Weave: Transforming How Cross-border Research is Funded

Today, 12 national research funding organisations, with the support of Science Europe, launch Weave, a cross-European initiative to fund and support excellent international research projects. It is the first time a large network of this scale has developed an initiative of this kind to enable bilateral and trilateral scientific cooperation in Europe.

Weave aims to simplify the submission and selection procedures of collaborative research proposals involving researchers from up to three European countries or regions with a single evaluation. It makes use of existing national or regional funding programmes, through which research projects will be financed. It seeks to make it easier for researchers to collaborate across borders. It also ambitions to increase the capacity of researchers to freely determine the composition, focus, and content of their projects.

“Scientists will certainly appreciate the Weave initiative because it will simplify the international cooperation, so vivid already. The major value added by Weave is the expansion of the group of countries whose scientists will be able to take part in projects. At present, we have cooperation established with Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, and a number of countries outside Europe. Thanks to Weave, another six institutions from European countries will be ‘interwoven’ by the end of 2025. This way, we are creating a pan-European network of institutions funding basic research,” says Prof. RNDr. Jaroslav Koča, DrSc., President, Czech Science Foundation.

Weave builds on the Lead Agency Procedure, through which a single funding organisation evaluates proposals put forward by an international team of researchers and communicates the funding recommendation to the other funders involved. In practice, the researchers choose a coordinating applicant, who submits the joint proposal to the respective Weave funding organisation in their country or region.

“We fully support the Weave initiative, and its effort to promote bilateral and trilateral scientific cooperation within Europe,” said Lidia Borrell-Damián, Science Europe Secretary General. “Innovative projects like Weave strongly contribute to strengthening international research collaboration and the realisation of the European Research Area.”

The Weave signatories have developed, with the support of Science Europe, an interactive online tool that researchers can use to determine the relevant funding opportunities for their projects.

Professor Jaroslav Koča Becomes New President of the Czech Science Foundation

By appointment from the Czech government, structural biologist Prof. RNDr. Jaroslav Koča, DrSc., takes over the helm of the Czech Science Foundation (“GACR”) today. He is replacing nuclear physicist RNDr. Alice Valkárová, DrSc., who remains member of the Presidium. Prof. Koča brings his managerial experience from the position of Scientific Director of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), and his goal is to continue developing international cooperation, and to expand grant opportunities.

“The Czech Science Foundation has supported Czech basic research since 1993. Since then, the agency has supported thousands of projects involving tens of thousands of scientists from hundreds of institutions. I dare say that a great part of our basic research in this country relies on the Czech Science Foundation. Although this research is usually carried out in the Czech Republic, science itself is international, and it is necessary for Czech science to be world-class. My goal is to continue supporting excellence projects, and developing international cooperation. I also consider it vastly important to continuously improve the system of grant support so that it has the capacity to fundamentally support scientists in their early careers, take them through each next phase of their careers, and respond to current challenges in all our society and, indeed, challenges on a global scale,” says Jaroslav Koča, the new President of the Czech Science Foundation.

Jaroslav Koča is not only a scientist of high recognition, but he also has a wealth of experience from top management positions – at the moment he is acting as the Scientific Director of CEITEC. What I consider important is the fact that he has been member of the GACR Presidium since 2016, and deserves his share of credit for the current good condition of the Czech Science Foundation. He has taken an active part in its development, including a significant expansion of international cooperation, which is going to continue, and the preparation of highly selective calls for proposals within EXPRO and JUNIOR STAR projects. I am delighted to be able to hand over the Presidency to someone who knows the Czech Science Foundation very well,” notes Alice Valkárová, the outgoing President, who remains member of the Presidium.

In the course of his scientific career so far, Jaroslav Koča has published over 200 original scientific reports in international journals, and has led over 40 doctoral students and post-docs. He has worked at a number of institutions abroad, some of them in a long-term engagement (Norway, France, U.S.) Prof. Koča has also obtained and managed several large-scale international projects domestically and abroad in the volume of tens or even hundreds of millions of Czech crowns. He was appointed Professor in 1995 by the Masaryk University in Brno in the field of organic chemistry. Prof. Koča has held several science management positions, and has been the Scientific Director of CEITEC since 2015, a position he will leave by 31 December 2020. The government of the Czech Republic appointed Prof. Koča member of the GACR Presidium, where he takes over as President effective 10 December 2020.

About GACR Presidium

The Presidium of the Czech Science Foundation (GACR) is appointed by the government of the Czech Republic upon nominations from the R&D Council. It is composed of five members, each of whom represents one of the five basic fields of science: Technical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Medical and Biological Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Agricultural and Biological-Environmental Sciences. Presidium members are appointed for a four-year term, and may serve no more than two consecutive terms. The President of the Presidium acts as the individual governing (executive) body of the Czech Science Foundation. The Presidium approves invitations to R&D tenders, and executes Funding Agreements, i.e., the grant awards to scientific projects on the basis of evaluations from discipline committees and GACR panels. Furthermore, the Presidium coordinates the activities of these advisory bodies, and appoints and discharges their members. Please click here to see more information about the GACR Presidium.

