Czech Republic has potential to become world leader in nanotechnology, says deputy PM

Photo: Filip Jandourek, ČRo

The Czech Republic has the potential to become a world leader in nanotechnology, Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek said on Tuesday, referring to the country’s long-term commitment in research and development in the field. A patent dating back to 2004 proved a game changer and a number of firms have since added to the initial success.

Jiří Fusek, photo: archive of Jiří Fusek
I spoke to nanotechnology sector specialist Jiří Fusek of CzechInvest, asking him if he agreed the Czech Republic could be a bigger player in the field.

“I think so and it was great to hear the deputy prime minister speaking in those terms, showing that support for Czech nanotechnology internationally as a priority. Nanotechnology is still a young field but now I would say that we are reaching a more mature stage of development, which is also easier for companies or investors to approach.”

2004 is cited as a milestone year – why that year?

“It is largely thanks to the patent registered on advanced electro-spinning, which was invented at the Technical University in Liberec by Professor Jirsák. The same year Elmarco began the commercialization of the patent and was successful, now with branches in the US and Japan. Because of this patent, the Czech Republic gained international recognition and new companies were able to develop final applications using Nano fibres.

“Other companies have been involved in creating veterinary applications and now are moving in the field of human medicine or in the creation of electron microscopes. The company Tescan, which has some 1,600 installations all over the world and cover one-third of the market in Korea – one of the most advanced countries in the world in this field.”

Photo: Filip Jandourek
A new nanotechnology industry association was formed in the Czech Republic last year: how important a step was it?

“I think it was definitely important and it has worked quite well. It would also be great to become a part of European and international structures to promote Czech nanotechnology there. We are grateful that a conference held on the subject on Tuesday was attended by the EC’s Christos Tokamanis and he promised to help the association become a part of European projects which would clearly be a big help.”