The National Center for Industry 4.0 has a new Director, Robert Keil, who acted as the Deputy Director before. Jaroslav Lískovec will start to coordinate the creation of the CTU European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH CTU), which intensively cooperates with NCP 4.0 in the area of using academic infrastructure for the digitization of companies and uses its already built ecosystem. He will also consult on the center’s strategic direction. The chairmanship of the Board of Directors has also been approved for another term of office, Chairman Jiří Kabelka (DEL a.s.) and Vice-Chairman Petr Šimoník (VŠB-TUO) have defended their positions. Jana Polášek Filová (Škoda Auto a.s.) was unanimously elected to the newly created position of Vice-President of the Board of Directors. The new position was created with regard to the center’s growing areas of activity.
Czech industry is undergoing fundamental changes towards transformation and digitization. In the last six years, the National Center for Industry 4.0 (NCP 4.0) has acted also as a driver of these changes by building a functional ecosystem for innovation and cooperation across academia, industrial companies and public administration. In January 2023, the Czech European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) also started its activities, all of which are linked to the National Center for Industry 4.0. The director of NCP 4.0 Jaroslav Lískovec, who is now being replaced in this position by Robert Keil, will work on the development of EDIH CTU, focused on artificial intelligence. Both entities will benefit from mutual synergies and will cooperate closely in the field of supporting the digitization of small and medium-sized enterprises, startups and public administration.
Robert Keil, who joined the National Center for Industry 4.0 in 2021, was intensively involved in the development of professional groups and cooperation projects, and then in running the centre as a Deputy Director as well. Before NCP 4.0, Robert Keil worked at the state agency CzechInvest, where he spent almost four years in the role of sector manager for advanced engineering and also for nanotechnology later on. He demonstrated his long-term interest in innovative technologies and technology transfer already during his studies at Charles University, where he completed the first ever university-wide course Management of Science and Innovations.
„The National Center for Industry 4.0 has gained a strong position within the ecosystem of industry and digitization over the years of its operation, which is also thanks to the great activity of Jaroslav Lískovec. We will of course continue in this spirit in the future, when we will concentrate our activities towards the development of cooperation between industry and academia, as we have excellent conditions for this. We have a unique infrastructure of testbeds at our disposal, we can rely on a wide network of our actively cooperating partners, and now we also have the opportunity to use financing for small and medium-sized enterprises and public administration entities to finance innovations through EDIHs,„ says the newly appointed Director Robert Keil.
The goals of NCP 4.0 include education, networking, the development of digital literacy and contributing to the development of individual technological areas associated with Industry 4.0. „The path to digitalization and the implementation of innovative solutions is not from the realm of science fiction, it is open to everyone and we can help with it. We will even more intensively organize professional training events and develop our DigiAudit product, which helped guide 268 companies in setting up their digital strategy in the past year alone,“ adds Robert Keil.
In the spirit of further development and growing activities of the center, a new leadership position was created in the Board of Directors, which is the highest body of the National Center for Industry 4.0. This was chosen by the new management according to the valid statutes. The Chairman of the Board Jiří Kabelka (DEL a.s.) and the Deputy Chairman of the Board Petr Šimoník (VŠB-TUO) defended their position. Jana Polášek Filová (Škoda Auto a.s.) was unanimously elected to the newly created position of Vice-President.
Jiří Kabelka, DEL a.s.
„The trust of my colleagues, with which I was re-elected to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of NCP 4.0, is binding for me. At the same time, it is a confirmation that the basic idea of the center – i.e. the transfer of new ideas from academic soil to production practice – is really succeeding. Now, perhaps no one in the industry doubts that Industry 4.0 is the right way, and there are few people in business who do not know this concept. I am glad that I can continue to participate in the development of the center’s activities. I see Industry 4.0 as a huge chance to modernize Czech industry and thus the Czech Republic. Chance to move it from the position of an „assembly plant“ to a category where added value is created and remains „at home“ and thanks to this the entire Czech society will also become richer,“ says NCP 4.0 Chairman of the Board Jiří Kabelka on his re-election.
Petr Šimoník, VŠB – TUO
The infrastructure and cooperation of the academic environment is also essential for Petr Šimoník: „In the current revolutionary decade of the transformation of several industrial sectors in the spirit of the principles and means of 4.0 and for the purpose of introducing optimizations in production and logistics, in accordance with the pressure on sustainable energy, I will continue to very actively support synergistic building of competences within industrial testbeds located in the academic environment of Czech universities. We must not slow down in our efforts for practical implementations and creation of concrete successful applications. I firmly believe that more passengers will board the Prague-Brno-Ostrava express train and more stations will be added – testbeds for applications of industrial digitization and robotics.“
Jana Polášek Filová, Škoda Auto a.s.
„Škoda Auto has supported the National Center for Industry 4.0 since its creation. For more than five years, I have been part of a team that managed to build top laboratories at Czech technical universities, start unique scientific and research projects with practical implications, and create a functioning infrastructure of a center that activates the digital transformation of Czech manufacturing companies. The new position on the board is an opportunity for me to continue projects on the border between the academic and industrial worlds, especially in the field of applied research and development, education of business experts and training of new talents, enabling the sharing of good practice examples of digitization and Industry 4.0,“ says the new Vice-Chairman of the NCP 4.0 Board of Directors Jana Polášek Filová.
The National Centre for Industry 4.0 currently brings together more than 50 partners and members from manufacturing and technological companies, Czech universities and industry organizations. It confirmed its growing role in the ecosystem for innovation and Industry 4.0, for example, during the International Engineering Fair 2022, where its stand, supported by partners Česká spořitelna, T-Mobile and the RICAIP research center, became one of the main attractions of the Digital Factory 2.0.
The center develops its activities on several levels, it is also involved in international projects, which bring interesting opportunities for Czech, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. DigiAudit, an independent online assessment of the digital maturity of companies, was approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic as a mandatory attachment when applying for support from the National Recovery Plan for Digital Enterprise Call.