International R&D organisations represent a specific type of research infrastructures in which the Czech Republic participates. As far as their typology is concerned, international R&D organisations are international research infrastructures established on the basis of 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 in the legal framework of their establishment. However, their missions are the same – to operate a research infrastructure. While having the international legal character it 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 United Nations, NATO and OECD, which are implementing their internal R&D programmes as well, the Czech Republic is a Member State of the following 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)
Membership in an international R&D organisation, in general, brings a commitment for the Member State to pay 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 particularly the possibilities to make use of the research capacities of international R&D organisations, which are usually provided on the 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. Furthermore, internships to citizens of Member States as well as 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 organisation. The benefits may in some cases take even the form of a guarantee that part of the membership contribution should be invested in guaranteed returns from a given Member State.