On Thursday, 3rd February 2022, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) was organising a Roundtable on the Presidency of Czechia in the Council of the EU, to be held in the 2nd half of 2022. The event was arranged in the conference premises of the National Library of Technology in order to present to political and expert stakeholders, as well as economic and social partners, the priorities, on which the Presidency programme of MEYS in the fields of research (pdf), education and youth shall focus. The Presidency political and expert meetings to be arranged by MEYS were introduced too. Due to the persisting unfavourable epidemiological situation, the Roundtable had to be organised in the hybrid form, where the limited number of participants physically attending the event was complemented by audience following the broadcast via the webstream interface. Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Petr Gazdík, Minister for European Affairs Mikuláš Bek, as well as Minister for Science, Research and Innovation Helena Langšádlová delivered their keynote addresses at the beginning of the Roundtable.
EU Council Conclusions on Research Infrastructures
As far as the research agenda of the Czech EU Council Presidency is concerned, research infrastructures will become one of the top priorities. MEYS intends to follow up on the outputs of the activities of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and achievements reached in 2019–2021 under the ESFRI Chairmanship of Jan Hrušák, Special Envoy of MEYS for Research Infrastructures. The ambitions outlined in the „ESFRI White Paper 2020: Making Science Happen – A New Ambition for Research Infrastructures in the European Research Area“, and the „Strategy Report on Research Infrastructures in Europe: Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures 2021“ shall, thereby, be shifted from the strategy/expert level of ESFRI to the top political level of the EU Research Ministers, and feed into the EU Member States’ commitment on the future development of the research infrastructure ecosystem in Europe, to be made through the EU Council Conclusions, setting out key objectives, as well as tools to achieve them.
International Conference on Research Infrastructures ICRI 2022
To facilitate the debates on the future development of research infrastructure policy-making in Europe and in the world, MEYS, in a close cooperation with the Masaryk University and the Central European Institute of Technology, will hold the ICRI 2022 (International Conference on Research Infrastructures) on 19th–21st October 2022 in Brno, as a back-to-back event following the ESFRI Forum Plenary, to be held on 18th–19th October 2022. Besides the endorsement of the EU Council Conclusions on Research Infrastructures, outlining the future directions of research infrastructure policy in the EU, the ambition of the Czech Presidency is also to use the opportunity of the ICRI 2022 conference to introduce the so-called Brno Declaration on Research Infrastructures, to set out the goals for the development of a fully integrated and interoperable global research infrastructure ecosystem as an essential component of the critical infrastructure and instrument to address grand societal and economic challenges.
Research infrastructures are creating an essential network of top-class facilities empowering European scientists to perform ground-breaking fundamental and applied research, which push the horizons of the human knowledge beyond yet known horizons. They are also a platform to develop state-of-the-art technologies with a great potential for application in innovative products and services of high added value. Research infrastructures bring numerous benefits, impacts and spill-overs beyond the scientific area, and facilitate knowledge-based solutions to grand societal and economic challenges. When being involved in the Covid-19 pandemic crisis management, research infrastructures have demonstrated the mission as a vital component of the critical infrastructure. Preparedness of the research infrastructure ecosystem, thereby, directly effects and determines preparedness of the society to respond to any crisis scenario. Investments in research infrastructures are therefore a highly strategic investment. Research infrastructures, providing their expertise, technological devices and services on the open access policy basis, are also the flagship implementing the Open Science Policy, in which they have irreplaceable role.