Waterloo signs MOU with Central European Institute of Technology

Monday, July 31, 2023

Article courtesy of the Daily Bulletin.Dr. Sushanta Mitra, Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and Dr. Radimír Vrba, Director of Central European Institute of Technology, Brno University of Technology (CEITEC-BUT), sign the MOU.

Dr. Sushanta Mitra, Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and Dr. Radimír Vrba, Director of Central European Institute of Technology, Brno University of Technology (CEITEC-BUT), sign the MOU.

Representatives of the University of Waterloo and Central European Institute of Technology, Brno University of Technology (CEITEC BUT) recently signed a memorandum supporting cooperation in nanotechnology research, mobility and other areas of common interest. The signing was attended by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Jiri Kozak, as the cooperation in science and advanced technologies remain priorities of bilateral relations between the Czech Republic and Canada.

The Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN), Dr. Sushanta Mitra, personally signed the memorandum at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic as part of his visit to Europe. His counterpart, Dr. Radimir Vrba, serves as the Director of CEITEC BUT, a modern research centre created just over 10 years ago as a consortium with laboratories focused primarily on Life Sciences, Advanced Materials and Nanotechnologies. CEITEC is the largest nanotechnology centre in the Czech Republic with extensive clean space capacities.

"Collaboration with the University of Waterloo represents an opportunity for the Czech Republic to work closely with leading researchers and support the creation of joint international results in areas of excellent Czech research,” says Deputy Kozák. “Undoubtedly, these also include nanotechnology, in which CEITEC BUT excels. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to support these strategic partnerships with prestigious universities in Canada and other countries. Our embassies and consulates help in establishing these connections, we can also assist with organizing scientific and technological missions, support networking at leading events, as well as tailored assistance.”

CEITEC's interest to cooperate with WIN stems both from overlapping expertise of the research groups on both sides, as well as from mutual visits that have occurred since 2022, which have been supported by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto and the CzechInvest agency. The research group of Dr. Jozef Kaiser at CEITEC, focused on the field of advanced instrumentation and methods for materials characterization, was established in cooperation with the University of Waterloo in the field of laser spectroscopy last year. Since then, there have also been contacts with other researchers and a number of selected Czech universities.

"The importance of Waterloo as an entrepreneurship hub can be interesting for the Czech Republic from the point of view of supporting startups and their internationalization,” says Richard Schneider, manager of the agency's TECH4LIFE Hub CzechInvest. “At the same time we hope to deepen the sharing of good practice in the field of spinoffs and the development of the innovation ecosystem, where Waterloo has a very good reputation.”

The memorandum will further strengthen this cooperation, thanks to possible joint research projects, mobility of students and researchers, professional development of students and the possibility of financial instruments for joint projects. Currently, researchers can draw support mainly from national sources, where a number of Mitacs programs are available on the Canadian side, for example, Globalink Research Internship, and Canada's full entry into the Horizon Europe program as an associated country is also being prepared.

"During the visit of Professor Sushanta Mitra at the CEITEC BUT in Brno, we presented in detail the professional focus of both university workplaces,” says Radimir Vrba, director of CEITEC BUT. “He also toured our large CEITEC Nano research infrastructure and other laboratories. We mutually noted that we have a surprising agreement in many areas of common interest in research and science. This fact was further confirmed during a visit to the University of Waterloo by Professor Kaiser....Cooperation in nanotechnology and research and development of special measuring and analytical instruments will also be strengthened by the mutual exchange of students and postdoctoral fellows. Our broad portfolio of international research cooperation will thus be strengthened by the top workplace of the University of Waterloo in Canada."

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