The results of a structural project worth ca 9.5 million EUR were presented today at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb (PMF), thanks to which a center for the state-of-the-art chemistry research was established. The Center of Excellence in Chemistry (Centar Izvrsnosti u Kemiji – CIuK) will strengthen the cooperation with partners from the pharmaceutical, food, chemical and oil industries, while working on sophisticated equipment will enable students to acquire knowledge and skills that will make them highly competitive in the global labor market.
The results of the project of the Center of Excellence in Chemistry, co-financed by the European Union under the Operational Program Competitiveness and Cohesion, from the European Regional Development Fund, were presented by the expert project manager and scientist, prof. dr. sc. Josip Požar. Before the presentation, the guests were addressed by prof. dr. sc. Damir Bakić, envoy of the Mayor of the City of Zagreb. Professor Bakić congratulated the Faculty on the successful implementation of the project and pointed out that this was a significant step forward in achieving the infrastructural and scientific research standards and providing material bases in maintaining the leading role of the Faculty in the field of chemistry in the Republic of Croatia.
In his introductory speech, Mr. Šime Erlić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union Funds, emphasized that the Faculty of Science is successful not only in this project but also in a number of other EU projects that it implements, which ranks it among the best Faculties and institutions engaged in scientific research, while Mr. Ivica Šušak, envoy of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, pointed out that the completion of this project ensured the long-term scientific research capacities for development and positioning of the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science as the regional center of excellence in the field of chemistry. He added that the Government will continue to invest further in research and development.
“This is the first major investment in scientific equipment in the last twenty years for the Faculty of Science, ever since the Chemistry department moved into the new building. Thanks to this project, we procured state-of-the-art instruments and equipment worth millions, equipped a computer center and established fourteen new laboratories. This has positioned the Faculty of Science at the very top in terms of the equipment of laboratories for contemporary research in chemistry. In addition, such infrastructure, along with the scientific and research staff, makes us a highly attractive partner for the pharmaceutical, food, chemical and oil industries. Also, by educating students with competitive skills and knowledge, we create added value not only for the science, but also for the economy. All this shows that the Faculty of Science has a market niche for cooperation with industry and state-of-the-art equipment for innovative research in chemistry”, said prof. dr. sc. Mirko Planinić, Dean of the Faculty of Science in his introductory address.
A vast interest and the need for open access to this technology, not only among the scientific and academic community, but also in the industry, is confirmed by the fact that new partnership agreements with representatives of the business sector were signed immediately after the CIuK project was added to the indicative list. Also, a number of new professional projects have been launched.
“The future cooperation of the Department of Chemistry with the business sector, in addition to research and development projects, includes introducing researchers and employees in various branches of industry to work on modern instrumentation. Therefore, the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science intends to launch a lifelong learning project and acquaint the colleagues from industry with the possibilities and operation of modern instrumentation through a series of professional workshops”, said prof. dr. sc. Snežana Miljanić, Head of the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science.
“As part of the CIuK project, in the period from 2018 to 2022, new instruments and equipment worth approximately 70 million HRK were procured, including X-ray diffractometers, TG-IR system, calorimeters, chromatographs, atomic force microscopes, NMR spectrometers, a quantitative PCR instrument, a supercomputer and many others. Without such equipment, it is difficult to imagine scientific research in a modern chemical laboratory.”
“With the implementation of the CIuK project, the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science has reached the scientific research standards of institutions from more developed countries of the European Union and will retain one of the leading roles in research in chemistry in the Republic of Croatia,” emphasized prof. dr. sc. Josip Požar, expert manager of the CIuK project.
"The results of the CIuK project presented today speak in favor of the fact that the Faculty of Science has the knowledge and human potential much needed not only by the scientific community, but also by the industry. However, as this project confirms, in order to realize the full potential and quality transfer of this knowledge to the industry, it is necessary to create infrastructural conditions. Unfortunately, the Faculty of Science suffered significant damage during the two earthquakes of 2020, particularly the buildings of the Departments of Biology and Geography. Therefore, I believe that on the example of the results we are presenting today, we can base our hope that our biologists, geologists and geographers will soon be given the opportunity to reach their full potential in a modernly equipped building. I believe that one such construction project of a new complex initiated by the Faculty of Science can be realized in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Education and the University of Zagreb”, concluded Professor Planinić.
The Center of Excellence in Chemistry project is co-financed by the European Union within the Operational Program Competitiveness and Cohesion, from the European Regional Development Fund. The total value of the project is HRK 71,620,005.91. Of this, 85% (HRK 60,877,005.02; EUR ca 8 million) was co-financed by the EU.