Czech Academy of Sciences to undergo restructuring

20-04-2004

The Czech Academy of Sciences, the successor of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, founded in 1953, is going to undergo restructuring. Its almost 7,000 employees, more than half of them scientists, currently work in 57 research institutes.

The number of scientists is to remain the same but the number of research centres is to be reduced, mainly for financial reasons. Larger and more successful institutes will swallow up the less productive ones. According to the head of the Academy, Helena Illnerova, merging smaller institutes will help them become stronger partners for universities and the business sphere. They will also be able to look after their doctoral students.

The members of the Czech Academy of Sciences also say they would like to strengthen the mandate of the academy's chairperson. The powers of the head of the academy were somewhat reduced during the split of Czechoslovakia, when the Czech and Slovak Academies of Sciences succeeded the federal institution. According to proposals, the chairperson should be elected by the Academic Assembly but, on top of that he or she should also be nominated by the government and appointed by the Czech president. Both the cabinet and the head of state would have a right to veto the choice but they would not be able push through their own candidate. This new system should, according to the academicians, prevent politicians from infiltrating the leadership of the academy.

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