The Czech Science Foundation (GACR) has selected over 477 research projects to be funded starting next year. The topics of the projects chosen by the scientists are from all areas of basic research, the main aim of which is to produce new findings. The projects were selected under various grant calls – the selected projects will be carried out over 3-5 years. During that time, over CZK 3.5 billion will be used to fund those projects.
“The characteristic of basic research is that it brings new findings and knowledge. It was basic research which made the extremely rapid development of vaccines against covid-19 possible ‒ because when the epidemic struck, there was already a wealth of existing knowledge on which to build. The Czech Research Foundation also supports all areas of basic research because we never know when they might turn out to be useful. All of the current inventions are also based on basic research findings,” said Petr Baldrian, Chairman of the Czech Research Foundation.
“All of the selected projects are excellent and on par with international standards, even though fewer than 20% of the project proposals will be funded in this tender,” says Petr Baldrian, adding: “The quality of the projects selected by the Czech Science Foundation is also evidenced by the results of the projects already completed, which have resulted in a vast number of publications and, above all, new findings that are among the absolute top in the world.” A total of 434 Standard Projects will be funded starting next year.
It is important for every scientist to obtain foreign experience as soon as possible, which is why this year, for the first time, the Czech Science Foundation launched the POSTDOC INDIVIDUAL FELLOWSHIP (PIF) programme. These grants are grouped into inbound grants for scientists from abroad and outbound grants for Czech scientists. “The purpose of these grants,” says the President of the Czech Science Foundation, “is to enable Czech researchers to obtain experience with world-class science at the leading institutions abroad. Part of the grant is also the Fellow’s return to the Czech institution, where he or she will capitalize on the experience obtained abroad. The second branch of this Fellowship programme will open up career opportunities for the best young scientists from other countries at scientific institutions in the Czech Republic.” In the first year, 27 PIF grants were awarded, and the Czech Science Foundation expects an increase in the coming years.
“Young scientists also crave the opportunity to make their original ideas come true, and to build their own teams. This is made possible by the JUNIOR STAR grants, which are, however, highly selective, and only scientists who already have the necessary experience are able to obtain them. However, if they make it through the rigorous selection process, they deserve long-term support for the development of their own scientific topic,” says the President of the Czech Science Foundation, introducing the grant schemes for scientists in their early careers. Sixteen researchers were awarded five-year funding of up to CZK 25 million.
All of the projects went through a transparent, multi-stage evaluation process involving over 400 Czech experts in their respective fields of research and hundreds of international scientists. The deadline for submission of project proposals was postponed by two weeks due to the epidemic situation, but the results were published within the original deadline. “Our evaluators deserve a big “thank you”, we are only able to publish the results this year thanks to them and their extraordinary commitment.”
The results of the international calls will be published in the next few weeks, after being confirmed by the partner agencies abroad.