
- Preparation of a training and education plan involving continuous training of all the personnel, training of technicians, PhD students and pos-docs,
- Establishment of a formalized network and collaboration procedure among the partner institutions.
The preparation of the business plan will:
1. Ensure establishment of the FunGLASS as a joint venture of all participating institutions, based on the principles of close collaboration, and mutual benefits for all partners,
2. Identify critical risks threatening the establishment and long term sustainability of the Centre,
3. Identify the most promising research areas, facilitating the Centre to become an establishment pursuing cutting edge research tasks with high innovation potential,
4. Identify strategic industrial partners for transfer of knowledge and innovation activities,
5. Ensure long term sustainability of the Centre for the time horizon of 10 – 15 years.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far
The activities of the project have been carried out in the frame of 6 workpackages:
WP1: Benchmarking of peer centres
WP2: Creation of the technology road map for the Centre
WP3: Preparation and implementation of the SWOT analysis feedback
WP4: Financial analysis and preparation of business plan of the planned Centre
WP5: Project management
WP6: Dissemination, exploitation and communication
The activities performed in the frame of individual workpackages are described separately in the following sections.

WP1: Benchmarking of peer centres
Objectives:
1. Identification of the position of the existing Centre of excellence for ceramics, glass, and silicate materials in the context of their scientific and innovation output in comparison to:
- Project partners from high performing EU countries,
- Other leading institutes in the field in EU, and in the world.
2. Definition of the set of short and long term objectives to be achieved by the new Centre in order to attain the level comparable with the technology and innovation leaders, and the means how to achieve them.
Work and methodology:
The benchmarking activity (WP1) of the Project was separated into two stages:
1. Visiting of the project director from the Slovak republic at partner institutions with the goal of:
- Obtaining first-hand experience from management of the partner centres.
- Obtaining information on experimental basis, training and research activities and how the collaboration system with industrial participants is organised in the partner institutions.
- Identification of other institutions that can be considered as world technology and scientific leaders in the field of glass and glass-based.
2. Creation of a benchmarking questionnaire, which was subsequently distributed to the identified scientific and technology leaders. The questionnaire was also available at the project website http://funglass.eu/sourvey/22 so the respondents could fill it on-line.
3. Evaluation of the benchmarking questionnaire, and obtaining the information as outlined in Section.
The benchmarking was not focused on centres and institutions which work in areas involving metallic glasses, organic and molecular glasses, and halogenide and chalcogenide glasses, which are out of scope of the planned centre. The benchmarking activity also avoided direct comparison among benchmarked institutions due to sensitivity of the issue and specific conditions in different countries and institutes. The main output was therefore a list of general conclusions and recommendations for the new centre in terms of its efficient scientific management and administration, as well as the list of measures, which should be taken to achieve scientific excellence in the foreseeable future.
In the frame of the benchmarking activity, 28 research laboratories, centres and institutes have been identified and selected, based on the experience of the project directors, and their international recognition in the field of glass research and technology.
Three types of institutions have been included:
- Individual research groups or departments led by an outstanding scientist (Professor) with primary focus on research and development in the field of glass and glass-related materials, but standing alone within a larger organisational entity (university or faculty).
- Clusters, i.e. several departments or smaller organisational units clustered within a larger entity (university of faculty), and working together in various aspects of glass research.
- Institutes, i.e. large organisational entities (legal persons) with their scientific interests dedicated mainly to glass research and technology.
Both academic and industry related research institutes have been benchmarked.
Out of the 28 benchmarked institutions, 21 are located in Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Denmark, Sweden, UK), 4 are located in Americas (Brasil, USA), and 3 are located in Asia (Turkey, Japan, China).
Out of the 28 benchmarked institutions 17 returned completely or at least partially filled questionnaires, which represented the return rate of 60.7 %.
The data on scientific output has been obtained from the Web of Science database.
In the frame of the activity 4 visits at partner institutions were completed by the members of the TnUAD research team:
1. CSIC, Madrid, June 26th, 2015, prof. Galusek, dr. Galusková
2. FSU, Jena, August 5th, 2015, prof. Galusek, dr. Klement
3. FAU, Erlangen, September 10th, 2015, prof. Galusek, dr. Galusková
4. UNIPD, Padova, September 30th, 2015, prof. Galusek, dr. Galusková
Results:
The main goal of the benchmarking activity was to “learn by example” from the science and technology leaders in EU and in the world, who are widely recognised for their outstanding contribution to research and innovation in the field of glass science.