About the Czech Science Foundation (GACR)

The Czech Science Foundation (GACR) is a governmental agency and the only institution in the Czech Republic providing targeted funds to basic research projects only. The budget in 2020 is approx. CZK 4.2 billion (EUR 160 mil.) Within its funding schemes, the Czech Science Foundation provides financing to projects carried out by seasoned scientists and teams as well as young ones in the early stages of their careers. Each year, hundreds of research projects receive funding based on multiple levels of transparent tenders.

Czech Science Foundation to Support New Projects in 2021 with CZK 1 Billion

The Czech Science Foundation (“GACR”) will put approximately CZK 1 billion (EUR 38 mil.) into new basic research projects next year out of its total budget of over CZK 4 billion. The remainder of the targeted funds is allocated to on-going projects. Apart from standard projects, the Czech Science Foundation will fund EXPRO excellence projects and JUNIOR STAR projects targeted at scientists in their early careers. Another group of projects will obtain funds within international cooperation with research and development agencies worldwide.

“The Czech Science Foundation funds basic research projects at virtually all scientific institutions in the country – recipients include, primarily, the Czech Academy of Sciences and universities, but also museums, libraries, hospitals, and others. Each year, we allocate approx. CZK 4.2 billion to basic research projects. It is an enormous amount, more than 10% of the governments total R&D budget, and we are delighted to see the results coming in. More than half the articles by Czech scientists which rank among 1% most quoted ones worldwide have come to existence through our funding and support,” says RNDr. Alice Valkárová, DrSc., the President of the Czech Science Foundation, adding: “Sometimes basic research is not considered as important as applied research because it does not primarily aim at immediate use of the results in practical life. This view is short-sighted, however, because only through research that brings breakthrough discoveries can new inventions be created. Not even the greatest of innovations of a candle would result in the creation of a light bulb. Even the development of vaccines, so topical nowadays, is based on the findings of basic research.”

The Czech Science Foundation provides funding to projects from all areas of basic research – from technical sciences through natural and biological sciences to social sciences and humanities. Standard projects, of which hundreds get funded every year, usually support the top research efforts in the Czech Republic. New, highly selective projects include EXPRO, targeted at seasoned scholars, enabling them to explore unique ideas having the potential to give a fundamental push to the development of their scientific fields. In addition, EXPRO grants require their recipients to participate in the prestigious grant competition of the European Research Council (ERC). The JUNIOR STAR group of grants is an absolutely new scheme, targeted at scientists in their early careers who graduated with a Ph.D. no more than 8 years ago. Several dozens of researchers will be given the opportunity to become independent scientists, developing their own fields of exploration.

Furthermore, the Czech Science Foundation has developed, and is still developing, numerous international partnerships. The most recent ones include Switzerland, Slovenia, and Poland. Partnerships already in place include Germany, Austria, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, and São Paulo in Brazil. Czech scientific teams work on international projects together with a team from the partner country. “In some cases, we have also seen three teams from three countries joining their forces. We are happy to be able to develop international cooperation so intensively. And we expect to continue expanding international cooperation in future years. Research in the vast majority of fields does not happen in a vacuum – findings are shared throughout the scientific community. The transfer of experience, and linking teams together, creates a significant added value,” concludes the President of the Czech Science Foundation.


About the Czech Science Foundation

Established in 1993, the Czech Scientific Foundation (GACR) is a governmental agency and the only institution in the country providing targeted funds to basic research projects. Within its funding schemes, the Czech Science Foundation provides financing to projects carried out by seasoned scientists and teams as well as young ones in the early stages of their careers. Each year, hundreds of research projects receive funding based on multiple levels of transparent tenders.


Standard projects 2021

International projects 2021

EXPRO and JUNIOR STAR projects 2021


Czech Science Foundation Approves Funding for New Standard Projects

The Presidium of the Czech Science Foundation (“GACR”) has decided which standard projects to finance in the area of basic research in the upcoming year. Standard projects will be funded along with EXPRO, JUNIOR STAR, and international projects. Another 60 (approximately) projects will receive funding depending on the current availability of funds after partner organisations abroad carry out their evaluations.

“This year, we have seen scientists showing much greater interest in funding than they did in previous years. The volume of funding available from the state budget distributed through the Czech Science Foundation in support of Czech science is still the same, however: approximately CZK 4.2 billion (EUR 160 million). I wish to congratulate all those who have succeeded in the tight competition and are going to receive funding, and I look forward to the results of their explorations,” says RNDr. Alice Valkárová, DrSc., President of GACR, adding: “I do realise that the applicants who have not received funding for their projects may be disappointed, I will be happy if they don’t lose their love of science. First, they can still amend their projects and submit again next year. Second, we are continuously working on expanding grant schemes to tailor them to scientists’ needs as best we can. Among the recommendations we follow in this effort are those from the government’s R&D Council. In recent years, we have been able to establish several significant international partnerships, and there are more to come. Also last year, we financed EXPRO projects for the first time, and this year‘s calls for JUNIOR START projects were published for the first time. We are planning to open a new tender for POSTDOC INDIVIDUAL FELLOWSHIP next year. We are delighted that the Czech Science Foundation has been a long-term provider of grant funding whose contribution to the high level of Czech science is substantial – more than half the articles by Czech scientists which rank among the 1% most quoted ones worldwide have received funding from us.

