ELEvaTE is aimed at advancing the excellence of scientists and researchers in the Electron and Plasma Physics Laboratory (EPPL) of the Faculty of Mathematics Physics and Informatics, Comenius University (EPPL CU). The EPPL studies electron interactions with molecules in different aggregate states to develop novel future technologies, particularly those based on nanoscale molecular engineering. Such research has direct applications in plasma technology and radiotherapy. The overall quality of the Slovakian team is already recognised and evidenced by the number of papers published in high impact international journals and their subsequent large number of citations, the number of invited talks at leading international conferences and the number of conferences/workshops that EPPL and FMPI CU are requested to host. Furthermore EPPL and FMPI CU are regularly invited to participate in EU (and other international) networks (e.g. COST actions). Thus EPPL of FMPI CU has a strong base upon which to build if it is to become the international centre of excellence to which it aspires but this requires additional support and training that can only be obtained by working with other successful international centres of excellence. ELEvaTE (ExceLlence in Electron TEchnologies) is aimed at providing the next step in the development of EPPL and FMPI CU from a national and regional centre of excellence to a European and international centre of excellence. In taking this step it is necessary to address several key issues that are currently restricting such growth.
- A critical appraisal of the necessary infrastructure to develop such a centre of excellence. Infrastructure includes both facilities and staff with particular emphasis on the mentoring and training of staff at all levels (Master/PhD to Professor).
- Knowledge and adoption of ‘best practice’ in developing a longer term strategic plan which includes attraction of plurality of funding from international agencies (e.g H2020) and other stakeholders including commercial companies.
ELEvaTE addresses these issues by twinning the EPPL and FMPI CU with two leading internationally recognized institutions; The Leopold-Franzens University Innsbruck (UIBK) and The Open University, UK (OU). In particular the Institute of Ion Physics at UIBK is recognised as one of the world’s pre-eminent centres of electron and plasma physics while UIBK itself is recognised as an exemplar of a ‘regional’ university that has developed an international profile combining basic research with enterprise (e.g setting up the ‘spin out’ company Ionicon now the world’s leading commercial company for Proton Transfer Mass spectrometry (PTRMS)). The Rector of UIBK is a long standing collaborator with FMPI CU who greatly assisted the development of electron and plasma physics in the immediate post communist era and many FMPI CU staff have benefited from PG training in UIBK. The Molecular Physics group at the Open University is an exemplar of a research group established and grown in little more than a decade to be a recognised world leading research grouping with its leader developing synergistic groups in applied areas (e.g. astrochemistry and radiation sciences) through recruitment of international staff (many on prestigious fellowships) and exploitation of a wide range of funding schemes. Both the OU and UIBK are, therefore, exemplars of developing, leading and exploiting international research collaborations to build their strengths and expand into new areas of research. Thus UIBK and OU have the staff, experience and reputation to support EPPL and FMPI CU in its ambition to become an EU and international centre of excellence in Electron Processes for Future Technologies.
Strengthen the research potential and promote excellence of the Electron and Plasma Physics Laboratory (EPPL) in the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics Comenius University (FMPI CU) with emphasis on establishing a centre of excellence in the field of electron interactions for future technologies including technology transfer.