Construction of the LERCO scientific research hub started
Construction of the building for the "smarter" region has begun. Professor Roman Hájek, the main face of the Life Environment Research Center Ostrava (LERCO), ceremonially laid the foundation stone together with the Rector of the University of Ostrava, Petr Kopecký, the governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region, Jan Krkoška, the mayor of Ostrava, Jan Dohnal, and the Dean of the UO Faculty of Medicine, Rastislav Maďar. The construction, costing nearly 700 million Czech crowns, is part of a strategic project aimed at significantly advancing the UO in the field of science. The construction should be completed in 2026, with the project operating at full capacity in the same year. The overall cost of LERCO is around 1.8 billion Czech crowns.
"Construction Approved!" is now displayed on signs around the construction site in the area of the UO Faculty of Medicine in Ostrava Vítkovice. Behind the fence, one of the most important projects of the last decade of the University of Ostrava is growing: the Life Environment Research Center Ostrava, or LERCO.
"For UO, LERCO is a key and ambitious project. It has been worked on for many years, and this ceremonial start of construction is a significant milestone. Finally, the great idea of building a large scientific research center is beginning to develop," said UO Rector Petr Kopecký at the ceremonial groundbreaking.
Professor Roman Hájek, the mind behind the construction of the scientific research hub, also spoke in a similar vein. "The construction of the center is an important step towards a goal. That goal is to build scientific teams that will address their tasks in a state-of-the-art and competitive environment. I believe that LERCO will help us establish ourselves in the world of science and research," said the project's leader, Professor Roman Hájek. He also reminded everyone of the areas the research teams will focus on: biomedicine, natural science, and behavioral health.
The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Rastislav Maďar added, "One of the main priorities of the entire university is the development of scientific activity. It is expected from every department and is among the basic criteria for accrediting study programs, including general medicine. The construction of the center and the formation of new scientific teams will bring numerous grant opportunities, and emphasis will be placed on practical outputs contributing to the positive transformation of the region," commented Dean of the UO Faculty of Medicine Rastislav Maďar.
The center will not only be attractive to local scientists and researchers. "The built state-of-the-art center for science and research will help increase the prestige and attractiveness of the entire region. For many years, we have been facing brain drain. Projects like LERCO aim to attract talent back and also gain experts from abroad. LERCO is one of the 13 strategic transformation projects to be financed from the Just Transition Fund, with 19 billion Czech crowns earmarked for our region. Other projects, such as The Black Cube – Center for digitization, science, and innovation, which we will start building this year, or TPA – Innovation Center for the Transformation of Education, also aim to contribute to the transformation of our region," said Jan Krkoška, the governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region.
"LERCO, an attraction for scientific elites, will undoubtedly serve as a breeding ground for many results of scientific teams, usable by the business sector. In Ostrava, and indeed in the region, we are creating conditions for the connection of science, research, and innovation for future business. In addition to LERCO, there is also the REFRESH project, implemented by VSB-TUO, incidentally, in which the University of Ostrava is also involved. It is also the city's effort to expand T-Park. Everything is aimed at maximizing the use and utilization of the results of the efforts of scientists in Ostrava," said Jan Dohnal, the mayor of the city, who studied demography and social geography at the University of Ostrava.
The Life Environment Research Center Ostrava (LERCO) is a newly constructed scientific research hub in the Moravian-Silesian Region. It is funded by the European Union under the Just Transition Operational Program, falling under the Ministry of the Environment's jurisdiction. LERCO aims to transform the region from coal-dependent to healthier and smarter. The University of Ostrava and its partners have high professional potential and ambition to become an excellent institution in selected medical, natural science, biomedical, and behavioral fields, forming one of the foundations of the scientific research pillar supporting the region's transformation. Nine excellent research teams are expected to be formed. Experts from the Faculties of Medicine, Science and Education of the UO, VSB – Technical University of Ostrava (VSB–TUO), and practicing doctors from the University Hospital Ostrava (FNO) will collaborate, with connections to the commercial sector ensured through cooperation with the Moravian-Silesian Innovation Center (MSIC).
Updated: 30. 01. 2024