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Czech science diplomat to operate in USA as of January

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Prague, Nov 7 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will have a science diplomat as of January 2017, the Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Irena Valentova told CTK today, adding that the ministry will launch a competition for the post within a month.

Prague also wants to install its science diplomat in Germany.

The first Czech science diplomat to operate abroad is Delana Mikolasova. She has represented the country in Israel since autumn 2015.

“The post of a diplomat in charge of promoting science and technology at the Czech embassy in Washington will be established as of January 1, 2017,” Valentova said.

The science diplomat’s major tasks include the establishment of contacts with the host country’s scientists, research institutions and firms focusing on innovations, and support for their cooperation with science, research and industrial companies in the Czech Republic.

The Foreign Ministry decides on the establishment of science diplomatic posts together with the Government Office department headed by Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), deputy prime minister for science and research.

At a recent security conference in Prague, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the USA and Israel are interesting for the Czech Republic in view of their advanced research and rising exports.

Germany, too, plays an important role in the science-research strategic dialogue, which is why it is a crucial partner of the Czech Republic, Zaoralek said.

In Asia, South Korea could be an interesting partner, he said.

On the other hand, the Czech Republic is not considering sending a science diplomat to Britain, though the British science attache in Prague, Otakar Fojt, recently said he would welcome having his Czech counterpart in London. This would help preserve the long-built scientific ties, mainly after Brexit, Fojt told CTK in July.

Belobradek, however, ruled out the installation of a Czech science diplomat in Britain.

“It is a question of capacities and priorities. The Koreans, Swedes, French or Belgians would wish the same as well. We started with Israel and the USA follows. It is also a question of money, because the Finance Ministry dislikes additional expenditures,” Belobradek told CTK.

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