National Research, Development and Innovation Policy of the Czech Republic 2016–2020
In February 2016 the Government has approved the National Research, Development and Innovation Policy of the Czech Republic 2016-2020 (NP). In the coming years more emphasis will be placed on supporting applied research for the needs of the economy and the state administration. The document identifies the key areas and research themes that applied research should focus on. The National Policy also proposes changes in the management and financing of science in order to create more cutting edge research results and involve enterprises more in research and development.
“For the first time, we have invited the private sector to participate in the preparation of scientific policy and we have also set the system for the future based on their observations. We want support of applied research to focus primarily on promising areas that pull the Czech economy”, said Deputy Prime Minister for Science, Research and Innovation Pavel Bělobrádek, who submitted the NP to the government. According to the Czech Statistical Office, more than half of the total expenditure on research and development in the Czech Republic is made up of the expenditure of enterprises, and in 2014 this amount was 43 billion Czech Crowns.
The needs of industry as well as the state administration will be discussed with market representatives and the support programs will be modified based on these discussions. Key sectors were identified as being biotechnology and nanotechnology, digital economy, automotive and aviation industries and rail transportation, as well as traditional sectors such as machinery, electronics, steel, casting and energy. Attention has recently been focused on cultural and creative industries. These areas were determined after a year-long discussion with business representatives. The list of research topics will be further supplemented.
The National Policy further identifies five areas in which Czech science lags behind, and proposes solutions:
- System for managing science and research
The management of science policy should be unified under a single authority, the planned Ministry of Science. Funding of research institutions, including the newly established research centers would fall under its jurisdiction, international scientific collaboration and scientific diplomacy will be addressing here at a central level.
- The public sector
The new system of evaluation of research organizations should support cutting edge scientific results and kick start applied research and the involvement of researchers in international collaboration. A transparent system for funding new research centers and large infrastructures should also be created.
- Collaboration of the public and provide sectors
Evaluation and funding of research will be modified in order to encourage researchers and enterprises to collaborate. Parts of existing centers should be transformed into centers of applied research. A database of the instrumentation that research organizations possess and which could also be used for corporate research will be created.
- Innovation in enterprises
Currently, mainly large multinational enterprises invest into research and development. New services and financial instruments (such as the National Innovation Fund) should help SMEs become more involved in research.
- Strategic targeting of support
The results of applied research are still only applied in practice to a small extent, support programs for research are too generic. Therefore, priority areas of applied research that should be supported will be specified. The programs will focus on specific themes based on current needs and also taking into account potential challenges or threats faced by society (e.g. migration, drought).
The Analysis of the State of Research, Development and Innovation was used as the basis for the proposed measures. Increased spending on these measures will be addressed within the overall budget for science.