Key research directions
The Faculty of Science is responsible for a large portion of research carried out at the University and contributes significantly to its ever-improving position in international rankings of universities. For example, in the Nature Index, Olomouc Chemistry placed exquisitely in 2016. It has recorded a steep rise by 61.4 percent in the year-on-year comparison, and achieved third place in the domestic competition behind the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Charles University. A significant rise has also been brought about in Life sciences. Thanks to the Natural sciences, the oldest Moravian University also scored in the international rating of universities – the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2016. Regarding citations of studies, Palacký University belongs to the top among Czech universities.
Local science centers – CRH and RCPTM – may be proud of the top achievements in the world-wide comparison. Research is also successful in individual departments. Physical Chemist Michal Otyepka received the first prestigious grant from the European Research Council (ERC) which started in June 2016 for his University. The Faculty of Science and RCPTM is also the workplace of the most cited Czech scientist, Pavel Hobza, who has been repeatedly featured in Thomson Reuters' prestigious list of the world's most renowned scientists.
Mathematics and Computer Science
Scientists focus mainly on theoretical and computational analysis of mathematical models, and the development of structural theory of algebraic and geometric systems. Active research takes place in the field of differential equations and dynamic systems, applied statistics, fuzzy sets or multi-valued and quantum logic. Computer science mainly deals with questions of theoretical computer science, logic and new methods of data analysis and processing. Local computer scientists belong to the world's leading workplaces in the field of theoretical bases and algorithms for relational data.
Experts focus on basic research in quantum optics, information transfer and processing, the study of properties of new materials, especially nanoparticles, and the study of the effects of physical factors on biological objects. At the Department of Optics, designs for quantum gates are developed, i.e. basic circuits for quantum information processing and quantum computation. Researchers of the Joint Optics Laboratory and RCPTM develop special all-sky cameras and telescope mirrors for next generation observatories and also participate in the ATLAS-CERN project. The biophysical workplace is dedicated to the study of photosynthesis and human voice creation.
The research focuses mainly on synthesis of new compounds and materials with various application potential, the development of methods for detection and identification of substances, investigation of their structure and properties. Scientists develop new complex compounds of transition metals that could be used in human medicine as anti-cancer, antibacterial, antiviral and other effects. They also deal with the development of new materials with magnetic properties, which in the future can be the basis for data recording media. An important part of the research, with a wide range of applications from molecular electronics to medicine, is the study and development of nanomaterials, especially graphene-based, and the study of biomacromolecules structure. New methods for detecting and identifying a wide range of compounds emerge, such as pharmaceutical and drug metabolism products, or pollutants of drinking water or food.
Biology and Ecology
Biological and environmental disciplines include a wide range of research directions with an interdisciplinary overlap. The Botanists devote their time to taxonomy and ecology of plants, algae and cyanobacteria, biotechnological applications, plant genetics, and the influence of stress and pathological factors. Zoologists have excellent results in speciation and hybridization studies, beetle phylogenesis, and nest parasitism evolution. In the area of Ecology and Environmental protection, the research of population dynamics of mammals, landscape ecology and processes in agricultural landscape and soil, and conservation biology of invertebrates has been carried out. Cell biologists and geneticists focus on monitoring and screening of substances that cause drug-drug interactions or lead to disorders of hormonal control of the organism, and also monitor the biological activity of substances with antitumor effect. Work on plant hormones and their functioning at the molecular and cellular levels are also substantial.
Researchers work on projects in a wide range of geographical, geoinformatic and geological disciplines. Main directions of applied research include modeling geographic phenomena in GIS and contactless monitoring of the landscape, problems of transformation of the Czech economy, foreign migration and study of development and sustainability indicators. Local Geoinformatics belong to the leading experts in atlas cartography, however, they are also exploring map reading using eye-tracking technology, based on the principle of human eye tracking, and 3D printing. Geographers focus on research of urban climate, renewable energy, gambling and other socio-pathological phenomena. For Geologists, transport and sedimentation processes and the historical development of contamination in the river environment are among the key themes of research, but researchers are engaged in a number of other areas. The results of their work regularly appear in the world's most prestigious geoscientific journals. Experts from the Department of Development and Environmental Studies focus mainly on development and sustainability indicators, development intervention evaluations, impacts of developed countries' policies on developing countries, and internal conditions of developing countries.
More information is available on websites of each Department.