The most important lesson was that there are many ways of achieving scientific excellence and there exists no set of unambiguous rules to follow in this respect. However, the activity helped to identify the position of the existing CEKSiM centre in Trenčín, Slovakia, and helped to identify some issues, which will have to be dealt with when creating the FunGLASS Centre.
These can be summarized as follows:
1. In terms of size most outstanding research institutions vary between 6 and 50 members of research staff (23 on average). Larger institutions seem more difficult to manage; they can be less flexible and less efficient to respond to the newest challenges in their research area. However, the centres with smaller numbers of research staff members require efficient support from a central administration (financial, legal, contractual etc. services), and most likely cannot operate as independent legal entities.
2. The research topics pursued in the existing Centre in Trenčín belong to “hot topics” as identified by the technology leaders. The centre lags behind in the number of publications per researcher, and particularly in the number of citations on published works. Careful analysis is required to identify the reasons and to curb the trend.
3. The existing Centre requires more intensive and efficient international collaboration, i.e. increase of the number of sent and accepted researchers and students from other countries.
4. Most of the technology leaders dedicate part of their activities to education and training of master and PhD students. However, the teaching burden should not exceed about 10 – 20 % of FTE to avoid negative impact on scientific output.
5. No conclusions could be drawn concerning the optimum way of funding. Even for the same institution the numbers vary widely with time in some instances, reflecting the changes in economic and social situation in various countries and in the world. Achievement of financial self-sufficiency of the planned Centre, even in the horizon of 6-7 years will be difficult without direct support from the Slovak government. Other sources of funding must be also secured, especially through participation of the new Centre in the EU framework programmes, in close collaboration with the project partners. The amount of funding obtained through collaboration must increase in the future, anticipating the amount of funding up to 20 % from industrial sources, also through increase of master and PhD theses directly defined or paid for by an industrial partner.
6. An efficient, well-conceived and sustainable way of covering the operation and maintenance cost of available experimental equipment must be implemented in order to ensure long term operability of the Centre. Existence of central facilities, with at least part of the cost of major experimental equipment covered by the central administration (university) appears as a feasible option.
7. Strategic planning and selection of research topics respecting the traditions of academic freedom should be implemented into the very fabric of the planned Centre. These freedoms have to be further complemented by an efficient system of evaluation of defined goals and timely implementation of correction measures by the Centre management.
8. A productivity-based evaluation system resulting in differentiation of wages among researchers appears as an efficient tool for promoting high scientific output of the Centre. The system already in operation in Trenčín based on a comprehensive analysis of activities carried out by each researcher in the previous year and resulting in an increase of up to 30 % in their wages based on their performance will serve as a sound basis for creation of similar system in the new Centre.
9. A small but efficient administration unit in close collaboration with the central university administration is vital for successful operation of the new Centre, and must ensure the elimination of excessive administrative load imposed on researchers today, which is one of the causes for lower competitiveness in terms of scientific output in the existing Centre. These should also include:
- EU office for assessment of all issues related to EU financial support, providing information about the EU research and personnel related calls (Horizon 2020, ERC, etc), groups of experts in specific calls, legal assessment for Contracts and Agreements, economic justification of projects, audit tools.
- TTO (Technology Transference Office) for assessment and support on IPR issues creating an interface between research and industry; study of industrial demands and relation with research capacity and offer of the Centre.
10. Long-term alignment with regional innovation strategy (“RIS-3” and following), close monitoring and implementation for glass industry over EU-23 will be necessary.
Details from the benchmarking activity are provided in the deliverable R1-1, submitted to the EC on February 16, 2016, and approved on February 19, 2016.

WP2: Creation of the technology road map for the Centre
Objectives:
1. Based on the newest R&D trends in the field, unambiguous identification of research topics pursued by the new Centre, taking into account the personal capacity, research infrastructure and know-how of available in the coordinator and partner institutions.
