The BIOCEV science and research center has launched its operations. It will house as many as 600 researchers (16.6.2016)
Vestec, 16 June 2016 – A unique vaccine to treat infectious diseases, tooth development documented the first time in history that might help the fight against cancer and a revolutionary discovery of an organism without mitochondria, referred to as “cell power plants”. These are some of the current results from the BIOCEV research teams. The center’s full operation was officially launched today in the presence of many Czech and foreign guests from different areas of science and politics.
The Biotechnology and Biomedicine Center of the Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec (BIOCEV) was developed with the help of significant financial aid from the European Union. The aid application included 1 600 pages and the center´s implementation ended up costing CZK 2.3 billion. By 2020, 400 researchers and 200 master’s degree and postgraduate students are supposed to work there. As of today, 56 research groups under 5 synergic research programmes are focused on obtaining a more detailed understanding of organisms at the molecular level. The results of their work are oriented towards applied research and the development of new medical procedures to combat severe health problems. The end results of BIOCEV’s research work include drugs targeted at the exact location of damaged metabolism and protein and tissue engineering.
Today’s opening ceremony, which was attended by significant figures both from the Czech Republic and abroad, including Deputy Prime Minister for Science, Research and Innovation Pavel Bělobrádek, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Kateřina Valachová, President of the Central Bohemian Region Miloš Petera, President of the Czech Academy of Sciences Jiří Drahoš, Rector of Charles University Tomáš Zima and Director of the Institute of Molecular Genetics Václav Hořejší, was followed by tours of selected BIOCEV workplaces. In the afternoon, a two-day international conference was started, attended by major representatives from both Czech and foreign science and research bodies.
“The BIOCEV Center brings together traditional branches of technical, natural and medical sciences,”said Pavel Martásek, BIOCEV Director. “Quality research results are dependent on good equipment and instrumentation, but more importantly on educated and smart people. I dare say that BIOCEV has both. The center has state-of-the-art technology and leading experts who are ready to pass their knowledge and experience onto students. I believe that BIOCEV will achieve a top-class scientific level and significantly help to strengthen the status of Czech science.”
“The journey towards Czech prosperity will run through the success of projects like BIOCEV. I believe that this more than two-billion crown investment from European and national funds will bring its benefits not only to the Czech Republic, but to the entire world as the scientific and research results accomplished by the BIOCEV center will truly have a global impact”, said Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek.
“I firmly believe that the opening of the BIOCEV center will help the Czech research community to become a full-fledged member of the European biotechnology and biomedicine research community, improving the competitiveness of both the Czech Republic and Europe,” were the words by Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Kateřina Valachová.
Governor of the Central Bohemian Region Miloš Petera mentioned that Central Bohemia did not have a public university, but also appreciated that the Region can boast research centers that are at the top of international standards. “I really appreciate that our region has become home not only to the BIOCEV Center, but also for ELI in Dolní Břežany and the scientific and research center of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Kralupy nad Vltavou, as well as other schools. We would like to work with all universities that exist in the Central Bohemian Region. We can offer support to research teams, through centers such as our Central Bohemian Innovation Center,” said Petera.
“Today, we are releasing BIOCEV into the European research sector and I believe that the center meets all the necessary preconditions to become a major player in this respect,” said President of the Czech Academy of Sciences Jiří Drahoš.
Tomáš Zima, Rector of Charles University, added: “More than two years have passed since we laid the foundation stone of the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Center BIOCEV. This unique research center significantly improves the quality of science and research in the Czech Republic and I believe that both our researchers and students will enjoy working here. I hope that BIOCEV finds its place among leading research biomedicine center and enriches the tapestry of human knowledge.”
On the occasion of the opening ceremony, Václav Hořejší, Director of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (the beneficiary of the subsidy for the BIOCEV project) said: “I am extremely pleased that we have successfully completed this demanding project. It was possible primarily thanks to the excellent collaboration between all involved partners and the professional attitude of the implementation team members. Already today, six months after the completion of the construction phase, it is obvious that the funds used to develop this large biomedicine research center were a good investment. For several months, our researchers have been working in new beautiful laboratories with the best equipment. I am particularly pleased that many young researchers and students have the opportunity to work here. I am not the slightest bit concerned about the future of the biomedicine research center.”
The BIOCEV project was approved by the European Commission on 31 October 2011. The actual implementation of the center was launched one year later. The foundation stone ceremony occurred in October 2013 and construction was officially completed on 18 December 2015. However, research activities started as early as 2012 when the project only existed on paper and research teams were still located at their old workplaces. Today, the center employs more than 390 researchers and technicians. Almost one-third of them come from abroad, such as from Australia, Canada, France, Ukraine, Poland and Germany. BIOCEV’s research teams have published more than 320 research outputs, including articles in prestigious international journals (such as the Cell, Molecular Cell, Nature Communication and Gastroenterology and others).