International R&D organisations represent a specific type of research infrastructures, which the Czech Republic participates in, being their Member State. As far as their typology is concerned, international R&D organisations are international research infrastructures established under public international law. International research infrastructures that are set up under the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) legal framework or under national legal frameworks of their hosting countries differ from international R&D organisations only by legal framework of their establishment. However, their missions are the same – to operate a research infrastructure. The international legislative framework of establishment provides the international R&D organisations with a number of benefits, including, inter alia, full tax exemption, freedom to adjust internal conditions or diplomatic immunity.
In addition to the memberships in the UN (United Nations), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), which are implementing their internal R&D programmes, the Czech Republic is Member State of the following 6 international R&D organisations:
- CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research)
- EMBC (European Molecular Biology Conference)
- EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)
- ESA (European Space Agency)
- ESO (European Southern Observatory)
- JINR (Joint Institute of Nuclear Research)
A particular kind of membership of the Czech Republic in international R&D organisations is participation of the Czech Republic in:
- ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor)
- VKIFD (Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics)
In general, membership in an international R&D organisation, brings a commitment for Member State to cover its annual contributions, which may be mandatory or optional in their nature. On the other hand, the membership, consequently, brings a number of significant opportunities and benefits to the research and industrial communities of an international R&D organisation´s Member State. These are, in particular, the possibilities to use research capacities of international R&D organisations, which are usually provided on competitive basis while the allocation of experimental/observation time is decided by an independent evaluation body composed of renowned experts in the field or by the organisation itself. Moreover, internships to citizens of Member States and vacancies are offered by international R&D organisations. Last but not least, suppliers from Member States usually have a better position in technology and service procurement competitions launched by international R&D organisations. The benefits may in some cases take even the form of a guarantee that a part of membership fee should be invested in guaranteed returns from a given Member State.