2. Creation of a plan for achievement of the short-term (5 years) and long-term (10 – 15 years) goals with specific technology solutions.
Work and methodology:
The activities of the WP2 were carried out in two phases:
1. Preliminary phase:
- Identification of the area of research of the new Centre, and definition of leaders for every area.
- Identification of essential conditions that must be met in order to achieve the goals defined in the roadmap (e.g. requested personal capacity, research infrastructure, scientific know-how), and preparation of the plan of actions, which must be taken in order to satisfy the essential conditions.
2. Development phase:
- Within each defined research area, identification of the “products” of research activities, taking into account the topics and key areas as defined in the Horizon 2020 work program, and in the RIS3 strategy of the Slovak Republic.
- Creation of the technology roadmap report.
Results:
In the frame of the roadmapping activity the roadmap for establishment of the new FunGlass Centre has been prepared in two areas:
1. Formal establishment of the Centre, including its organization structure, management, training and networking activities.
2. Based on the results of the benchmarking activity, and inputs from all partners the research areas pursued in the new Centre have been identified, and the leaders have been appointed, who will be in charge of individual activities in their area of expertise.
The most important results obtained in the frame of the activity can be summarized as follows:
1. In terms of formal establishment of the new Centre:
Formal establishment of the Centre was planned to comprise seven steps, which will result in formation of its formal as well as functional structures. These can be briefly summarized as follows:
a. Establishment of the Centre, as the upgrade of the CEKSiM.
This would involve formal establishment of the Centre, definition of its organizational structure (Fig. 1), definition and establishment of its management structure, and solution of legal obstacles related to creation of a new legal and administration unit. The expected outcome of the activity will result in creation of a robust and efficient organisation structure of the Centre, allowing its effective management and autonomy in decision making, and eventually, at the end of the project, ensuring its existence as an independent legal entity.
b. Establishment of research departments:
The structure and number of research departments will reflect the research topics defined by project partners. Six research departments are planned within the Centre, including the CEKSiM, which will operate further as one of the research departments of the new Centre and a glass pilot processing unit designed to answer requests from industry for surface treatment of large pieces of glass up to 0.5 m2. The departments will be conceived in the way, which would attract leading scientists in the respective fields as heads of departments, preferably by attracting ERC grantees, and ensure that the departments would work as flexible and highly efficient units with proper age and qualification structure and with at least one junior research group with specific exploratory focus in each department.
c. Creation of a system of management system for advanced research facilities:
This would in particular involve creation of the set of rules for management of the existing and newly procured research infrastructure, including the rules for their used by researchers, students, and trainees from partner institutions, and rules for funding their operation and maintenance costs. These measures would ensure sustainable management and efficient use of research facilities of all partners, facilitating creation of the rules for easy access of all researchers and PhD students to the equipment and for covering their operation and maintenance costs.
d. Creation of a student and researcher exchange program for access to research facilities of all partners:
The main outcome of this effort would provide the research staff members and PhD students from all partner institutions easy access to, and efficient use of the experimental facilities of other partners in order to ensure their efficient utilisation and maximising the scientific output of the consortium. This included, e.g., dating-out of specialty seminar courses on the areas of “Mechanical Properties of Glasses”, “Optical Properties of Glasses”, “Glass Technology” and “Thin films”.
The training itself will include:
- visits of leading scientists from FunGlass partner institutions at the FunGlass Centre in Trenčín. In the frame of the visits specific tuition activities for the FunGlass staff members and PhD students will be carried out, including:
o lectures dealing with Centre-specific topics, as defined in the training plan,
o research infrastructure specific demonstration activities as defined in the training plan.
- visits of leading scientists from other leading European and world glass research institutions at the FunGlass Centre in Trenčín. In the frame of the visits specific tuition activities for the FunGlass staff members and PhD students will be carried out, including:
o lectures dealing with Centre-specific topics, as defined in the training plan,
o research infrastructure specific demonstration activities as defined in the training plan.
- long term research and training visits of staff members and PhD students from Trenčín at partner institutions and/or other leading European and world glass/materials research institutions. In the frame of the visits the following activities will be carried out:
o research
infrastructure specific training aimed at mastering up-to-date research infrastructure at partner and other institutions,
o attending lectures (especially by PhD students from Trenčín) provided by the partner institution in the frame of their PhD program tuition schemes,
o research work related to project activities at partner institutions and, in the later stages of the project also joint project activities among the project partners,
o preparation of joint research papers.
