New fund supports collaboration between researchers from the Czech Republic and MIT
The establishment of collaboration between researchers from the Czech Republic and world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is being made easier thanks to a new program called the MIT-Czech Republic Seed Fund, a joint project of MIT, the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague). IOCB Prague subsidiary IOCB Tech is providing the fund with 300,000 USD.
Currently, similar collaboration with MIT is being undertaken by only 16 country-specific programs around the world, including Germany, Japan, and Israel. The goal of the new program is to support collaboration between researchers in the early phase, which is not covered by standard grant funding.
“We consider it our first foray into this type of collaboration, and it’s also an important indicator of the quality of science in the Czech Republic. We have no doubt that it will significantly expand our institutions’ horizons and their opportunities for research. Those are some of the reasons the Czech Academy of Sciences has actively pursued such an agreement with MIT,” says Eva Zažímalová, president of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
“For many centuries, the Czech lands have produced amazing scientists, intellectuals and artists that have shaped civilization and advanced our shared humanity. The ongoing excellent research in the Czech Republic in fields such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, high-energy physics, and biochemistry, to name but a few, makes the country a natural partner for MIT,” explains Markus Buehler, McAfee Professor of Engineering at MIT & the Advisory board Chair for the seed fund. “We’re excited about this opportunity for Czech and MIT researchers to explore new collaborations together and develop larger and lasting joint research projects in the near future.”
“I am happy to see this come to fruition, unlocking new opportunities for Czech scientists and solidifying the relationship between MIT and the Czech Republic,” comments H.E. Hynek Kmoníček, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the USA. “At the Embassy, we are hopeful that this program will become an integral part of CZ-US R&D engagement fabric in years to come, sparking interesting new discoveries, leading to ever-so sought after innovations.”
Applications: from September to mid-December
The fund is made possible by financial support from IOCB Tech, the technology transfer office of IOCB Prague.
“For IOCB, the international collaboration embodies one of the fundamental prerequisites for leading-edge science, and MIT is, without a doubt, among the very best in a whole range of fields,” says Zdeněk Hostomský, director of IOCB Prague.
“It’s an honor for us to financially support this outstanding project, which will help all research institutions in the Czech Republic establish productive collaboration with MIT. We look forward to the results,” adds Martin Fusek, director of IOCB Tech.
In each of the next three years, the MIT-Czech Republic Seed Fund will divide 100,000 USD among three to five new collaborations. The money can be used to cover travel and accommodation expenses relating to work meetings and research internships. Joint research teams from MIT and the Czech Republic will apply for the financial support. MIT will host two webinars this late spring and summer with details and practical information for applicants. Applications can be submitted from September to the middle of December, and recipients will be chosen by April of the following year, meaning the first journeys can be undertaken in June of 2022.
In the Czech Republic, the program will be coordinated by the Czech Academy of Sciences and will be open to scientists from research and academic institutions in the Czech Republic and their partners at MIT.