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.