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Czech Invest President: University Startup Fund Will Receive Half a Billion

Czech Invest President: University Startup Fund Will Receive Half a Billion

How does the state support the emergence of innovation?

The Czech Republic is not entirely wrong about innovative research. A lot of money is spent on research from public sources, approximately forty billion kroner annually. A lot of money goes to innovation and corporate research. Public resources, along with spending on private research, account for approximately 2% of GDP. The question remains about the ability to focus support on key themes and the ability to translate research into practice. We still fail, and we’re not the only ones. But when we look at some European countries, such as the United Kingdom or Switzerland, we find that they are much better off.

But we have a new smart specialization strategy, called RIS3, that can set good support targets. It depends on the data, it was missing, the previous support was instead of the wishlist. Thus, the research and innovation potential of companies and what are the trends have been identified. Where they intersect is our priority. And there we want to target help from both national and European sources. Recently, there are social challenges with respect to data, which are of an essential nature for Czech society and require purposeful efforts. Usually, this could be an increase in energy efficiency or the future of mobility. There was no consensus on priorities.

Last but not least, we are now launching a technology incubator project with CzechInvest. It responds to insufficient transfer of research to practice. There are minimal innovative spin-offs arising from academic research.

However, a little has come up in healthcare lately, right?

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Yes, for example Diana Biotechnologies. There are a few of them, there will be some in IT, someone shows up every year. One problem is that spin-offs happen, but out of the system. Not with malicious intent, but the technical knowledge of that organization flows into the company. Then the money goes to the company.

So this is undesirable from the point of view of the state?

It is completely undesirable, and the system does not encourage kicking. This is not the case in successful countries such as the United States, Israel or Switzerland. Years ago, we went to Stanford and asked if it would happen to them to have someone sideways start a startup using the know-how from the university. They looked at us and revealed if we were from somewhere in the Balkans and perhaps more from the East. This was not done for them, if one of them tried, they would end up in this community. On the other hand, they have transparent and simple rules for technology transfer. They don’t have as much binding legislation as the rest of us, and it works. Our problem is complex legislation, we have a law on universities, then public institutions, then public procurement and so on. Creating a legal branch of a university is a bit challenging and daring. Quaestors often argue that this is on the fringes of the law.

The investor does not put money into the idea until it breaks up into a separate entity, otherwise he has to inject money into the college. Anyone who has ever attended a school like this knows that it is a huge Moloch where half of the money is wasted in administration or other institutions.

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So, four years ago, my colleagues and I made a cross-sectional guide, inspired by, among other things, a methodology for marketing research results from Stanford. In the Czech conditions, we called it the decriminalization document, which said how an accidental operation could be carried out so that no one would be imprisoned. The concern, for example, was that it was a fortune for the school.


Of course, subview creation can be done completely legally. But not everyone always wants this. It had some effect, the side benefits appear more. But she needs help, I think it is necessary to change the legislation.


All of this is governed by the Research Support Act, which refers to traditional support through public tenders by a grant agency or institutional support given to universities or other institutions. But it does not have flexible mechanisms for more dynamic startup support.

The classic public tender is the fact that according to the law, a professional advisory body, a program, a program board must be established, there are certain deadlines, an assessment of formal standards must be made, then a professional assessment must be made and the professional bodies must meet. It takes half a year. It’s not her fault.

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