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Czech research centres need to more cooperate with firms

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Prague, April 29 (CTK) – There are nearly 200 research centre built for public finances in the country and they need to be interlinked and aimed at applied research and their cooperation with companies needs to be boosted, Czech Technology Agency head Petr Ocko has told CTK.

The Technology Agency launched the National Competence Centres programme this year to achieve this objective, he said, adding that the programme was inspired by the Fraunhofer institutes in Germany.

Up to 1.8 billion crowns may be distributed within the programme by 2022 when a follow-up programme will start. Within the programme, a dozen virtual centres focusing on some of the set topics, such as biomedicine, machinery or social impact of technological changes, are to be established.

“The goal of the programme is to take what we have, interconnect it and focus it to higher efficiency and cooperation with the business sphere,” Ocko said.

The virtual centres can be compared to consortiums linking a research institution with several firms.

Ocko said the topics were defined in accordance with the research capabilities in the country and the sectors of the Czech economy.

Selected projects will be supported until 2020 and if they are successful they made continue until 2022. The subsidy will cover up to 80 percent of the costs provided that at least 19 percent of the costs must be covered by contracts. A follow-up programme will last until 2026.

In the past, several dozens of research centres were set up in the Czech Republic, including 48 projects financed from the EU operational programme, 34 centres funded by the Technology Agency, centres supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GACR) and further infrastructure with quality equipment.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) recently said the covering of the operational costs of these centres after 2020, when the current EU programme period ends, will be a challenge.

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