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Government approves national research policy

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Prague, Feb 17 (CTK) – The Czech government approved on Wednesday a national policy for research, development and innovations until 2020 that should focus on support to applied research in areas crucial for the country’s economy, said Deputy Prime Minister for Science Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL).

The areas include nanotechnology, aircraft industry, development of new materials for metallurgy and steel industry and cyber security. They were selected after one year of discussions with representatives of the private sector.

Belobradek said the private sector took part in the preparation of the policy for the first time.

But Czech Confederation of Industry Vice President Zbynek Frolik said the draft policy should have been submitted for further discussion before the final government decision was made, but this did not happen.

The tripartite council of the government, trade unions and employers dealt with the document last December and the Confederation of Industry called for a broad discussion then.

Frolik said the measures in support of gaining private finances was unclear. The idea of replacing the EU subsidies with private funding in 2021 seemed unlikely to come true, he added.

The new policy is to enhance the competitiveness of the Czech Republic, Belobradek said.

He said the role of applied research should be markedly strengthened. The main instrument would be the assessment of industrial cooperation with research institutions from 2017 on, he added.

He said the British document Grant for Research and Development might be an inspiration for the Czech Republic.

The aim is to support innovative startups, he said.

By 2017, a national innovation fund is to be established.

According to the national policy for research, development and innovations, Czech public research institutions are not open to foreign experts and to cooperation with firms enough and only few teams produce top results on the international level.

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