Science Gets Major Funding Boost in the Czech Republic

Dec 6, 2016 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Spending on research and development in the Czech Republic last year increased by a whopping 3.6 billion crowns, according to a report from the Prague Monitor Daily based on recently released data from the Czech Statistical Office (CSU). Just how much is being spent and where is it going? Here’s a closer look.

Spending and Number of Researchers Both Up

According to the CSU data, research and development expenditures grew by 4.2 percent year-over-year to reach 87 billion crowns. This spike also means the Czech Republic now outspends every other new EU member on science in relation to the science of its economy except for Slovenia.

The number of researcher employees increased accordingly with 100,000 people now working in the field.

Where is the Money Going?

The Czech Republic is now home to more than 2,800 research centers -- primarily within the higher education sector. In particular, the country’s South Moravia region is booming thanks to several centers of excellence as well as businesses with rapidly growing research components.

More than half of this research is paid for by the companies themselves, while a third comes from the state. The EU provides the remaining funds.

One last newsworthy note from the CSU? Foreign companies in the Czech Republic spend more than their domestic counterparts.

Czech’s higher education sector has a rich history, and is the site of Central Europe’s oldest academic institution, Prague’s Charles University.

The Czech Republic has also been one of the region’s most successful countries in terms of attracting foreign investors with STEM a significant draw due to the Czech Republic’s large population of science, engineering and technology grads. In fact, the World Bank ranked it 36th in the world in terms of “Ease of Doing Business,” while Site Selection Global Report 2016 gave the Czech Republic “Global Best to Invest” top honors for Central and Eastern Europe.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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