- Summer schools dealing with particular topics defined in the training plan.
e. Building, re-construction, and adjustment of the premises for the Centre, including procurement of required research infrastructure:
Although not funded from the H2020 project funds, this part is prerequisite of other goals of the project and efficient functioning of the Centre. Its main goal is to provide sufficient laboratory and office space for newly hired research personnel and for accommodation of procured research infrastructure, including unique experimental facilities, which would give the new Centre advantage in competition for funding sources, and will make it desirable partner in future project consortia.
f. Hiring the requested research and administration staff:
The outcomes of the activity are expected to ensure sufficient working power for planned research and innovation activities of the Centre, and to ensure efficient utilisation of the procured experimental equipment, eventually leading to marked increase of scientific output of the Centre.
g. Establishment of the Administration support unit:
The activities of research departments will be aided and supported by the Administration support unit (ASU), which would ensure efficient management of the Centre, providing complete administrative support for the Centre management (SB, director, heads of departments), management of the Centre towards the EC, and freeing research personnel from burdensome administrative tasks.
All these measures are prerequisite for major activities in the frame of the project, i.e. research and innovation, as outlined in the following section, and the training activities for both the research staff and PhD students.
2. In terms of identification of research areas pursued in the new Centre:
A matrix of research topics has been defined and individual research topics identified, which will comprise the research and innovative potential of the new Centre (for details see Annex 2 of the deliverable R2-1 Roadmap). The matrix is divided into five main topics (arranged vertically –in columns - in the matrix) defining the main applications resulting from the research outputs of the new Centre, i.e.:
- Biomaterials / Materials for health care,
- Optical materials, including the materials with luminescence properties,
- Materials for energy applications,
- Other functional materials (i.e. electric, magnetic, etc.),
- Structural glass-based materials.
Where applicable, each column is further divided horizontally, specifying the way (in terms of processing) the respective application characteristics are achieved, and how the desired properties will be characterised, i.e.:
- Coatings and sol-gel methods,
- Conventional processing,
- Additive manufacturing, i.e. unconventional rapid prototyping based methods, e.g. 3D-printing,
- Characterization.
Each application is in more detail specified in the following sections in terms of:
- the state of the art in the field,
- research goals (i.e. in the horizon of 5 – 6 years) achievable as a result of research activities of the new Centre.
Details from the roadmapping activity are provided in the deliverable R2-1, submitted to the EC on April 13, 2016, and approved on April 14, 2016.

WP3: Preparation and implementation of the SWOT analysis feedback
Objectives:
1. Critical evaluation of the SWOT analysis presented in the Stage I project proposal.
2. Preparation of recommendations and measures to be taken to fully utilize the potential of the existing Centre, as defined in strengths and opportunities, and eliminate the drawbacks defined in the weaknesses, and threats.
Work and methodology:
Based on the results and conclusions of the first coordination meeting (M6-1, Month 1) a critical evaluation of the SWOT analysis presented in the project proposal was carried out jointly by all partners. The effort was mainly focused at elimination of weaknesses and threats, and utilization of opportunities, especially:
1. Identification of possibilities and calls for obtaining sufficient funding of the new Centre from national sources and ESIF, namely for upgrading of the research infrastructure for the new Centre specific technologies.
2. Identification of possibilities and calls for wider participation of the Consortium members jointly in the EU framework programs.
3. Formulation of basic ideas for establishment of joint exchange research training programs for young scientist, and for creation of attractive motivating international environment in the Centre.
4. Stabilization of workplaces for young researchers, providing long term working perspective with corresponding financial evaluation of their work.
5. Decrease of administrative workload of researchers from all participating institutions.
6. In those issues, where the consortia members have no direct influence (e.g. low level of funding from national sources, low interest in study of technical and natural science among young generation), seeking the ways of dissemination of the information, influence the public view on these issues, and hence, affect the policymakers decisions.
