Technology Agency of the Czech Republic
Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR) was established by the law No. 130/2002 and No. 110/2002. The primary objective of TA CR is a support of applied research, experimental development and innovation in the Czech Republic in compliance with the legal system of the Czech Republic as well as with legal norms of the European Union. The creation of TA CR is a part of fundamental R&D reform in the Czech Republic. One of key features of the reform is a redistribution of financial support from the national budget of the Czech Republic.
One of objectives of the reform is the simplification of the national R&D support system. According to this reform, national financial resources for R&D were removed from some of Czech governmental sectors led by their respective ministries. The finances were directed to the functional budget of the newly established Technology Agency. Therefore, the first R&D support programmes of TA CR had to be focused on advanced prospective technologies generally and specifically on R&D and innovation needs in sectors of transport, energy, and environment which had lost their R&D budget first. Also, the Technology Agency CR is very closely communicating and cooperating with all ministries and other governmental organizations relevant to its core focus in applied research, experimental development and innovation. Another important objective of first Technology Agency´s programmes is to stimulate cooperation between R&D institutions and the industry what is a challenging issue in most of European countries.
Main tasks assigned to the Technology Agency by the Government of Czech Republic are:
- preparation and realization of its own programmes of applied research, experimental development and innovation; and realization of programmes from those governmental departments without public financial support for,
- evaluation and selection of programme proposals,
- administration of functional financial support of applied research from the national budget,
- control of a fulfillment of project contracts,
- evaluation of fulfillment of programmes´ objectives and control of their results,
- counseling (legal, financial and IPR) of programmes and projects of applied research, experimental development and innovation,
- communication support between research organizations and the private sector,
- negotiations with institutions in the Czech Republic and the European Union in terms of permitted public support of applied research and innovation, and
- cooperation with similar foreign institutions.
The Technology Agency CR is, after the reform, one of cornerstones of the Czech research and innovation support system. In general, national public funds dedicated to support of science, research and innovation (excluding some specialized research like for example research supported by the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense) will be centralized and distributed by only several organizations: Technology agency CR (applied research and innovation), Grant agency CR (basic research), Ministry of education, youth and sports (international cooperation in research), and the Academy of Sciences CR.
The Technology agency CR is and will be gradually building its central position in the Czech support system of applied research, experimental development and innovation in next 3-5 years. From the date it was established, TA CR creates extensive network of contacts to individuals and organizations active in R&D and innovation field, enhancing its competence, and strengthening relations to strategic partners in the Czech Republic and abroad. Significance of the Technology agency in the system and high expectations related to its establishment are indicated for example by the budget of TA CR that is going to grow significantly in next years: from 2 million EUR in 2010 (only operational funds for TA CR) to 35 million EUR in 2011 (operational funds for TA CR and funds to be distributed through TA CR programmes) and to 85 million EUR in 2012. Of course, these concrete numbers are subject to changes of the national budget but they clearly show the priority given to the Technology agency CR in the national research and innovation support system.
The organization structure of TA CR includes:
- President of the Technology Agency CR (the head of Presidium bearing the biggest responsibility for decisions and performance of the Agency)
- Presidium of the Technology Agency CR (the main executive body of the Technology Agency CR)
- Office of TA CR led by its Director (responsible for all organizational and administrative activities and supporting all the executive bodies of the agency)
- Research Board (12 members that should be appointed by newly established Czech government soon and their term lasts 4 years)
- Controlling Board (10 experts appointed by the Parliament of the Czech Republic for 4 years; the selection process is ongoing)
- Sectoral Committees – “steering committees” of individual programmes that are being established during the process of creation new programmes. Based on external evaluations they prepare the list of project proposals that should be supported and propose it to the Presidium. They also monitor meeting the objectives of ongoing supported projects and evaluate meeting of overall objectives of the programme they are responsible for.
The first programme (programme of public competition) created and realized by the Technology Agency CR is called ALFA (ALPHA). It is the programme supporting projects of applied research and experimental development and stimulating increased intensity and effectiveness of research cooperation of businesses and research organizations. The programme has been approved for the period from 2011 till 2016 and there were three calls expected – in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Estimated overall budget of the programme is aprox. 450 million EUR with estimated public support of 65% (aprox. 290 million EUR). Each project has to be co-financed at least at level of 20%.
The programme ALFA contains of three subprogrammes:
- Progressive technologies, materials and systems (support of enabling technologies applicable in multiple industries)
- Energy resources, and creation and protection of environment (renewable resources of energy, protection of ecosystems, environmentally friendly technologies)
- Sustainable development of transportation (development of infrastructure, telematics, and energy efficient, environmentally friendly and safe transportation)
First call of the programme ALFA ended on 24 May 2010. Altogether 657 project proposals were received by the Office of TA CR. After the check of formal requirements (made by the Office) the evaluation made by two external experts per each project proposal is undergoing.
Other programmes under development
The Technology agency is currently working on two other programmes. First of them is a programme of public competition supporting applied socio-economic research in a broad sense. The programme is approved for period 2012 – 2016. Its budget is much smaller, only a little over 2 million EUR for the first year. Focus is put on:
- optimization of processes of governance and forming of legal and political system, including common policy of the EU,
- creation of environment for qualitative and quantitative development of human potential applicable in knowledge society,
- strengthening of competitiveness of Czech society in the international context, and
- creation of information and data base for modeling of socio-economic development of Czech Republic in the international context.
The other one is programme of public tenders in research, development and innovation required by organizations included in the national governance system. Like the previous programme, this one is a smaller one with the budget of aprox. 4 million EUR allocated for the first year. The programme is approved for the period 2012 – 2016 too. Its main objective is the creation and analysis of new multifaceted systematic decisions, integrated systems, rules and norms, and implementation of new information tools and infractructur.
The last programme which is just being considered by executive bodies of the Technology Agency CR is Programme supporting excellent Czech centres of applied research. Details are not to be communicated as the programme idea is just in its initial phases.
Dr. Karel Klusáček, MBA Dr. Petr Hladík
Technology Agency CR Office of TA CR
Tel.: +420 234 006 128 Tel.:+420 234 006 169
Technology Agency of the Czech Republic