Seven new priority research themes
Prague - The Czech Council for Research and Development has named seven scientific research topics that it believes the Czech government should prioritize and support financially. Amongst them are sustainable development, molecular biology, and innovative materials. The Council regards these as vital for the development of a competitive economy. Up to 25% of the science budget should be dedicated to financing these fields, recommends the report. The remaining money should be used to finance other research tasks, grant projects, and research necessary for the civil service, including research implemented by individual ministries. According to the Czech Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy, Martin Jahn, some CZK16.5 billion (Euro540 million) have been allocated for science in this year's budget. This is expected to increase to around CZK22 billion (Euro720 million) by 2007.
The Council however regretted the fact that even though total R&D support is growing it is not increasing in line with the country's GDP growth. At present, the Czech Republic spends less than 0.6% of its GDP on research. However, if public and private funding are considered together, the Czech Republic actually allots almost 1.4% of its national output to research - one of the highest figures amongst the 10 new EU Member States, and second only to Slovenia's.