Sience and Technology in the Czech Republic
28.08.2013 / 11:15
(This article expired 29.08.2014.)
Research and development in the Czech Republic has a long tradition. Czech universities and research institutions are able to train highly qualified young experts and conduct excellent research in international comparison.
Science, research and innovations are crucial for economy growth, improvement in the quality of life of society and increases in productivity and sustainable development. The Czech Government is aware of the positive impacts of vibrant research and development of new innovations; it has increased substantially investments into R&D&I and launched an ambitious reform program in order to improve the effectiveness of the system as a whole. While in 2001, the total expenditures to R&D were 28.3 billion CZK and as such represented 1.16% of GDP, in 2012, they amounted to 72.4 billion CZK and represented 1.89% GDP of the Czech Republic.
The responsible state institution for financing and administrating of the R&D is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. However, the Research, Development and Innovation Council defines strategic visions for the future and estimates the budget (acting under direct responsibility of and the Prime Minister). In the field of applies research, the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic was recently established to streamline the governmental support in the applied research while theCzech Science Foundation, finances the basic research. The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic encompasses 54 public research institutions. However, important research is conducted at universities.
In recent years, considerable financial contributions have been invested in building new centres of excellent research. In the Czech Republic, large research infrastructures arise with the use of the structural funds of the EU. Among six largest infrastructures belongs (with the budget larger than EUR 50 million):
- the ELI: Extreme Light Infrastructure (Institute of Physics ASCR), which is the only institution in the Czech Republic integrated into the European instrument ESFRI (The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) funds;
- the Central European Institute of Technology – CEITEC (Brno);
- the International Clinical Research Centre – FNUSA – ICRC (St. Anne´s University Hospital in Brno in cooperation with Mayo Clinic);
- the Centre of Excellence IT4Inovations (VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava);
- the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Centre – BIOCEV (ASCR and Charles University);
- the “Sustainable Energy” project (SUSEN; Řež u Prahy).
The National Research, Development and Innovation Policy of the Czech Republic 2009 – 2015 is the main strategic document that has been approved by the Research, Development and Innovation Council. It reflects strategic and conceptual documents on both national and European levels (Horizon 2020 or Innovation Union). Within this framework a set of priorities for research and innovation policies in the Czech Republic is described by National priorities of oriented research, experimental development and innovations.
One of the goals of the National Policy of the R&D&I 2009 - 2015 is „increasing integration of the Czech Republic in international cooperation in science, research and innovation“. High quality of education, science and development of new technologies is a prerequisite for ensuring a long-term and sustainable competitiveness of the Czech economy on the global market. Innovations attract investments into segments where new technologies have been created, thus they could serve as means for exploring new business opportunities. Innovations are significant pillar of the International Competitiveness Strategy of the Czech Republic. Besides the increase in innovation demand, the emphasis is particularly placed on the cooperation between firms and universities, support for excellent research.
Effective transfer of results of research on the market remains a challenge in the Czech Republic. However, more effective commercialization of new inventions and technologies is critical for ensuring economic development and enhancing competiveness of the Czech economy. Therefore, the promotion of international cooperation in applied research with focus on technology transfer is highly important and is essential part of promotion of the economic interests of the Czech Republic and, thus, constitutes an important task for the diplomatic service.
Some of the achievements of Czech R&D
- Among the Czech inventions belongs for example lighting rod (1740), sugar cube (1843), arc lamp (1900), Kaplan turbine (1912) or contact lenses (1956).
- Czech scientists contributed to the world of science for instance by the theory of cells (1837), laws of heredity (1850), blood types (1906) or polarography (1922).
- Expression “robot” has its roots in Czech language.
- Contact lenses invented by prof. Wichterle represent a billion dollar market worldwide.
- Patients around the world use antivirotics which were developed based on the invention of professor Holý, including medicaments concerning Hepatitis B and HIV.