Top five Czech universities form research association
Five leading Czech universities have joined to form the Association of Czech Research Universities with the aim to foster their competitiveness among the best research institutes in Europe. The association members are Charles University, Masaryk University, Palacky University in Olomouc, the Czech Technical University in Prague and the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague.
The founding universities hope that the joint organization will help them compete among the very best European higher education institutions in research and education. The universities will share their expertise, ideas, resources and scientific equipment in research.
Association members expect that such cooperation will help them boost research activities and improve the transfer of information, results and know-how from one university to another. The universities want to share experience in the field of intellectual property protection and start-up and spin-off activities, too.
The organization will also strive to engage more with the prestigious European ERC grants and to strengthen cooperation with their foreign research partners. The rector of Palacky University Jaroslav Miller thinks that participation in international networks is very important. He claims that the Czech universities must be much more successful in international research clusters and projects in the future.
Another aim of the association is to push for changes in the financing system of Czech higher education and research. Despite improvements and growing investments in the recent years, Czech leading universities still lack behind in international rankings. According to the rectors of the leading institutions, this is partly because the Czech government has pursued a unifying policy towards universities and reduced the role of performance parameters in the way schools are funded in the past years.
The establishment of the association was motivated by efforts to defend and promote the interests of the member universities that aspire to a decent international position. The newly formed association wants to push for a system of funding public universities based on evaluation of quality of scientific and educational activities, which consists in transparent links of funding to internationally recognized indicators of quality of science and education.
These indicators should include reputation in the academic environment, reputation among major employers, student-teacher ratio, the involvement of faculties and students internationally, and the citation scores of university faculties. The change of funding research would allow the leading universities to increase their budgets, which is a goal of the association.
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