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Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation: Two German research groups in EU project to establish new Centre of Excellence for Glass Research in Slovakia

The Institute of Biomaterials at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) (Head: Prof. Aldo R. Boccaccini) and the Laboratory of Glass Science, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (FSU) (Head: Prof. Lothar Wondraczek) have been successful as partners of a large EU project in the TEAMING Horizon 2020 call.

These large projects funded by the European Commission are established to support research infrastructure in EU countries which are weak in their science/technology basis. The project "Centre for functional and surface functionalized glasses (FunGlass)" is funded with 15 million Euro and aims at establishing a new Centre of Excellence in Trencin, Slovakia on Advanced Glass Materials. The FAU Institute of Biomaterials and the FSU Laboratory of Glass Science are, together with University of Padova, Italy, and Institute of Ceramic and Glass, Madrid, Spain, the 4 international partners collaborating in this project and they will provide expertise and leadership in establishing research fields and in training scientific personnel of the new Centre of Excellence. The research topics of the Centre will focus on several application sectors, namely glasses for healthcare, optical materials, including materials with luminescence properties, glasses for energy-related applications and other functional materials (i.e. electric, magnetic), and structural glass-based materials, covering a range of processing techniques as coating and sol-gel methods and additive manufacturing approaches among others. Commenting on this new project, Prof. Boccaccini (FAU, Erlangen-Nuremberg) said: "the expectation is that this new international effort will lead to numerous collaborative international research projects in the field of advanced glass materials. The establishment of a new Centre of Excellence will provide interesting opportunities by generating a new scientific network of excellence. I expect that, specially PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, will benefit enormously from the opportunities offered by this European collaboration". The kick-off meeting of the project took place in Trencin on 7-8 March 2017.