- 30. 06. 2015
The delivery on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, of a fully functional access card, Serial No. 001, for the ELI Beamlines office building to Professor Jan Řídký, Director of the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, marked the completion of another stage in the construction of the new laser center. Speaking on behalf of the consortium of contractors that includes Metrostav, VCES and OHL ŽS, Martin Plch, Director of Metrostav's Division 3, who handed over the card, said, "I am convinced that the facility will provide researchers with a work environment that is equally as good as the conditions that our construction staff enjoyed while building it. I hope that the facility will foster many an interesting and revolutionary discovery."
Taking place in the municipality of Dolní Břežany, the event was attended by the General Director of the DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, Eurodeputy Martina Dlabajová, Senator and First Deputy Chairwoman of the Czech Cabinet's Research, Development and Innovation Council Eva Syková, and Governor of the Central Bohemian Region Miloš Petera. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony and handover of a symbolic key and access card for the building, the event continued with a visit to the premises of the ELI Beamlines center. The ELI project is funded under the EU's Research and Development for Innovation Operational Program.
The main technology featured in the ELI Beamlines complex will be high-efficiency laser systems capable of generating light pulses with the highest intensity ever achieved. Research conducted in the facility is expected to yield new discoveries in such fields as biomedicine, the development and testing of new materials, imagery and diagnostic methods for healthcare applications, optics, and nanotechnologies. The objective of building the ELI center – the first pan-European research infrastructure facility in Central and Eastern Europe – in the Czech Republic is to provide Czech scientists with a link to leading research teams abroad.
The three main units of the new research complex include an administration and multifunctional building, a building in which the laser and laboratories are situated, and a building that houses technical gases and the cooling system. The laser building is the largest, featuring three floors and two large underground levels. Including the laboratories, the facility provides nearly 140,500 square meters of space. Once completed, the segmented administration and multifunctional building will offer not only office space and resources for more than 400 employees and guest researchers, but also a library, a canteen, lecture rooms, and conference facilities.
The ELI Beamlines complex is built in the style of a university campus to meet the specific technology needs of a cutting-edge research center, on the one hand, and to match the modern architecture of the municipality, on the other. As mentioned during the opening ceremony, perhaps with a degree of hyperbole, considering similar facilities in the adjacent towns on the outskirts of Prague, such as the Innocrystal Innovation Center in Zlatníky-Hodkovice, also built by Metrostav, the ELI project could well mark the beginning of the Czech Silicon Valley.