New head of Czech science takes helm as problems pumping funds highlighted
Czech science is experiencing interesting times. There’s a new head of the country’s biggest scientific institution and on the 10th anniversary of the existence of one of Europe’s biggest research funds, there’s been criticism of the country’s poor performance in pumping those resources and conducting top level science.
Some confirmation of the critical situation of science in the country came a day after Zažímalová took up the new post. On the 10th anniversary of the creation of the European Research Council, one of the continent’s main sources of funding, Czech research council member Tomáš Jungwirth criticised the poor Czech performance in applying for and winning research cash. The country had a success rate of around 5.0 percent. I asked Eva Zažímalová if she shared in the criticism.
ʺIt is a very complex situation because there is still the heritage from the past regime where people had very limited mobility and that means there is limited international experience which is one of the conditions for such prestigious grants. So this is one of the reasons. The other one is that especially in experimental science you need to have good equipment to do experiments. Also in this respect, let’s say, there are more reduced conditions with respect to the West. Basically, perhaps these are the major problems. I think it needs time to change it. We, I mean not only the Academy of Science but also grant agencies and universities, are trying to establish some programmes to support young scientists with the capacity to prepare competitive proposals for such institutions as the ERC."
And you think you can make a change fairly quickly or is this a change that will take five years or 10 years and more funding maybe from the Czech government?