Research Funding Changes Target Fair Distribution

Prague, Dec 10 (CTK) – A new way of evaluation, which is to allow a fairer distribution of money on individual institutions, is the biggest change in the management of Czech science and research implemented this year.


The year 2017 also brought other significant changes in this sphere. A woman became for the first time the head of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAV).


In the second half of the year, there was a discussion of research funding and the government council for research submitted not only a proposal for the next year, but also a prospect for another seven years for the first time to the Finance Ministry.


In February, the government approved a new technique to evaluate the research, called M17+. Its drafting was embedded in the manifesto of the coalition government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD).


It hoped that it “will reduce the dependence of basic research on expedient financing, limiting the advantages arising from scope at the expense of quality.”


The evaluation called M17+ divides research organisations into four groups according to their quality. This determines how much money they will receive from the state budget.


CAV chairman Jiri Drahos was replaced with Eva Zazimalova, who took up the post in March. She said her objective included the support for top research, efficient use of resources and motivation of the young generation towards science.


This year, the Czech Republic sent another science diplomat abroad. After Delana Mikolasova, working in Israel since 2015, the Czech embassy in the USA was joined by Ludek Moravec.


Science diplomats are mainly to establish contacts for future cooperation in research and to enhance the awareness of Czech science abroad.


Moravec focuses on defence, security and energy.


During his four-year tenure, Deputy Prime Minister for Research and Science Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) tried to finish the bill on support for research. He only succeeded in this this year, after the proposal was approved by individual ministries and in August, it was passed to the Government Legislative Council.


It reckons with the establishment of a new ministry that is to control the area.


When it comes to the financing of research and science, the second half of the year was decisive because there was a discussion on the budget for next year.


Belobradek insisted on observing the sum of 36 billion crowns, with which the government agreed in May.


The government eventually approved the sum 35.6 billion crowns.


The council for research also presented a scenario for another seven years, reckoning with the expected fallout of European money after 2020.


It said both the state and private expenditures on research were necessary.