Results:
The SWOT analysis feedback has been prepared and submitted as the deliverable R3-1 of the project. A set of recommendations has been created aimed at utilizing of strengths and opportunities, and at the same time eliminating the threats and weaknesses. Important realization originated from the analysis that also strengths can become weaknesses or threats: measures must be therefore taken, which will anticipate possible problems in long term and will eliminate possible problems before they occur. Above all, critical risks and measures to eliminate them has been identified, and prepared as the input for the stage II project proposal. These can be summarized as follows:
Risk1
Level of likelihood: High
Low earning power of the workforce: the difference between the salary scale of the employees of R&D establishments in the Slovak Republic is nationally far below the level in high performing EU states, and even below the level of the income of employees with comparable qualification in private sector in the Slovak Republic, resulting in reduced capacity of the Centre to attract the best domestic and foreign candidates.
Proposed risk-mitigation measures
- Institute of personal salary,
- Productivity-based system of evaluation of research staff resulting in significant increase of income,
- Contracts obliging researchers to spend significant part of their work period at advanced partner institutions,
- Provide motivation and attractiveness through international scope of the centre’s activities, its level of excellence and long-term opportunities.
Risk2
Level of likelihood: High: General and permanently low interest in the study of technical subjects in the Slovak Republic, resulting in standing decrease of quality of PhD candidates.
Proposed risk-mitigation measures
- Provision of high-level training programs, expert infrastructure and mentoring for ensuring attractiveness of the centre’s specific subjects
- Influx of suitable candidates from other countries, especially the countries of the former Soviet Union, India, China etc.
- Training programs obliging PhD students to spend significant part of their study at advanced partner institutions,
- Issuing joint/double diplomas with the universities in high performing countries,
- MINT motivation and encouragement through dissemination activities on public and undergraduate levels with special focus on women in science.
Risk3
Level of likelihood: Low
Lack of management personnel specialized in dealing with the diverse and complex nature of managing projects.
Proposed risk-mitigation measures
- Intensive training of the Central administration unit personnel in the areas related with project management and implementation.
Risk4
Level of likelihood: Low
Lack of equipment specific to possible new lines of research, including nanomaterials, coatings and multifunctional materials
Proposed risk-mitigation measures
- Procurement of project specific equipment funded from the ERDF sources,
- Training of research staff for the new research equipment,
- Intensive utilisation of research infrastructure at partner institutions.
Details from the SWOT analysis feedback activity are provided in the deliverable R3-1, submitted to the EC on October 28, 2015, and approved on November 6, 2015.

WP4: Financial analysis and preparation of business plan of the planned Centre
Objectives:
1. To prepare a detailed financial analysis of the proposed Centre in order to ensure its long term financial sustainability and, in long term horizon of 10-15 years, its financial self-sufficiency.
2. To prepare a robust business plan for creation and long-term sustainability of the Centre for functional and surface-functionalized glasses.
Work and methodology:
All project partners, with the aid of an external consultant on financial analysis prepared jointly a financial analysis of the proposed Centre, as the principal input for preparation of the business plan as the main deliverable of the stage I project. This analysis took into account:
- the available sources of funding, including governmental support based on scientific output of the Centre, and national grant programs, including ESIF,
- real expenses of the existing Centre, taking into account the labor expenses of existing research personnel, maintenance costs of the research infrastructure, and overheads of the Centre,
- estimated projection of the cost increase in the short term (the H2020 funding period) and long term (behind the H2020 funding period) time horizon,
- detailed analysis of the cost of planned development based on:
- planned expansion of the new Centre (new premises, research infrastructure),
- hiring of new research and auxiliary staff (creation of new workplaces for research, administration and auxiliary staff)
- long term strategy for securing the requested funds for sustainability, and in the long term horizon, its financial self-sufficiency from available sources:
- national government sources,
- competitive international funding, including EU framework programs,
- industry-oriented research, and contracts with industrial partners,
- revenues from selling patents and technologies.
- identification of risks, and identification of measures for their mitigation related to political and economic development in Europe in the short term horizon
The financial analysis has been submitted as the deliverable R4-1.The results obtained from financial analysis were used as inputs for preparation of the business plan. The business plan preparation consisted of several components:
- marketing plan: to cover all aspects of the planned innovation and research activities, with specified research topics and innovation strategy,
- financial plan, including detailed plan for attaining financial sustainability, and in long term, also ability of financial independence of the Centre,
- plan for development of human resources, including the plan for hiring, motivation, training, and education of research personnel,
- legal plan requested to facilitate the upgrade of the existing Centre from a joint venture of three partners into the entity with academic autonomy and autonomy in decision making.
