5th June 2017

Dr. Michael J. Bojdys: Something is rotten in the academia of the Czech Republic

In Nov 2015, “Lidové noviny” (“Mladý vědec hledá „náhradu“ křemíku”) has graciously reported on how Charles University has acquired my ERC Starting Grant worth 1.4 Million EUR. Now – two years later – I am very sad and unhappy to have to outline how and why the Czech Republic will lose this grant again...

..One of the recommendations by Dr Stuart Clark, senior fellow at Jesus College, University of Cambridge is that in order to stimulate an institution or to kick-start world-competitive research, “once every 10-15 years you have to make a high-profile hire” that will set the tone for the next decade. There are many great, leading Czech scientists living abroad in the USA, UK and Germany – give them an incentive to come back!

...Reformists in the Czech Republic are asking for help and legitimacy from the Ministry of education youth and sports (MŠMT ČR). The ministry needs to have one clear agenda for higher education and research in terms of international academic competition and achievement. One way would be by empowering Czech universities in a “Czech Association of Institutions of Higher Education” whose declared statutes should be: (1) freedom and indivisibility of research and teaching, and (2) care for young academics. Such an institution should act as political, economic and legal lobby for institutions of higher education in front of policy-makers and society. They should also provide information services and seminars to guide young academics; especially if their home institutions lack proper mentoring and good academic practices. Such institutions exist in Germany in form of the “Deutscher Hochschulverband” and in the UK as the “Royal Society” and their local branches.

Until the date that such vital institutions and reforms are implemented, I fear many more international and Czech scientists will leave, and it will get worse before it gets better.

Read full article in English.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic