Researching polymers and associated technologies
A new research centre is helping to uncover new uses and commercial applications for polymers.
The new Otto Wichterle Centre of Polymer Materials and Technologies in Prague, which opened in 2011, aims to become a global centre of expertise for research into synthetic polymers. Such polymers have a wide range of uses including opto-electronics, information technology, bio-medicine, the pharmaceutical industry and bio-technologies.
The research centre has been housed in a renovated building on the western outskirts of Prague and forms part of the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, which itself forms part of the Czech Republic’s Academy of Sciences. The new innovation centre has been equipped with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to investigate a wide range of fields, such as polymer-processing, morphology and rheology, the durability of plastics, chemical degradation and thermodynamics, the mechanical behaviour of polymeric materials and polymers for opto-electronics.
Turning scientific research into commercial applications
Practical applications of this research include the development of advanced structural blends and composites, materials for artificial joints, polymer sensors and solar cells. The centre is also engaged in environmentally-focussed projects such as research into plastics recycling and the development of plastics from renewable sources. Other examples of the centre’s activities include: applied research, cooperation with industry, the training of laboratory personnel and the organisation of workshops for experts in practice.
In addition to its research role, the new centre also provides training and professional development for young researchers not only from the Czech Republic but from other European countries as well.
The new facility covers a total surface area of 900 m² and has led to the creation of five new jobs.
Project manager Jiří Kotek, the head of the centre, said that the project to establish the facility had been very successful and would lead to the development of a wide range of industrial applications in the future. Professor Otto Wichterle, the founder and the first director of the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, once said “We would like to be not only beautiful, but also useful”. This sentence has become a mission statement of the Otto Wichterle Centre of Polymer Materials and Technologies.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Otto Wichterle Centre of Polymer Materials and Technologies” amounted to EUR 3 200 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 2 500 000 from the Operational Programme “Prague” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.
FundEuropean Regional Development Fund 2007-2013
Total InvestmentEUR 3 200 000
EU InvestmentEUR 2 500 000
CZ -162 06 , Praha
CZ -110 00 , Praha 1