Financing Czech Science: Will the Czech Academy of Sciences Receive Less Money?
Sedlak, Lubomir, The New Presence: The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs
People in the Czech Republic have become accustomed to the fact that even white-collar workers (for instance teachers) sometimes participate in demonstrations in their country; but this year they watched as researchers, in particular those from the Academy of Sciences (AV CR), took to the streets--most recently on 6 October on Prague's Jana Palacha square. The reason behind the protests was a June proposal by the government's advisory body called the Council for Research, Development and Innovations. The proposal suggested that the Academy receive approximately 50 percent less money from the state by 2012.
THE ACADEMY VERSUS UNIVERSITIES
"What we object to, among other things, is that while our subsidies will gradually fall in the next three years to merely half of what they are now, funds for research at universities will stay more or less the same," said Professor Jiri Chyla, member of AV CR's Academic Council and a scientist at its Institute of Physics, to The New Presence. "As far as research goes, to say that universities produce more results is deceptive because if nothing else, we simply employ fewer workers than they do," he added.
At least one person who disagrees with such a claim is, however, Vladimir Haasz, vice-chairman of the aforementioned government council and deputy head of the Department of Measurement at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University (CVUT). "In the past five years, universities in this country have simply achieved, at the same cost, better research results than the academy, which has turned out to be less dynamic," he believes.
Perhaps the reader wonders whether it is possible to define success, as far as scientific research goes, in the first place. Well, the real yardstick, especially in so-called basic research, is found in the number of articles published in various publications, primarily foreign journals such as Nature or The New Scientist, which have a multinational character and are highly influential. To a certain extent, it also matters how many articles local researchers have published in their own country's periodicals, as well as in, for example, global databases or various books of …
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Publication information: Article title: Financing Czech Science: Will the Czech Academy of Sciences Receive Less Money?. Contributors: Sedlak, Lubomir - Author. Magazine title: The New Presence: The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs. Volume: 12. Issue: 4 Publication date: Autumn 2009. Page number: 34+. © 2009 Martin Jan Stransky. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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