Individual components of the business plan were summarized, connections among the components have been created, and verified for their conformity with the laws of the Slovak Republic and the EU. The business plan has been submitted as the deliverable R4-2 of the project.
Results:
The business plan summarizes the overall objective of the project of the upgrade the existing Centre of excellence for ceramics, glass and silicate materials (CEKSiM) in Trenčín, Slovakia, to an internationally recognized Centre for Functional and Surface-functionalized Glasses (FunGlass) focusing on cutting edge research in the area of glasses with special functional properties and functionalization of conventional glasses to modify their properties and add new functionalities. It futher specifies other key activities of the project, i.e. training of research staff and PhD students and applied research to tap into a local know-how in development of the competitive advantage of the region by training of skilled research personnel and by actively pursuing opportunities to establish partnership with regional and European glass industries and international networking to form creative international environment and close ties with project partners from leading institutes in the field of research interest in Europe.
Part 1 of the business plan contains executive summary of the business plan.
Part 2 specifies goals and visions of the new Centre, including key performance indicators in five areas in which performance of the new Centre will be measured:
1. Establishment and building of the Centre (new skilled personnel, infrastructure),
2. Scientific excellence and networking (international cooperation, scientific output/impact, grants),
3. Training and teaching activities (training of staff and PhD students at the partner organizations in the frame of joint programmes, researchers involved in knowledge transfer),
4. Commercial activities and cooperation with industry (patents, projects, cooperation),
5. Structure, management and institutional matters (creation of an enabling structure, performance enhancing, academic autonomy).
Part 3 contains a preview and summary of the status quo in the present CEKSiM centre, describing the research topics, staff, affiliated faculty, infrastructure, accomplishments, challenges, publications, projects, academic and commercial cooperation both domestic and international, and educational activities of CEKSiM.
Part 4 provides the insight into the proposed FunGlass centre of excellence, detailing the scientific challenges and innovation potential, defining and outlining its research topics including biomaterials and materials for health care, optical materials, materials for applications in the sector of energy and other functional materials, and structural glass-based materials. This chapter explains the contribution of the project to the regional and country development as well as the expected outcomes of its planned international character, including development of new knowledge and skills through the exchange of knowledge and ideas with international partners of the project, improvement of the overall framework conditions for innovation by intensification of collaboration between industry, academia, and research technology organizations or improved access to finance.
Part 5 is dedicated to the research and development strategy. The role of the Centre is seen in all stages of R&D activities – solving the fundamental questions, developing new concepts and strategies, identification of their business potential, and developing laboratory-scale verified technologies (TRL 4) to technologies validated and demonstrated in relevant environments (TRL 5 and 6) in close cooperation with industrial partners including SMEs and involvement of students. Multidisciplinary character of the research and links for industrial cooperation are also explained.
Part 6 deals with organizational and management structures. It explains the management structure of the Centre detailing roles, activities, and relationships (including graphical representation, Fig. 1) of the most important bodies and positions such as the Scientific Board, Director, i
ndividual departments (the role of CEKSiM centre in the new centre, as well as the roles of newly established departments, i.e. Department of biomaterials (DBM), Department of coating processes (DCP), Department of glass processing (DGP), Department of functional materials (DFM), Department of glass characterization – Central laboratories (CL), and Glass prototype processing line unit (GPPU)) and their heads, Industrial Board (IB), International Advisory Board (IAB), and Central administration unit (CAU), including the European Office of the Centre (EOC). This section particularly stresses the importance of the Scientific Board for autonomy in decision making of the Centre and identifies critical risks of the project.
