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Centre for functional and surface-functionalized glasses

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

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

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, nanotec
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 Amer
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,
Estimated sources of funding of the new Centre, eventually leading to its financial sustainability.
Organisational structure of the new Centre
Members of the project team at the final project meeting in Trencin.
Rector of the TNUAD, Mr. Jozef Habánik and the members of project team at the kick off meeting