19 projects succeeded in the grant competition of the Czech Science Foundation

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In the public competition of the Czech Science Foundation (GA ČR) with the start of implementation in 2021, the researchers of the Institute of Physics succeeded with 19 projects. The most successful projects include one EXPRO project and three JUNIOR STAR projects which belong into the area of selective projects to support excellence in basic research.

In the call for excellent EXPO grants, 123 projects in total were submitted from the whole Czech Republic, but only 16 of them were successful. These projects include also “Nanocrystallography of molecular crystals” by Lukáš Palatinus from the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Five-year long EXPRO project aims to develop a set of tools, methods and programmes with the ambition to set new standards in the field of electron crystallography of molecular crystals and turn this method into a fully developed and generally accepted tool for the analysis of nano- and micro-crystalline molecular materials.

A novelty among grant projects, JUNIOR STAR, raised a lot of interest among young scientist as these projects provide starting researchers with an opportunity to build a research group and implement their own research. Successful applicants could get for their project implementation up to CZK 25 million.

In the tight competition of 355 applications submitted, three researchers from the FZU, Eva Maria Martins dos Santos, Ippocratis Saltas and Miroslav Kloz were successful. Eva Maria Martins dos Santos from the Department of Astroparticle Physics succeeded with her project Extensive Air Showers as probes of hadronic interactions beyond the LHC energies. Ippocratis Saltas from the Department of Particle Theory and Cosmology received funds for a project called New avenues in the hunt for dark energy. Miroslav Kloz will focus on setting quantum limits in biomolecules using entangled photons generated from bound cofactors, modelled on the OCP protein in ELI Beamlines.

“We are delighted to see that scientists in their early careers find it attractive to start their own research teams – the interest exceeded the original, less selective junior grants, but unfortunately, we are unable to fund more projects given the amount of funds assigned to the Czech Science Foundation from the government’s budget. Nevertheless, we have decided to fund five more projects than planned originally,” says Alice Valkárová, the President of the Czech Science Foundation.

The institute of Physics was also successful in standard and international projects of the Czech Science Foundation. In the area of international projects evaluated on the Lead Agency principle and bilateral international projects, seven projects from the Institute of Physics were supported. These projects involve collaboration of scientists from Austria, Slovenia, Taiwan, Germany and Russia. In the area of standard projects, scientists from the Institute of Physics were awarded eight grants, which is less than last year.

“This year, we have seen scientists showing much greater interest in funding than they did in previous years. The volume of funding available from the state budget distributed through the Czech Science Foundation in support of Czech science is still the same, however: approximately CZK 4.2 billion. I wish to congratulate all those who have succeeded in the tight competition and are going to receive funding, and I look forward to the results of their explorations,” says Alice Valkárová.


EXPRO projects

  • Lukáš Palatinus – Nanocrystallography of molecular crystals

JUNIOR STAR projects

  • Eva Maria Martins dos Santos – Extensive Air Showers as probes of hadronic interactions beyond the LHC energies
  • Ippocratis Saltas – New avenues in the hunt for dark energy
  • Miroslav Kloz – Clarifying quantum limits in biomolecules by utilizing entangled photons generated from protein bound cofactor modeled on orange carotenoid protein.

Standard projects

  • Martin Čada – Innovative plasma-chemical and chemical synthesis of nickel-containing mixed oxide catalysts for the oxidation of volatile organic pollutants
  • Antonín Fejfar – Elastic nanosilicon for advanced li-ion batteries
  • Stanislav Kamba – Multiferroics induced by strain or by terahertz radiation
  • Christelle Kadlec – Terahertz magneto-spectroscopy of superconducting films
  • Hana Lísalová – Advanced Functional Polymer Brushes in Complex Biological Fluids
  • Martin Nikl – The scandium-admixed advanced garnet scintillators
  • Ladislav Straka – Twinned Structures in Magnetic Shape Memory Alloys
  • Petr Yudin – The impact of domain walls and surface conductivity on functional responses in ferroelectric films

International projects

1. International projects evaluated based on Lead Agency principle

Austrian-Czech project supported by Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung:

  • Karl-Heinz Ernst – Light-induced on-surface synthesis of molecular chains 

Slivenian-Czech projects supported by Javna agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije:

  • Jiří Hlinka – Semiconductor - dielectric heterostructures for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution
  • Lukáš Palatinus – Structures of noble-gas compounds elucidated by 3D electron diffraction

2. Bilateral international projects

International projects carried out jointly by scientific teams from Taiwan (in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology):

  • Ivo Stachiv – Smart MEMS/NEMS resonators with functional material layers utilizing local and global nonlinearities for ultrasensitive (bio)sensing applications

German-Czech projects in collaboration with Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft:

  • Kamil Olejník – Quenched nano-fragmented domain states of antiferromagnet explored with high spatial and temporal resolution

Russian-Czech projects in collaboration with Russian Foundation for Basic Research:

  • Štěpán Stehlík – Quantum-dimensional and boron-doped nanodiamonds synthetized by HPHT process from molecular precursors
  • Petr Ondrejkovič – Multicaloric phenomena in novel single-phase and composite materials based on complex oxides