Additional standard projects, on top of those listed below, can be financed depending on the funding decision for international projects in cooperation between the Czech Science Foundation and partner institutions abroad. That decision should be made in the Spring of 2021.

In recent years, the number of projects involving international cooperation has surged. New international projects received funding in the amount of CZK 33.5 million in 2018. The amount went up to CZK 57 million in 2019. And CZK 105.6 million this year. And the amount ear-marked by the Czech Science Foundation for such projects is even higher: CZK 200 million. At the moment, however, we still do not know which projects will receive funding – most of them are still awaiting an evaluation and/or approval by the partner organisation abroad. If the financial provision for international projects is not exhausted, it will be used for the funding of another 60 projects (approx.) We will reach out to inform such applicants in the Spring about funding possibilities for their projects starting in the second half of 2021,” adds Alice Valkárová.

The evaluations of standard projects takes place in three stages, and there are 400 experts involved. Each project proposal was evaluated by at least four independent experts in a given field. Over half of the best project proposals were then assessed by evaluators abroad – more than 99% project proposals have received at least two evaluations from abroad. You are welcome to learn more about the evaluation process for standard projects.


List of projects funded in *.pdf format (in Czech only)


In early November, the Czech Science Foundation published projects to receive funding from the EXPRO and JUNIOR STAR programmes. It also published a list of international projects recommended for funding.


Czech Science Foundation Completes Evaluation of International Projects

The Czech Science Foundation (“GACR”) has completed the evaluations of bilateral international projects where the Lead Agency principle is used as basis of evaluation, and where the Czech Science Foundation is the evaluating agency. Final decisions on funding by the participating agencies will be announced in the next few weeks and months.


The year 2020 has seen a tremendous development in the area of Lead Agency (LA) projects, where one organisation (the Lead Agency) recommends projects for funding, and the other agency accepts this recommendation, which is different from bilateral international projects. The LA approach reduces the administrative burden of the entire process dramatically.

Earlier this year, the Czech Science Foundation, and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) have published a joint call for proposals for the first time. The results were published (only in Czech) in late September. CEUS, the new Central-European initiative, was an important part of international LA projects. The initiative has been joined by the Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) of Austria, the Javna agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije (ARRS) of Slovenia, and the Narodowe Centrum Nauki (NCN) of Poland. It was also possible to submit trilateral proposals in response to this new call. The last important news is that the Czech Science Foundation has become the Lead Agency for the first time, i.e. the agency carrying out the expert evaluation and proposing which projects receive funding.

The Presidium of GACR made the decision on LA projects evaluated by the Czech Science Foundation in late November, proposing projects worth nearly CZK 212 million (EUR 8 million).  The next step is the confirmation of the proposed results by the partner agencies. Thus, the applicants will be notified of the final results once the agencies abroad confirm the decisions of the Czech Science Foundation. LA projects worth over CZK 64 million have already been approved in the autumn (in cooperation with SNSF and FWF).

More projects are still in the evaluation process where FWF of Austria and NCN of Switzerland play the Lead Agency role. The Czech Science Foundation has already announced (only in Czech) the first results of the joint call for proposals by FWF of Austria, which carries out evaluations contiuously throughout the year. More results are expected in March next year. The joint call with ARRS of Slovenia will be published in early December this year. These calls (published later) will produce projects launched in the 2nd half of 2021 or in early 2022.

UPDATE (links only in Czech):
7. 12. – Funded projects with Austrian agency Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)

17. 12. – Funded projects with Slovenian agency Javna agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije (ARRS)


The Czech Science Foundation continues to support international projects carried out jointly by scientific teams from Taiwan (in cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Technology – MOST), South Korea (National Research Foundation of Korea – NRF), Germany (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG), São Paolo, Brazil (São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP), and Russia (Russian Foundation for Basic Research – RFBR). Project proposals submitted in these tenders are evaluated by both the Czech Science Foundation and the partner abroad. They receive funding if recommended by both institutions.

The number of project proposals received within international bilateral projects has increased more than threefold over the last 3 years, and the amount of funds provided by the Czech Science Foundation corresponds to this increase.

Please see below the list of projects recommended by the Czech Science Foundation for funding in 2021. The funding of those projects is contingent upon approvals by the partner organisations, which have not been issued yet. The final funding decision will be made in the next weeks and months after evaluation results are received from partner institutions.

List of international bilateral projects recommended for funding by the Czech Science Foundation (*. pdf; only in Czech)

!PLEASE NOTE: The final decision on funding the following projects is contingent upon the approving evaluation by the partner organisation abroad.

UPDATE (links only in Czech):
11. 12. – Funded projects with German agency Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and South Korean agency National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)

21. 12. – Funded projects with Taiwanese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST)