27. June 2023

Structural virologist, Deputy Director for Research Infrastructure and holder of two European Research Council (ERC) grants, Pavel Plevka, has been entrusted with the function of Director of CEITEC MUNI. He will replace the current Director and educational policy expert, Jiri Nantl, newly appointed Deputy Minister of Education, effective July 1, 2023.

Jiri Nantl joined CEITEC in 2013 as Operational Director of the CEITEC Consortium, and after two years, he was appointed Director of the largest partner of the Consortium, CEITEC MUNI. He has been in this role for the last seven years and has successfully transformed the institute from a grant-funded institute through a sustainability period to the independently operating research institute that CEITEC MUNI is today.

"Jiri Nantl has a great deal to do with building a modern administration of the institute based on the principles of transparency, fairness and openness. Thanks to its progressive management system, CEITEC is considered the most advanced research centre in Central and Eastern Europe and its modern institutional management serves as a model for many domestic and foreign institutes," says Martin Bares, rector of Masaryk University.

A great inspiration for CEITEC MUNI was its membership in the EU LIFE international alliance, bringing together 15 leading research institutes in Western Europe working in the field of life sciences, from which the institute has adopted many practices. It was this valuable experience that inspired Jiri Nantl to establish a similar alliance in Central and Eastern Europe called Alliance4Life. Here, CEITEC MUNI passes on to its partners the newly acquired experience and best practices that it has already successfully put into practice. Alliance4Life, founded by Nantl, has already received funding twice from the European Union and has a very good reputation in Brussels for its progressive activities and its efforts to proactively reduce the gap in innovation potential between Western and Eastern Europe.

Pavel Plevka will take up the position of director of CEITEC MUNI from July 1, 2023. His nomination was approved by the rector of Masaryk University Martin Bares. Plevka was selected for the role of director due to his proven negotiation and leadership skills, which he demonstrated during the establishment of the National Institute of Virology and Bacteriology in 2022. Pavel Plevka is an internationally recognised expert in the fields of structural biology and virology, who has received a number of prestigious grants and awards. He has received, for example, an ERC-starting grant, an ERC-CZ-consolidator grant, an ERC consolidator grant, an EMBO installation grant, an EXPRO grant and three other research grants from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic. The results of the scientific work of Pavel Plevka and the members of his research group are regularly recognised both at home and abroad. In 2016 Pavel Plevka received the "Neuron Prize for Young Scientists in Biology"; in 2019, the "Silver Medal of Masaryk University", and in 2020 the "Werner von Siemens Prize for a discovery in basic research".

Author of the photo: Gabriela Peringerova

Pavel Plevka also contributes significantly to the popularization of science - scientific articles published by his group have been the basis for more than 50 articles in the Czech and international media, including an article on viruses in the international edition of National Geographic. In connection with the COVID-19 epidemic, he has given more than 100 interviews to media outlets, including Czech Television, Czech Radio and the New York Times.

"Pavel Plevka is a prominent personality of contemporary Czech science, his research activities have top European parameters and he has demonstrated excellent management skills by building his own research group at CEITEC, which has implemented two ERC grants. I am delighted that he has agreed to take over the directorial duties, and I am sure that CEITEC MUNI will be in good hands with him," says outgoing director Jiri Nantl.

"I would like to build on the working systems that Jiri Nantl has established, and I will try to move CEITEC MUNI even closer to our vision of being a leading European research centre known for its discoveries," concludes the newly appointed director Pavel Plevka.

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