29th January 2017

Government analysis of strengths, weaknesses of Czech R&D system

Analysis of the Existing State of Research and Development in the Czech Republic and a Comparison with the Situation Abroad for the Year 2015 approved by the Government in January lists strengths and weaknesses of the Czech R&D system.

Among the strengths are
- qualified / skilled human resources and traditionally strong academic foundations
- existing, developed research infrastructure 
- high economic potential of the Czech Republic
- strong culture of publication activity and gradually developing internationalization with the potential to reach excellence in some fields
- high volume of EU funding that can be used for further development of the Czech R&D system

Among the weaknesses are:
- complex and fragmented R&D financing 
- over-rated international position of the Czech R&D; the current level of funding depends on tapping the EU funds (available until 2023). According to an extreme scenario, the volume of public R&D financing could drop by 0.3% after 2023. Partially, the gap may be covered from public sources, but there is a big potential in private sector funding. 
- private sector funds are predominantly allocated within the private sector which indicates low effectivity of cooperation between the private and public sectors in the Czech system of research, development and innovation
- need to improve the system of R&D results assessment; the rules, as they are set now, make the system preferential towards basic research, which, on the one hand, leads to improved publication activity (but read CERGE-EI’s D. Munich analysis of how misleading this can be) and, on the other hand, to a low rate of cooperation with the business sector.  
- inefficient use of human resources and infrastructure for conducting beneficial applied research
- insufficient coordination of national and European sources

Read more (in Czech). Full analysis is available here.

The Association of SMEs and Craftsmen of the Czech Republic (AMSP) adds that total expenditure on R&D in the Czech Republic in 2015 increased by 4.2% year-on-year to CZK 88.6 bn (out of which CZK 45.6bn were private sector expenditures, an increase by 5.4% year-on-year, and CZK 28.5 bn were national public sector expenditures, an increase by 1.9% year-on-year). With the R&D-expenditure-to-GDP ratio of 1.95%, the Czech Republic ranks 10th among the EU member states. A survey conducted by AMSP/IPSOS shows that almost one-third of businesses may not apply for tax deductions related to in-house R&D due to high administrative burden and unclear defintions and terms. According to a recently published Deloitte analysis, businesses want to invest more into R&D, but at the same time they have been complaining about the lack of skilled workers.

Read also National Research, Development and Innovation Policy of the Czech Republic 2016–2020.  

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic