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Centre for functional and surface-functionalized glasses

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - FunGlass (Centre for functional and surface-functionalized glasses)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-11-30

The FunGlass Centre is currently in the middle of implementation of the biggest Slovak academic project within the European Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The main objective of the FunGlass project is creating an internationally recognized Centre for Functional and Surface Functionalized Glasses with the help of the partners within the Consortium and their leading experts in glass science and technology in Europe. The Consortium is represented by:
- Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padova, Italy
- Institute of Biomaterials, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
- Institute of Ceramic and Glass, Spanish National Research Centre in Madrid, Spain
- Otto Schott Institute of Materials Research, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany
The research in the Centre is dedicated to the area of glass with special functional properties and functionalization of conventional glasses what should lead to new options for glass utilization in the society. The projects main activities are oriented towards training of research personnel and PhD students and attracting new research talents.
A brief summary of the work done achieved for the period from 01/03/2017 to November 2020:
The Centre is continuously building staff capacity. The number of Centre´s researchers and students will soon exceed 60 and for the first time in the history of the Centre, the majority of researchers and students of PhD study programme will come from abroad (32 scientists or doctoral students represent 14 countries and 4 continents). As confirmed by the Director of the Centre – Professor D. Galusek “Institutions that have the ambition to work successfully in the international scientific field have to be able to attract talents from all over the world”. And this is one of the goals of the FunGlass project.
Thanks to the influx of brains from abroad, the Centre has been successfully coordinating an international consortium of the project for four years, which meets all demanding criteria of the research agency of the European Commission.
The Centre has successfully established and implemented rules for management of advanced research facilities that are suitable for the scope of Centre´s activities. The main goal of the implemented rules is to maximize the Centre´s performance together with optimization of resources in the Centre. The rules mainly point to the work processes performed in the Centre, they help to identify and determine the responsibilities, authority and interrelationships of all personnel who manage, perform, and verify work. This system of rules is communicated within the whole organization, understood, and implemented by all personnel in the Centre.
Next milestone was reached in fall 2020, the preparatory phase of infrastructure was completed and subsequently the Centre signed a contract for the supply of technologies and laboratory equipment for the research activities (Project: CEGLASS, ITMS code 313011R453). Investment worth 8.6 million Euro is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Integrated Infrastructure Operational programme.
Further important milestone reached is the establishment of interesting doctoral program and launching of double degree collaboration within the project consortium. Such activities increased interest of graduate students to complete their thesis in the Centre, both from and outside the EU countries, and helped to create competitive international environment. The Centre also increased its capacity to launch collaborative projects with academic and industrial partners and spread awareness on EU funding on research and innovation via local and national outreach activities. Funding opportunities for research topics from both national and international sources are continuously monitored. Moreover, research activities have been realized also in cooperation with individual partners according to their expertise areas. The Centre already submitted several proposals within H2020 programme (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, European Research Council grants, etc.)
Focus of FunGlass Centre is on building up a top-level, self-sustainable European research institution with diversified funding portfolio. Key factors which the Centre dedicated to, were research topics, cooperation with industry, and joint research efforts with advanced Teaming partners in submission of joint grant proposals.
Among the success of FunGlass belongs approval of one utility model, and the second one which is currently under process of evaluation by the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic.
Another positive point of the project are intensive world-class training activities which have been established and included participation of Centre´s scientists and PhD students in 1-year internships with FunGlass advanced partners at their home site under the supervision of world leading scientists, short-term training internships (up to 3 months) at various research institutions in EU, visiting scientists program with on-site workshops, semi-annual off-site three-day FunGlass school with complementary skills trainings as well as English competence program focusing on academic writing skills
In the second half of the project implementation, the Centre will continue in its training activities. The crucial factors are planning of long-term and short-term research and training visits at partner institutions, the FunGlass School program, visiting scientists program, and training of administrators and operators for newly procured, and installed research facilities. Regarding the delivery and installations with related reconstruction of new technologies focused planning is crucial, as well as close collaboration of the Centre management with the general supplier of the technologies procured within the complementary project CEGLASS is required.
Long-term and short-term training stays will be performed according to the individual training plans of researchers and PhD students. Depending on the epidemiological situation the Centre will either return to prior performance of the visiting scientist program and FunGlass school seminars or will be forced to manage alternative ways of organizing planned training activities in a virtual space (online seminars, workshops, and lectures).
The Centre has implemented a new set of rules for the management of advanced research facilities and it will be necessary to make efforts to launch the "Process Improvement Initiative" initiative, which aimed to map of research infrastructure, review and, if necessary, redesign objectives and processes to achieve the desired efficiencies.
Lastly, the Centre makes efforts to extend its cooperation with industrial partners in proposal writing, especially in the scheme of Horizon Europe projects, focusing on key research topics (e.g. Circular industry, Environmental or Biotechnological issues, Hydrogen utilization) to increase its attractiveness in terms of future cooperation.
Junior FunGlass School 2020
Training course with prof. A. Durán from CSIC Madrid
Open days at FunGlass within within the Science and Technology Week
FunGlass PhD students and researcher at FAU Erlangen with prof. A. R. Boccaccini and Dr. L. Liverani
From FunGlass School 2019
Long-term training at University of Padova, Italy