HiLASE Centre of Excellence – H2020 Teaming Phase 2 project

HiLASE is a new technological infrastructure in the field of application-oriented laser research and development, commissioned in 2015. The DNA of HiLASE is composed of the three main virtues: Uniqueness, Usefulness, and Credibility. Therefore, members of HiLASE are expected to push the frontier of laser technology beyond its current limits, serve as a bridge between the academic world and Industry, and be a reliable partner in doing so. In HiLASE, we develop the next generation of high power Diode Pumped Solid State Lasers, while at the same time, exploit these unique light sources for a wide range of hi-tech industrial applications. And all of this is under one roof.

The HiLASE Centre of Excellence (HiLASE CoE) project received synergistic funding from the ESIF, Operational Programme Research, Development and Education (OP RDE) and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Widespread 01-2016-2017-Teaming Phase 2. The project is being implemented in the period between April 2017 and September 2022 in partnership of the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the United Kingdom Research and Innovation – STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK-RI STFC). Total cost of the projects amounts to cca EUR 45 io. (EUR 35 Mio. ESIF and EUR 10 Mio. H2020).

The main goal of the Teaming Call is to transfer know-how from the European Leading scientific institutions towards the new Centres of excellence able to spur innovation and growth. The role of the British partner is absolutely crucial and, so far, the project is developing very well in line with the expectations. The HiLASE CoE project will enable Czech Republic and Europe in general to maintain, and extend, its present competitive edge in the laser technology. It will drive the uptake of this technology into new markets, develop new applications and generate intellectual property in both the core technology and spin-offs.

However, based on the current legal framework at the level of the European Union, there is a high risk of termination of funding from H2020 resources related to the HiLASE CoE project because beneficiaries/ partners from the United Kingdom would be out of the legal framework for funding from the H2020 program in case of the “no deal Brexit“.

This situation would dramatically influence the success project implementation and have huge impact on the HiLASE Centre as well as on the long term scientific cooperation with the partner institution. The Government of the United Kingdom is committed to finance potential loss of funding for beneficiaries/ partners from the United Kingdom. We strongly believe that the HiLASE is the perfect facility „engine“ for the new Centre of Excellence, bringing an unmatched opportunity for research excellence, technological innovation and industrial exploitation at the very interest of the EU. The current investment is already significant as well las the know-how gained thanks to the British partner. This know-how must stay within the European Union.  We therefore hope that the European Commission as well as the authorities on the national level will find suitable solution to continue supporting this Teaming project within the original financial framework as we are the main beneficiary.

By Tomas Mocek
Head of the HiLASE Centre of Excellence

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