Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University agreed on further cooperation within the BIOCEV center
Two of the largest research and education institutions will continue collaborating in the BIOCEV research centre located in Vestec u Prahy. Six directors of institutes of the Czech Academy of Science and the Rector of Charles University confirmed this today with their signatures placed on a partnership agreement. This marks the continuation of a more than ten-year-long collaboration that has resulted in several important outcomes. Among them are the discovery of an effective anti-cancer substance, new antibiotics, and innovative methods to increase the success of IVF . The BIOCEV centre has also played an important role during the current coronavirus situation by testing over 8,500 samples from hospitals and retirement homes.
The Biotechnology and Biomedicine Centre BIOCEV is a joint project of six institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences (the Institute of Molecular Genetics, the Institute of Biotechnology, the Institute of Microbiology, the Institute of Physiology, the Institute of Experimental Medicine and the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry) and two faculties from Charles University in Prague (the Faculty of Science and the First Faculty of Medicine).
Thanks to the centre, Czech and foreign experts on biomedicine, virology, parasitology, genetics, tissue engineering, molecular biology, and medicinal chemistry are able to come together under one roof. More than 800 researchers and students work in 56 groups, divided into five research programmes. Almost one-third of the employees are foreigners. The results of their research focus on the development of new drugs and therapeutic methods against the most serious illnesses.
The BIOCEV Centre has repeatedly won prestigious European and national grants. In 2020, the total sum has amounted to almost one billion Czech crowns. The operating expenses for 2019 were approximately CZK 700 million. Since the project’s beginning, 942 research papers have been published, and 37 patents, prototypes and applications have been approved.
The cutting-edge technology and the most modern instrumentation at BIOCEV also include the research infrastructure of the Czech Centre for Phenogenomics (CCP). One of the largest workplaces of its kind in Europe, it specializes in genetic engineering during animal model creation that is used by the international research community. The fact that CCP is part of a global consortium whose ambitious goal is to describe the functions of all mammal genes is very prestigious for the Czech Republic. The resulting “atlas” can help to find more effective treatments for human diseases.
BIOCEV offers a unique learning environment to students of all levels ranging from secondary schools to PhD students, which is attractive not only in the Czech Republic, but also on an international scale . Students who have worked or participated in research at BIOCEV workplaces can easily find jobs in their specialisation, both in the Czech Republic and abroad.
“Thanks to the unique connection between research programmes and projects supported by a robust research infrastructure, and with its size and the complementarity of the research programmes, BIOCEV has been able to respond to global challenges and has combined the collaboration among its research teams with leading research organisations and European research infrastructures,” says Pavel Martásek, Director of BIOCEV, and adds: “BIOCEV has integrated its research projects and created an interdisciplinary approach; it has intensified collaboration between the Academy of Sciences and Charles University, it creates conditions for establishing new research groups and supports the internationalisation of the research environment. In this respect, BIOCEV helps to create not only stable conditions for the long-term development of quality research centres in the Czech Republic, but also contributes to the socio-economic development of the Czech Republic.”
“In 2012, the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Centre launched its operations with a gala ceremony. Our goal was to make sure that this more than two-billion investment from European and national funds pays off not only in the Czech Republic, but brings benefits to the entire world. In hindsight, it is obvious that the investment has paid off. Today, 484 researchers with different workloads work at the centre and the infrastructure is used by 335 Master’s and postgraduate students every year. More than fifty research groups focus on detailed analyses of organisms at the molecular level. The results of their work are oriented towards applied research and the development of new medical procedures to combat severe health problems. The end results of BIOCEV’s research work include drugs targeted at the exact location of damaged metabolism and protein and tissue engineering. I am truly happy that our collaboration will continue and BIOCEV will remain among the top research biomedicine centres in the future, bringing new findings into the pool of human knowledge,” said Rector of Charles University Tomáš Zima.
“What I see as being very positive is that six institutes of the Academy of Sciences and two faculties of Charles University have managed to agree. The amazing connection between research in biotechnology and biomedicine that brings specific results will continue at BIOCEV,” emphasized Eva Zažímalová, the President of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.