CzechInvest conducted a Technology Mission focused on innovation in the power industry in Chicago and the surrounding area from 24 to 28 October 2016. Members of the delegation visited one of the main technology centres in the United States in search of possibilities of cooperation in the power industry. Those taking part in the mission included representatives of CzechInvest, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the IT4Innovations national supercomputer centre, Czech Technical University in Prague, Brno University of Technology, Masaryk University and the companies INSTAR ITS and ENERGOCENTRUM PLUS. They were accompanied by representatives of the Consulate General in Chicago, including Consul General Bořek Lizec. The Czech delegation visited American institutions focused on the power industry, such as Argonne National Laboratory, the Fermilab national particle-acceleration laboratory and ComEd’s Test Bed facility. Meetings were also held at the University of Chicago, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, Northern Illinois University, Energy Foundry and a number of other organisations.
“The visited facilities are the absolute best in their field and having the possibility to establish cooperation with them was an extraordinary event for Czech researchers. There are apparent common interests between, for example, the Institute for Molecular Engineering and research carried out by Czechs in the field of electron lithography and Argonne National Laboratory, which has a number of related activities involving research of energy storage, which is of key importance at this time of expansion of renewable sources, nuclear physics and investigation of the smallest details of matter using high-power x-ray devices, as well as experience with tremendously powerful supercomputers,” said Jiří Krechl of CzechInvest.
The trip was organised by CzechInvest in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago and was financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Technology Missions are an important form of support for the Czech innovation environment, which benefits over the long term not only from applied and basic research, but also from established international partnerships. For the participating institutions, the missions provide an extraordinary opportunity for their further development.
Meetings with American institutions took place in connection with two Technology Missions conducted in October. Besides the recent journey to Chicago, a Czech delegation visited the states of South Carolina and Georgia in the course of a mission focused on the automotive industry. The large number of common topics and opportunities that can be cultivated confirm that the Czech Republic is an interesting technology partner for the United States. In particular, there is the possibility of undertaking joint actions in the future, for example at the academic level with Clemson University and in the private sector with the Georgia Automotive Manufacturers Association. The competitiveness of Czech businesses is also confirmed by the success of the company ALBAform. In the power industry, growing cooperation with Argonne National Laboratory and ComEd can be expected, and Czech firms will likely become involved with incubators such as Energy Foundry. Furthermore, both sides possess active tools aimed at supporting cooperation in research. For example, on the Czech side this involves programmes of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; on the American side, Czech-American projects are newly receiving support from the PIRE programme financed by the National Science Foundation.
“It is clear that Czech research and innovative firms have much to offer the United States. There is interest in Czech know-how. Another great benefit is the sharing of successful processes, for example in the area of effective support for cooperation between business and the education system, where we still have a lot to learn,” Eva Bartoňová, representative of CzechInvest.