International Cooperation and Role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
28.08.2013 / 11:19
It is important for Czech researchers and innovators to follow developments in advanced countries and explore opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation as well as to learn best practices concerning commercialization of new technologies.
Czech Republic develops bilateral cooperation in R&D by number of agreements, which amounts to more than 80. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports, the cooperation is further promoted via MOBILITY and KONTAKT II programs. Concerning bilateral relations, it is important to mention Czech-Israeli cooperation in applied research under the umbrella of the GESHER/MOST program or activities of Fulbright Commission supporting educational, scientific and cultural exchanges between the Czech Republic and United States. Moreover, Prague is a seat of one of the five Offices of Naval Research Global.
The Czech Republic actively participates in various international projects. The involvement in the European Research Area is fundamental. Czech teams cooperate on the programme Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020), participate in EUREKA (European cooperation in applied and industry-led research), COST (European cooperation in science and technology), ESA (European Space Agency or EURATOM. In addition to this, Czech scientists also cooperate on activities of advanced international research centres, such as CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).
Role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Building on the capacities of the embassies, the MFA is ready to facilitate contacts and exchanges between our research centres, development teams and innovative companies and their partners abroad. Undoubtedly, any effective and efficient international R&D cooperation is based on joint projects of concrete research teams. However, recent experience tells us that its full potential is exploited only when communication between particular teams from different countries is underpinned by various agreements, memoranda of understanding, grants etc. - diplomacy can play an important role.
MFA further cooperates with diplomatic representations all over the world, which helps to collect useful information about the potential cooperation in the field of science and technology with the host country. Also diplomatic service can monitor actual and emerging needs on the global market that are going to be a point of departure for developing future technologies.
Czech science has traditionally a good reputation, yet not all of its achievements are as well-known as would be expected. In many areas, Czech advanced research achieves excellency. Bearing this in mind, the MFA focuses primarily on following types of activities:
- promoting outstanding achievements of Czech science and research (presentations, workshops);
- gathering information, through respective embassies, on actual development and main trends in research and innovative efforts in the host country;
- networking and facilitating contacts with emphasis on commercialization of new technologies;
- assisting Czech R&D subjects when exploring opportunities to commercialize their products on the markets in the third countries.
One of the already well-established programs is "Czech Technology Days". MFA organizes events under its umbrella together with Ministry of Industry and Trade and CzechInvest agency, as well as with universities and research centres.