Helping emerging biotechnologies and nanotechnologies go from the lab to the marketplace

Supporting research into pre-application stage nanotechnology and biotechnology – i.e. new technologies that are not yet ready for commercial use – is the main aim of a new joint project between the Regional Centre of Advanced Materials and Technologies (‘RCPTM’) and the Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research (‘CRH’). The centres have been granted 125, 8 million Czech crowns from the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education—Pre-application research for ITI (Integrated Territorial Investment).

‘This is another great achievement for RCPTM. Having succeeded in Excellent Research and Excellent Research Teams projects, we have now obtained funding for pre-application research. These successes are unmatched by any other institution in our country, said Radek Zbořil, RCPTM Director.

The scientists will develop new technologies with potential applications in agriculture, food processing, environmental remediation, and medicine. ‘The project will connect the excellent research conducted at the two centres and support potential technology transfers. It will also explore commercial applications of the research results and secure legal protection for innovations that are made, allowing them to be licensed to commercial partners or used in other ways,’ said Lucie Plíhalová,  manager of the project.

Work done at Palacký University has made the Olomouc region consistently successful in transferring new technologies derived from fundamental research into industrial practice. However, there is still room for improvement. ‘The uniqueness of the project lies in supporting applied research that is independent of any particular commercial sector. The results will be finalized within the centres before being commercialized by a joint technology transfer effort involving both centres,’ said Pavel Tuček, co-author of the project application from RCPTM.

The project will involve eight teams. The RCPTM team will work on nanotechnology for environmental applications such as waste processing that could be deployed in sustainable agricultural systems without adversely affecting farmland.  The scientists will also explore the potential of magnetic nanoparticles as tools for identifying and separating biologically important molecules. These technologies may be useful in food processing, pharmacology, and biomedicine.

Importantly, the grant will enable the centres to buy essential new equipment to support their work during the pre-application stage. In addition, new vacancies will be established, providing opportunities for promising young scientists.

Work on the project will begin in June 2018 and continue until 2022. Its results will be made available to businesses in the Olomouc region.