Living labs

The project is designed as four interconnected living laboratories providing open platforms for multifaceted collaboration between top experts and researchers, students, companies, and public administration representatives.

Energy Lab

At the global level, the issue of energy transformation, so-called decarbonisation, towards the efficient use of low-carbon technologies with a significant reduction in the current fossil fuel share is being intensively addressed. In the 21st century, this is a major societal challenge underscored by the effects of the Russian-Ukrainian war conflict. A successful solution will not only enhance society’s quality of life but also strengthen its resilience to unforeseen external factors. The main objective of the Living Laboratory is to create a complex strategy to ensure energy and raw material self-sufficiency in the Moravian-Silesian Region and the Czech Republic with a global reach through research and development of methods, materials, and technologies for modern, low-carbon, and sustainable energy production. The analysis of the socio-economic impact of implementing new scientific knowledge is an indispensable part of the strategy. This will all be possible thanks to the cooperation of leading research organisations and innovation leaders following strategic documents at national and international levels.

Laboratory Scientific Director:
prof. Stanislav Mišák, , Director of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Technologies, VSB-Technical University of Ostrava, Director of the National Centre for Energy

Materials & Environment Lab

The European and regional energy sector transformation, the digitalization and robotization of industrial production, as well as old environmental burdens and water pollution, represent key societal challenges that cannot be addressed without entirely new material technologies. The Living Lab will focus on developing a new generation of materials for the 21st century through unique atomic engineering methods. Multidisciplinary research and development will include computational design of new materials using the unique supercomputing facilities of the VSB-TUO, "atomic manufacturing" of materials tailored to the requirements of industrial transformation, including comprehensive characterization using state-of-the-art analytical and microscopic tools. New material technologies will be utilised, for example, in green energy conversion and storage processes, water and air treatment technologies, electrical engineering, automotive, construction, and metallurgical industries, as well as in biomedicine for developing new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Laboratory Scientific Director:
prof. Radek Zbořil, repeatedly recognized by the American company Clarivate Analytics as one of the most Highly Cited Researchers worldwide in the fields of chemistry and materials research

Industry 4.0 & Automotive Lab

The Moravian-Silesian Region is strongly industry-oriented, which entails the need for sustainable development of infrastructure facilities and education of top human resources for the application sphere. While many companies have not yet implemented industrial automation and other elements of Industry 3.0, we are following the global trend of digitalizing production and assembly processes, logistics and transport processes, i.e. Industry 4.0 which can ultimately optimize time, human resources, electricity consumption and usage, environmental burden and finally costs. Thanks to the activities of the Living Lab, the region will become a national leader in the sustainable generation of professional capacities and provision of R&D services for comprehensive industrial digitalization in the environment of administration, production design, assembly, manufacturing, warehousing and transportation, as well as in the field of automation in public transport, infrastructure for e-mobility, and high-speed communication means. The expertise of the teams will be leveraged for applications in both industrial and public environments, where municipalities have expressed interest in collaborating on implementing innovations and supporting local businesses in the region.

Laboratory Scientific Director:
doc. Petr Šimoník, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Centre for Industry 4.0, Vice-Dean for Industry Partnership, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, VSB-TUO


The transformation of the region associated with the research in the REFRESH project will lead to significant societal changes which are the focus of the Social Lab activities. The research will deal with phenomena such as (energy) poverty, unemployment, crime, social mobility, and the breakdown of family ties. Emphasis will be placed on addressing the most disadvantaged and particularly vulnerable social groups who are likely to be most impacted by the transition and whose problematic situation and also attitudes may at the same time pose one of the biggest barriers to achieving the region's transformation in alignment with current European strategies.

Laboratory Scientific Director:
dr. Ondřej Slach, Vice-Rector for Strategy and Development, University of Ostrava