Czech Republic

Like Germany, the Czech Republic can look back on a tradition of science dating back 600 years. Economically, both countries rely on the manufacturing industries, in particular machine and automotive construction. Funding is required for the great recent research and innovation efforts in the Czech Republic. The European research area should profit from both countries’ strength in science and economics.

View of Prague © Daniel Geyer / DLR

© Daniel Geyer / DLR

Funding the cooperation

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the cooperation of German institutions with Czech partners with various funding announcements.

Please get in touch if you have additional questions about the support services provided by the International Bureau.

Picture of the event

Political framework

Collaboration between the two countries is based on the agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation that was originally concluded on 2 November 1990 between the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic. In addition, a bilateral agreement on cultural cooperation has been in place since 30 September 1999. Furthermore, since 23 November 2007 an agreement has been in place between the two governments on the mutual recognition of the equivalence of diplomas in higher education.

The Strategic Dialogue between Germany and the Czech Republic signed in July 2015 forms the current basis for the cooperation.

The general strategic focus of the Czech government is to produce more top-ranking research results and to get more companies involved in research and development. In February 2016, the government resolved upon a National Policy for Research, Development and Innovation (NP VaVal) to be implemented between 2016 and 2020. This strategy document mentions five areas in which Czech science still needs to catch up and presents appropriate solutions. These include science and research management, cooperation between the private and public sectors, and innovation in companies. The document also contains a draft for priority applied research topics to be agreed in the course of further discussions with experts from the public.

Priorities of the cooperation

The closest cooperation in common strengths, as presented in the Innovation Union Progress Report (IUPR) 2013 is primarily to be found in the following areas:

  • Environmental research
  • Active agent research and
  • Mobility.

Close cooperation also exists in the areas of health and production technologies. In addition, Germany and the Czech Republic cooperate closely in the sub-areas of strategically important Key Enabling Technologies (KET).

Highlights of the bilateral cooperation

Strategic dialogue

The Foreign Secretaries of Germany and the Czech Republic agreed at the end of 2014 to launch a “strategic dialogue” across the entire width of the bilateral relationships. Specific starting points of the Strategic Dialogue signed on 3 July 2015 e.g. Apply in the area of research and development:

  • Continuation of the commenced bilateral series of conferences,
  • Exchange of experiences in the series of seminars at government office/ BMBF level,
  • Use of the BMBF funding programmes for cooperation between German institutions and Czech partner institutions,
  • Preparing the exchange of German and Czech R&D experts.

International Engineering Fair MSV Brünn

In October 2011 the BMBF was represented for the first time with a shared booth at the International Engineering Fair (Maschinenbaumesse MSV) and showcased ten German research actors. After 2012 and 2013, the fourth and biggest joint booth with 13 sub-exhibitors was set up at the MSV between 29 September and 3 October 2014. A total of approx. 30 universities, R&D networks, companies and research institutions presented themselves in these four years. In addition to the priority topic of engineering, the research areas material engineering, microsystem technology, energy and material efficiency as well as drive technology were also introduced at the joint booth organised by the International Bureau.

The 2013 booth was opened in the presence of the then Czech Deputy Minister for Education Tomáš Hruda and the former Minister for Industry Jiří Cienciala. The 2014 booth also welcomed high-ranking visitors with the Czech Deputy Prime Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Pavel Belobradek.

2014 Science Day

In May 2014, the BMBF took part in the German-Czech Science Day, which took place at the Prague Embassy and the Czech Humboldt Club. The two research landscapes were introduced in the presence of the Czech Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Research, Jaromir Veber; representatives of the four German science organisations and the DFG and DAAD presented themselves and their cooperation offers to approx. 90 attendees.

2015 Conference Serien on Czech Centres of Excellence

A Czech-German series of conferences was launched in February 2015 on the Czech Centres of Excellence in Prague regarding the topics material physics, IT/communication technologies and environmental research. More than 100 Czech and German experts took part in the event alongside the BMBF department head Volker Rieke. When participants were interviewed, it was revealed that more than 70 percent of them saw the success of the conference in planned or actual follow-up activities. In addition, participation at the event resulted in xix submissions to the BMBF announcement “Set-up and expansion of joint research structures in Europe”.

Germany and the Czech Republic kicked off a closer cooperation with this conference.

Information about the research landscape

A new Czech research structure originated as part of the 2007-2014 EU funding phase. Eight European Centres of Excellence were set up co-financed by EU structural grants, and 40 regional research centres were expanded or set up. The Centres of Excellence are dedicated to

  • Laser physics (ELI Beamlines),
  • Large computing facilities/IT (IT4Innovations, NTIS),
  • Health (Clinical Centre and CEITEC Brünn),
  • Biotechnology/Biomedicine (BIOCEV)
  • Mechanics (Centrum Excelence Telč),
  • Environment (CzechGlobe, CEITEC Brünn).

The main priorities of the remaining regional research centres are health/nutrition (ten institutions) and climate/energy (nine institutions). The key technologies include 24 research centres, the largest being materials research (four centres) and nanosciences (three centres).