13. June 2023

Central European Institute of Technology CEITEC Masaryk University hosted the first-ever Czechoslovak conference on strategic management in science from the national and institutional perspective. The conference provided an opportunity for a meeting of leading government officials from both countries, including Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and representatives of the leadership of Czech and Slovak universities and research institutes, relevant ministries, government councils for research, development and innovation and grant agencies. The International Clinical Research Centre of St. Anne's University Hospital in Brno and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University, and the Biomedical Centre of the Slovak Academy of Sciences were co-organising the conference. The aim of the conference was to exchange experiences in the field of strategic research management with an emphasis on creating an environment that supports excellent science. 

The organising institutions have been cooperating intensively for the past five years in the framework of an international alliance of progressive biomedical institutions called Alliance4Life. This conference provided a unique opportunity for other Czech and Slovak universities and research institutions to engage in a debate on improving competencies in the management and administration of research institutions, and together to find solutions for the strategic management of science. The conference is a follow-up to the national roundtables on science policy "How to help positive change?", which took place in Prague and Bratislava and was organised by Alliance4Life in 2019. This conference follows up on the third edition of the conference Institutional Management in Science, which CEITEC MUNI organised in 2018 and 2019. This year, all actors came together to be able to leverage even more synergies to strengthen science policy in both friendly countries.

"Our ambition is to connect the different areas of science policy and discuss the specific issues that are brought together thanks to its dynamic development. We want to create opportunities for mutual inspiration, to bring meaningful and valuable solutions to develop the culture and prosperity of scientific institutions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia," explained Jiří Nantl, Director of CEITEC MUNI. 

The conference was opened by the Rector of Masaryk University, Martin Bareš, who spoke about the importance of strategic leadership from an institutional and national perspective. "A strategic approach to science management is extremely important as it helps to ensure that scientific research and development are focused on key areas that have the potential to bring the highest benefits to society, the economy and the environment. One of the critical aspects of strategic science management is priority setting. Here, national science strategies and the strategies of individual scientific institutions play a key role. It is important that these strategies are flexible and allow flexible adaptation to new challenges and trends. In the national context, the strategic science agenda should be oriented towards strengthening the country's research and development capacity, fostering innovation and technology transfer, and thus sustainable economic growth. This includes investment in human resources, infrastructure and international cooperation. Institutional strategies should promote multidisciplinary approaches, diversity and inclusiveness within scientific teams, as well as create an environment that fosters creativity and innovation. Science is a fundamental driver of human progress and societal development. Its potential is enormous and unprecedented, and I am glad that Masaryk University plays such an important role in the field of Czech science, which is evidenced by this conference," said Martin Bareš.

In his speech, Prime Minister Petr Fiala spoke in particular about the government's priorities in the field of science and research funding and the current challenges of Czech research. "To remain successful, our country must change its thinking and open up more both to skilled foreign workers and to new knowledge and ideas. Our government is aware of this. For future success, we need to make a number of changes in the management and funding of science, especially in the whole education system. We are well aware that science needs not only financial support from the state but, above all, an overall change in the environment, rules and motivation," said Petr Fiala. 

Michaela Kršková, Director General of the Research and Innovation Authority of the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic, who serves as the first Chief Innovation Officer of the Slovak Government and Secretary of the Government Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, presented the strategy of the Slovak Republic. "In Slovakia, thanks to the reforms of the Recovery Plan, we are proposing the most comprehensive change in the approach to funding and evaluation of science, research and innovation in the last two decades - from the obligation to use foreign evaluators or panels to predictable and stable institutional quality funding to simplifying and improving grant support across the innovation cycle. Exchanging experiences with the Czech research environment is an invaluable source of inspiration for us in this process," said Director General Kršková.

The directors of the organising institutions summarised their experience from five years of Alliance4Life and what their membership in this international alliance has brought them. "Twenty years after the accession of our countries to the EU, differences in the performance of science compared to the Western part of the European Union persist. Experience shows that to bridge them, it is not enough to strengthen funding, but a profound transformation of how research institutions are managed and operate, including their internal culture, is needed. Thanks to such transformation, we have ensured the sustainability of CEITEC, and we become an unmissable part of Czech and European science over the last ten years," said Jiří Nantl. The International Clinical Research Centre, ICRC, which has been built under the St. Anne's University Hospital in Brno and connected to Masaryk University through its Faculty of Medicine from 2022, has also become an unmissable institution in the field of science. "Cellular and clinical research takes place here under one roof. We manage to win national and international grant projects, including the most prestigious ones such as the ERC, and attract foreign scientists, who currently make up more than 20% of all staff," said Irena Rektorová.

The afternoon part of the conference was devoted to panel discussions. Representatives of the leadership of Czech and Slovak universities and research institutes debated with representatives of relevant ministries, government councils for research, development and innovation and grant agencies on the reform of science evaluation, modern and sustainable HR in science, core facilities and the professionalisation of scientific management at research institutions and universities.

Read More

News Press Releases

CEITEC Will Lead the New Alliance4Life_ Action Project

18. 1. 2021


CEITEC and FNUSA-ICRC Represented the Czech Republic at the Alliance4Life…

19. 6. 2019