Teams of two Czech universities received the European Citizen’s Prize

European Citizen's Prize

Two teams of two Czech universities met in the representative premises of the Czech Technical University to receive the European Citizen’s Prize. Researchers from the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University in Prague (CIIRC CTU) received an award in 2020 for the protective mask “CIIRC RP95-3D“. In 2021, the award went to the Brno Volunteer Center of Masaryk University for the project MUNI POMÁHÁ. The teams received the medals at a ceremony on Monday 11 October 2021 from Dita Charanzová, Vice-President of the European Parliament (EP) and Chancellor of the European Citizen’s Prize, after the act could not be held earlier due to pandemic restrictions.

In the spring of this year and last year, both awards were decided by juries composed of representatives of the European Parliament and important personalities of Czech civil society. Every year, the European Parliament awards projects with a social impact in the individual EU Member States.

Both award-winning projects combine two important qualities: innovation and solidarity. Our universities, research institutes and our students prove that they are among the best in the world. Both projects significantly helped in the fight against Covid-19. We have something to be proud of.

Dita Charanzová, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Chancellor of the European Citizens’ Prize

Science must be at the service of society. On behalf of CTU, I am glad that our researchers from the CIIRC institute contributed to this mission with their highly professional protective 3D printed half-mask.

Vojtěch Petráček, Rector of CTU

The protective half-mask, consisting of a body printed on special 3D printers and an external filter, was developed by scientists during a single week of March 2020 thanks to modern technologies in the new RICAIP centre for advanced industrial production. The half-mask was certified according to European standards and its print data was shared for non-commercial purposes through the CTU spin-off company TRIX Connections. It has reached hundreds of organizations in thirty countries, including the US Navy and NATO. Subsequently, we managed to implement a model for serial production and in cooperation with domestic companies to start producing the mask.

Today’s acceptance of the medal is very symbolic for us: we recalled the emotional moments of last year when we spent days and nights at work developing the mask. We gained completely new experience – how to quickly get an invention out of academia, mainly into industrial production. The award is an award for cooperation Czech members with Czech companies. Other members of the team’s core are Alexandr Lazarov, Pavel Burget, Jaroslav Lískovec and Petr Kadera.

Vít Dočkal for the CIIRC CTU team

The Masaryk University Volunteer Center received an award for its effective ability in the coronavirus crisis to effectively direct volunteers to organizations and individuals in difficult situations. The original idea was successfully implemented and automated thanks to the launch of a database system for coordinators. The Volunteer Center is not limited to Covid-19 assistance. MUNI HELPS registers and links other requests or offers of help. The platform proved to be very effective, for example, in co-organizing cleaning assistance in Moravian villages that were hit by a tornado in June this year. It develops other programs, such as a student legal counselling centre or a help incubator.

I was extremely pleased to receive the European Prize for our volunteer centre. It is proof that Masaryk University proved to be extremely successful in a crisis as a socially responsible institution, which in a short time was able to mediate or provide assistance to thousands of citizens and hundreds of institutions, including hospitals, children’s homes, charities, nursing homes, crisis lines and city districts. This award belongs to all volunteers from our university and beyond who, during the unprecedented social crisis, selflessly participated in helping the needy.

Martin Bareš, Rector of Masaryk University

In the year and a half of its existence, the volunteer centre has processed over 3220 requests for help from individuals and institutions. Currently, over 5,000 volunteers are registered in the application, who are able to offer their time or expertise to help those in need. We are very pleased with the award and welcomed the opportunity to personally meet with colleagues from CTU, with whom we cooperate at various levels.

Daniela Niebauerová, coordinator of the Volunteer Center of Masaryk University

Representatives of all the awarded teams from all over the European Union will meet again at a ceremony in November in Brussels.

In recent years, the award for the Czech Republic has been won by the non-profit organization Post Bellum, Caritas CR, the humanitarian organization ADRA CZ and People in Need.

The European Citizen’s Prize has been awarded annually by the European Parliament to individuals, groups, associations or organizations since 2008. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens and the Member States, promoting common values, facilitating cross-border or transnational cooperation within the European Union, or day-to-day work that specifically expresses the values ​​of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.