MUNI magazine presents the MU polar station in Antarctica in a thematic issue

18 Jan 2023

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For the seventh year Masaryk University has owned the trademark Tested in Antarctica and offers manufacturers the opportunity to test technologies or products in the extreme conditions of the icy continent.

During an expedition to the Czech scientific station of J. G. Mendel in Antarctica, it is possible to test whether the properties declared by the manufacturer are met in the demanding polar environment. So far, a total of 10 products have been certified during expeditions to Antarctica – from footwear for harsh conditions, to thermo-regulating underwear, waterproofing or knitted merino hats, to waterproofing foils. The interest of commercial partners in using the trademark abroad has prompted expansion to other countries. The English version of the Tested in Antarctica trademark is now also available for the European Union, the USA and Ukraine.

The last product tested so far was Faramugo's nanomembrane jackets. The Expedition-branded jackets passed the Antarctic testing and were awarded the MU trademark Tested in Antarctica in 2022.

Given the mental and physical demands of the environment, the scientists who test the products are healthily critical. Combined with the subsequent independent evaluation of the tests by CTT MU, this earns the certificate the MU quality mark.

22 products tested

Since 2016, 22 products have travelled to Antarctica for testing.

45% success rate of certification

Of the products that are sent to Antarctica, half succeed in testing.

10 trademarks granted

So far, 10 products have received the trademark Tested in Antarctica.

Vladimír Bureš: Fascination with Antarctica is behind everything

"I have been interested in polar research since my early childhood. We have been cooperating with Masaryk University and the Czech polar station in Antarctica for the past five years, so we have been trying to take our cooperation to the next level. One of the possibilities was to have our jackets tested and thus obtain a trademark," says Faramugo's managing director Vladimír Bureš.

How do you evaluate the results of the testing?
For almost four months, our jackets were exposed to rapidly changing temperatures, intense UV radiation, strong winds, rain and snow. In Antarctica, the negative impact of human activity is minimized, making it unique among the continents. Polar explorers take all their garbage back home, and renewable energy sources are preferred. Therefore, even clothing must meet the strictest environmental standards, along with demands on material quality and workmanship. We took extreme care in all this, which is why we are pleased that our jackets have stood up to the test.

How do you plan to use the MU trademark in the future, what can the certification help with?
Times are so difficult that we have been trying to adapt to the considerable changes since autumn and survive in good health. Therefore, we are gradually starting to look for ways to use the mark, for example in the form of cooperation with TTO MU or even with students. We are also counting on the help of Masaryk University as an institution with its own capabilities. There are a lot of nonsensical certificates on the market. The certification of many products is dubious, does not inspire confidence in me and I prefer to check everything. Academia is still trustworthy and impartial. Therefore, such university certification can also work well for consumers.

Would you also like to see Antarctica?
I'm a traveller, a waterman and a mountaineer. But I'm also a realist. I have dreams and half dreams. I've already achieved many of those dreams. Dreams that are real, like the first ascent of the 6,000-meter peak. Half dreams are basically unrealistic - for me, Antarctica is one of them. And maybe for this reason I wanted to take at least a product of our family company there.

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