The last section (section 7) contains

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The progress and the impacts achieved in the frame of the CSA activity can be divided into two equally important parts:
1. The results relevant for establishment and long term sustainability of the new Centre,
2. Broader impact for the region and the Slovak republic.
In terms of the results relevant for establishment and long term sustainability of the new Centre the most important impacts can be specified as follows:
The direct impacts of establishment of the new Centre, in relation to the topics defined in the work program can be defined as follows:
1. Establishment of the Centre itself, as internationally recognized institution of research and innovation of European significance: to the best of our knowledge there exists no similar Centre in EU, with the new Centre filling the gap in the market. Through the Centre establishment the following impacts are envisaged:
a. building and upgrade of the research infrastructure to qualitatively and quantitatively new level,
b. obtained the letter of commitment from the Slovak ministry of education, pledging the ministry to provide relevant funds for research infrastructure of the new Centre even in case the H2020 funding will not be provided.
c. involvement in cutting edge research and innovation activities (topics defined in the section “long-term science and innovation strategy”), with high innovation potential through involvement in industry-related research,
d. introduction of the sound management practice of the new Centre,
e. creating professional careers for technicians, researchers and management personnel to give them opportunities of promotion based in evaluation and achievement of defined objectives,
f. significant improvement of its research and innovation culture,
g. identification of weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and threats for establishment and operation of the new centre, identification of critical risks, and definition of measures, which would mitigate or completely eliminate the critical risks,
2. Creation of 40+ new workplaces for highly skilled and qualified research and auxiliary personnel, and ensuring their excellent quality through:
a. Creation of mechanisms and financial conditions for hiring high quality research personal from abroad, helping especially young researchers planning and building their career
b. Intensive training of the research personnel through student and researcher exchange programs for access to research facilities and interim training sessions of Slovak specialists on advanced research facilities in the advanced partners for knowledge transfer.
3. Achievement of scientific excellence of the new Centre measured by:
a. in the frame of the benchmarking activity unambiguous identification of the position of the existing Centre in comparison to the technology leaders in EU and in the world, and proposal of the measures, which would allow the new Centre achievement of the level of technology leaders in the field in foreseeable future,
b. in the frame of the same activity identification of the most relevant (“hot”) research topics with the greatest expected innovation, technological and societal impact and, within the project consortium, identification of leaders for each research topic pursued in the new Centre,
c. Involvement in cutting-edge R&I activities, with advanced partners taking lead in selected areas, as defined in the section “Scientific Challenges and Innovation Potential of the new Centre” of this proposal,
d. Increase in quantity and quality of scientific results published in high impact factor peer reviewed journals and international conferences,
e. Amount of funding obtained through highly competitive international grant schemes,
f. Number of patents protecting know-how obtained in the Centre.
4. A strong collaboration between the public and private sector resulting in increased research and innovation capacity of industrial collaborators and their increased competitiveness in European and world market, with related impact on employment in relevant areas, and in the Trenčín region and Slovak Republic in particular.
5. Achievement of financial self-sufficiency of the Centre through:
a. Sufficient number of research grants from national and international sources,
b. Setting-up an application centre for industrial partners,
c. Contracts with industrial partners,
d. Service measurements for industrial partners,
e. Revenues from sold patents and technologies.
The impact can be quantified through the key performance indicators, as defined in the section “Objectives” of this proposal.
From the point of view of the scientific achievements the impact of the research activities in the newly established Centre is envisaged through the research topics defined in the section “Scientific Challenges and Innovation Potential of the new Centre” of this proposal.
In broader context the project will respond to a number of issues as defined in fundamental documents of the H2020 Program:
- Through development of innovative products and technologies in close cooperation with industries will help to:
- respond to economic crisis, by creating new jobs, and facilitating sustainable economic growth,
- strengthen the EU’s global position in research, innovation and technology,
- create a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and to create a knowledge society.
- Through networking of the technological leaders with the excellent research centres in low performing countries to complete the European Research Area as a single market for knowledge.
- Through targeted R&I activities with strong industrial potential to adapt, advance and transform the results of R&D in product and services.
In terms of industrial leadership the Centre will pursue the activities focused at development of materials with added functionalities, nanotechnologies, with close cooperation with leading glass producers, and SMEs.
In terms of the societal challenges the Centre will focus at research activities contributing to population health (new materials for personalized health care), and energy-related issues (more efficient solar energy harvesting, and energy saving lighting applications).

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Record Number: 190394 / Last updated on: 2016-11-15
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