Initiated in 2016, the project RIAT-CZ creates synergies between research infrastructures in the border region between Austria and the Czech Republic. Funded by the joint program Interreg V-A Austria – Czech Republic 2014–2020, it stimulates innovation by fostering exchange and collaboration. All project partners – the Vienna Biocenter Core Facilities (VBCF), the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), and the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) – are equipped with facilities for the life sciences and the bio- and nanotechnology sectors. The collaboration now provides open access to some of its research infrastructure; access can be applied for through a dedicated call. Non-commercial research institutes and universities from South Moravia, South Bohemia, Vysočina, Upper Austria, Lower Austria, and Vienna are eligible to apply.
“We expect the RIAT-CZ project and the resulting long-term collaborations between the project partners to have a lasting impact on the development in the region. By connecting the facilities of nearby institutes new research opportunities are opening up”, says project coordinator Lada Fialova from the VBCF.
Over the last two years, the cross-border collaboration between the Austrian and Czech project partners has already resulted in joint development of numerous pioneering methods in areas that range from single cell sequencing to bioinformatics. Additionally, numerous staff training activities and staff exchange visits took place. Ludek Lovicar, the manager of the Electron Microscopy Facility at IST Austria was among the participants of staff exchange activities and travelled to Brno several times over the past two years. “It was a very fruitful collaboration for us. On the one hand we could learn about the workflow for the cryo-electron microscope in Brno and on the other hand we could teach the colleagues about array tomography technique, which we use to reconstruct 3D structures of biological objects,” he explains.
Now, some of the new services, as well as some of the standard services of the facilities are available to other, non-partner research institutions and universities in the area, and can be applied for through the open access call. The use of the facilities in the framework of the open access initiative is free of charge, and the call will remain open until no additional users can be accommodated. A list of the equipment and services available through the call is provided on the project website: http://riat.ceitec.cz/open-access/