EC to finance elite bio-research center near Prague

The European Commission has already approved a CZK 2,3 mil (EUR 90mil) grant

EC to finance elite bio-research center near Prague

By 2015, the Czech Republic will have an elite research center employing 600 people.

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The European Commission (EC) has already approved a CZK 2,300mil (EUR 90mil) grant for the construction of the BIOCEV biotechnology center in Vestec u Prahy, a municipality near the Czech Republic’s capital.

Yearly costs of the center in full operation are estimated at CZK 400-500mil (approx EUR 16-20mil). However, only one third of these costs are going to be covered by non-public sources, such as international grants.

At this stage, it is still not fully clear who will provide the remaining CZK 350mil (EUR 14mil). It will probably come from national grants, partner institutions such as Prague’s Charles University or Academy of Sciences and eventually also from licenses and patents.

The project forms part of a broader government program (called Research and Development for Innovations Operational Programme) aimed at increasing the Czech Republic’s competitiveness.

Eighty-five percent of the program’s budget comes from the EU Regional Development Fund, the rest is provided by the Czech government budget.

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The Czech Republic will have six so-called European centers of excellence, comprised of projects that has received more than EUR 50mil from the EC.

This month, the EC approved the last two Czech projects that had applied for the grant.

The center will focus on research of different genes and their role in various errors of metabolism, liver defects, diabetes and other diseases, or biological analysis of tumor cells and viruses.

In addition, the center’s scientists will research the structure of various biomolecules that can be used in diagnosing diseases or develop new biomaterials suitable to replace damaged body parts.

The planned development of new medical and diagnostic approaches with focus on “tailor-made drugs” can have significant clinical effect.

BIOCEV will also try to attract foreign top brains by offering high-quality facility and salaries at least partially comparable to the West. For example, the scientific director of the center will have a monthly salary of EUR 4-8,000. 

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The Czech Republic has solicited EC grants for six large research centers – so far, the Commission has approved five of them, including the “super-laser” ELI.

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