It was a unique opportunity to visit the scientific cluster STAR with Biocev, ELI Beamlines and HiLASE on the outskirts of Prague. Over 60 interested participants gathered on Friday morning, 6th March and were welcomed by the Chairman of the Management Board of STAR cluster and Mayor of Dolní Březany, Věslav Michalik, by Ms. Kateřina Fialková, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Switzerland, Mr. Dominik Furgler, Swiss Ambassador in Prague and Mr. Petr Očko, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade in the Czech Republic.
Biocev was presented by Mr. Pavel Martásek, Director of Biocev, Mr. Bohdan Schneider from the Institute of Biotechnology, Czech Academy of Science and Mr. Martin Zoltner from the Charles University, and the guests received an idea of the importance of such an institute. For the delegation of specialists from Switzerland, invited by the Czech Embassy it was a first step to find out about possible cooperation.
After an excursion to the vast laboratories we moved on to Dolní Břežany to ELI Beamlines and HiLASE. These high tech laser centers offer unique possibilities, technologies that are not accessible in Switzerland and therefore ideal for cooperation between scientists of both countries. The centers were presented by Roman Hvězda, Project Manager ELI Beamlines and Tomáš Mocek, Head Of HiLASE. During the networking lunch there were opportunities for F2F meetings between the Czech and Swiss parties and later also the guests with less scientific background enjoyed the excursions to the futuristic labs.
Another fascinating aspect of this day was to see the impact that the creation of such a scientific cluster can have to a whole region: average little villages south of Prague start to flourish, they improve their infrastructure, they register the moving in of not only Czech but international inhabitants, who create a need of new services, schools, housing and other facilities. And the single municipalities of Dolní Břežany, Vestec and Hodkovice cooperate in this big project with the meaningful name STAR: Science and Technology Advanced Region.
We do not want to miss the occasion to mention that also HST members are to be found in this region: ABB with its robotic center, VegaTour that assured all transfers during our event and Chateau Clara Futura that hosted the guests from Switzerland.