On 16 and 17 of May 2019, about 150 experts from science, research and industry came together for the 3rd Czech-German R&D Conference to discuss recent developments and future perspectives in the fields of nanotechnologies, advanced materials and e-mobility, and to initiate new joint collaborations.
Brno, in the east of the Czech Republic, offers excellent opportunities for innovation and new bilateral cooperation within the focal areas of the conference. This was the leitmotif of the welcoming speech by the hosting Technical University of Brno (VUTB) as well as the keynote speeches of the South Moravian Innovation Center (JIC) and the Brno based company TESCAN. The speekers referred to the historical roots of Brno as an innovation hub with its three major universities Mendel, Masaryk and Technical University, which are currently celebrating their 100th and 120th anniversary respectively. Brno also refers to itself as the cradle of the electron microscope and today plays a key role in materials technologies.
Even before the start of the conference, the participants had ample opportunity to familiarise themselves with the excellent local R&D infrastructures. On-site visit options on the morning of 16 May included the microscopy manufacturers TESCAN and Thermo Fisher Scientific and the nanotechnology and robotics labs of the hosting CEITEC Centre of Excellence. At a formal dinner, attendees enjoyed top performances in optical and digital technologies with a virtual 3D space flight to Mars.
The focus of both conference days, however, was the bilateral exchange in four thematic panels addressing nanotechnologies, advanced materials, e-mobility and research infrastructures. Via presentaions and moderated discussions, experts from both countries sketched out an overview of current and future perspectives in their disciplines and developed first ideas for follow-up activities. In his opening speech, State Secretary Schütte had announced a bilateral EUREKA call, which will provide funding for future project cooperation. Its main aspects were outlined by the DLR Project Management Agency on the second day of the conference.
The Brno Conference is part of a so far three-part series of bilateral conferences focusing on R&D topics taking place at alternating locations in the Czech Republic and in Germany. The conference series started in Prague in 2015 with a focus on materials physics, ICT and environmental technologies, and was continued in 2017 in Erlangen on energy management issues. The series is an integral part of bilateral R&D activities within the framework of the German-Czech Strategic Dialogue. It is expected to be continued with an event at the turn of the year 2020/2021 - this time in Germany.