Since joining the European Union last year, the Czech Republic has become more involved in both formal and informal European structures and networks. For example, last month the country opened a liaison office for research and development in the centre of Brussels, joining the 20-member Informal Group of Liaison Offices for Research and Development in the European capital.
The office was established by the Czech Academy of Sciences and it is financed by the Ministry of Education. Its main mission is to promote Czech science, research and development in the European Union.
Ivo Sanc is the head of the new Brussels office.
"One goal of our mission is to intermediate contacts between Czech researchers and their colleagues and partners from European countries. And another goal is to gather information from European institutions which deal with research and science and, of course, we are also planning to help directly Czech research and development institutions and companies in the cases of any disputes or any necessity to discuss their projects here in Brussels."
The office is also prepared to provide its premises to Czech institutions and scientists when they need to meet their colleagues in Brussels. Programmes for the general public are also being prepared.
"We are also planning to organise some kind of public presentations or exhibitions or public debates, probably not during the next few months but maybe at the end of the year and certainly next year. So that's also one part of our plan."
The Brussels office is now working on a number of concrete tasks. One is keeping Czech institutions up-to-date on the so-called Technology Platforms which are being set up across Europe, bringing together companies, research institutions, the financial world and the regulatory authorities.
"Another concrete task which we got from the Czech Academy of Sciences is to gather information related to the participation of Czech researchers in European projects because there is not any central database in the Czech Republic, so we have to find it out among the liaison offices, or here in Brussels."
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