Press release, Photogallery

UCT and IOCB Prague establish special research chair

2 October 2019
UCT and IOCB Prague establish special research chair
From the left: IOCB Prague director Zdeněk Hostomský, IOCB Tech director Martin Fusek, UCT rector Karel Melzoch, and UCT professor Radek Cibulka

At the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (UCT), a prestigious new position called Chair – Medicinal Chemistry is being established for a leading foreign expert in drug discovery and development. It offers an unconventional form of collaboration with the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague), which will be supporting the new researcher with a grant of 7M CZK over a period of five years. That money will also assist in starting an excellent new research group at UCT. 

The agreement was signed by representatives of both institutions on 2 October 2019. The application process for an international competition will be opened this coming winter, with the selection committee comprising experts from UCT and IOCB Prague alongside two foreign scientists. 

“This marks an important deepening of our longstanding collaboration. Many of our graduates go on to pursue scientific careers at IOCB, and our students work on research projects there. We also co-organize a summer school with substantial international participation, and, of course, we’re neighbors at Dejvice Campus,” says UCT rector Karel Melzoch.

“As is well known, our institute is in a very fortunate situation financially, and that’s why we constantly look for new ways to promote research not only at our institute but also at universities in the Czech Republic to help align them with the best institutes in the world, namely in the areas we’re competitive in,” says IOCB Prague director Zdeněk Hostomský. “Financial support for new chairs in medicinal chemistry at our partner schools is an opportunity to strengthen the international character of these institutes and increase their appeal to leading young researchers from abroad. I hope we’re setting an example and encouraging other big donators, foundations, and private companies to provide similar support.”
From the left: Martin Fusek and Karel Melzoch From the left: Martin Fusek and Karel Melzoch From the left: Zdeněk Hostomský, Martin Fusek, Karel Melzoch, and Radek Cibulka
“Medicinal chemistry is an extremely promising discipline. An excellent scientist from abroad will bring many valuable findings and contacts and will also create a new research group, which is a major opportunity for our students, who get to participate in cutting-edge research,” says Prof. Radek Cibulka of UCT. The school has long been an incubator of talent in related fields, such as drug synthesis and manufacturing, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and others.

Funding for the new chair is being provided by IOCB subsidiary IOCB Tech. “I’m very pleased that our company, IOCB Tech, can actively participate in collaboration between the Czech Academy of Sciences and universities,” says the company’s director and IOCB deputy director Prof. Martin Fusek. “UCT is the most logical partner for IOCB, and not only in geographical terms. I trust that the scientific and educational collaboration between the two institutes will continue to develop successfully.”

This is the second special research chair to be established in the Czech Republic in a short time thanks to generous support from IOCB Prague. In the first instance, collaboration with the Faculty of Science at Charles University resulted in a chair held by Dr. Martin Zoltner of the University of Dundee, Scotland, where, among other things, he conducted research into new antimalarials. He now works at BIOCEV, the joint biotechnology and biomedicine center of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec.
The University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (UCT) is a natural center of study and cutting-edge research. One of the largest educational and research institutions in Central Europe, it specializes in technical chemistry, chemical and biochemical technologies, material and chemical engineering, food chemistry, and environmental studies. Remarkably, of the more than 4,000 students at the school, 700 are enrolled in PhD programs on average. Some of the study programs on offer at UCT are unique in the Czech Republic and are key to the future of the entire country. The school collaborates with more than 100 academic institutions, namely within Europe but also in the USA, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, and elsewhere.

The Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague) is a leading internationally recognized scientific institute whose primary mission is the pursuit of basic research in chemical biology and medicinal chemistry, organic and materials chemistry, chemistry of natural substances, biochemistry and molecular biology, physical chemistry, theoretical chemistry, and analytical chemistry. An integral part of IOCB Prague’s mission is the transfer of the results of basic research into practice. Emphasis on interdisciplinary research gives rise to a wide range of applications in medicine, pharmaceutics, and other fields.
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