BIOCEV, a unique research centre bringing together six institutes of the Academy of Sciences and two Charles University faculties, and led by Pavel Martásek, is full of praise for co-operation with Israel. Pavel Martásek has many years of experience with scientific co-operation in molecular medicine. At the current time, BIOCEV is co-operating extensively with universities in Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Jerusalem and Beersheba.
“I see great potential in our co-operation with the university in Beersheba, and I look forward to being able to return to Israel once the pandemic is over and come to an agreement on specific current projects,” says Martásek. Like his other colleagues, Martásek has also been involved in establishing international publications. BIOCEV’s high level of research is also reflected in its approach to the latest cutting-edge procedures in the diagnosis and treatment of oncological, neurodegenerative and rare diseases.
To the question of whether institutes the size of the BIOCEV centre could take advantage of ČISOK’s planned service offering the sharing of information on specific projects and subsequent communication with selected Israeli business partners, Martásek responds: “I see further opportunities for co-operation in agricultural research. The influence of epigenetic factors on the nutrition of Bohemian Red Pied cattle, for example, is being researched. In this regard, Israeli cattle achieve one of the highest milk yields in the world. I also see potential for co-operation in the fields of food production, fishing and winemaking.”
“Incidentally, the true reciprocal nature of Czech-Israeli relations is also seen in the number of Israeli medical students who study and undertake research in the Czech Republic. I personally look forward to being able to visit Israel again. I travel to Israel very often, not just to visit partner universities, but also to get inspiration at the Biomed exhibition, one of the leading trade fairs for the life sciences,” adds Martásek.
Exceptional Czech-Israeli relations and co-operation with the Weizmann Institute of Science
Joel Sussman, who last year received an honorary doctorate from Charles University, is very much at home at the BIOCEV centre, as he is a member of its International Scientific Board. Sussman works at Israel’s prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS). “Weizmann” is considered by experts to be one of the best research institutes in the world for the natural sciences.
Delana Mikolášová, Czech Diplomat for Science in Israel adds: “I’m pleased that the Czech Academy of Sciences has had a co-operation agreement in place since 2017, which is manifested across many fields.” The agreement and the active scientific cooperation and exchange which arise from it testify not just to special Czech-Israeli relations, but also to the high quality of Czech science in general.
Bohdan Schneider, Director of the Institute of Biotechnology of the CAS, one of BIOCEV’s main partners and leader of the BIOCEV Structural Biology and Protein Engineering research programme, notes that even during the pandemic, young scientist Lucie Kolářová was able to travel and get involved in Gideon Schneider’s research group and continue in her research. Professor Schneider also points out that a group of scientists from the Weizmann Institute travelled to BIOCEV to test out its modern laboratory facilities. “Considering BIOCEV was opened in 2016, our facilities are amongst the best in the world. And not just our facilities, but also the success of our students, demonstrate that we have much to offer in the human resources field too. Our young scientists go back into the world not just with experience of cutting-edge scientific research within an international environment, but also with valuable contacts. When you’ve got good contacts in Israel, you’ve basically got them across the entire world.”
“I look forward to flying over to meet the students and being able to go through the details of their research, in person and on site. We need to work on publishing and the personal exchange of opinions and experience on site, and no technology can replace this in the long term. We regularly run scientific workshops and conferences with WIS, and I hope this year we will be able to welcome our Israeli colleagues here to Vestec in autumn.”
Vestec as a gateway (not just for Israel) to the EU
Petr Solil, BIOCEV Head of Communications and Spokesperson, emphasises that BIOCEV, like other exclusive centres in the so-called STAR region, can represent a gateway to the EU for Israeli students and scientists. “Along with BIOCEV in Vestec, our STAR region also includes the ELI Beamlines and HiLASE laser centres in nearby Dolní Břežany and cutting-edge biotechnology companies such as EXBIO, Vidia and DIANA Biotechnologies.” On the basis of the many years of experience that Petr has acquired, both at CzechInvest where he was behind the formation of the GESHER-MOST programme, and also as a ČISOK member of many years and Vice-Chair of its Editorial Board for Science and Research, he is well aware of how important it is to continue to focus on mutual relations, and to be able to offer Israel suitable projects for co-operative partnership.
The Czech-Israeli Mutual Chamber of Commerce’s role as mediator of new opportunities
“The Czech-Israeli Mutual Chamber of Commerce is aware that the number of mutual meetings and many scientific missions and specific results are not always well communicated. We have therefore taken on this project, which aims to raise the profile not just of ČISOK members, but also of other companies and organisations which are not members,” says ČISOK President, Pavel Smutný. “Our Chamber and its individual divisions are highly active. We are preparing to adapt our website so we can help to establish cooperation with Israeli partners for our companies, universities and other organisations, even at this time when in-person meetings are impossible, through a structured questionnaire in English. Let us develop Czech-Israeli relations further and make use of the firm foundations upon which they are built.”
For further information, you can contact Linda Štucbartová, member of the ČISOK Executive Board and also its head of Science, Research and Innovation.
By Linda Štucbartová
Source: ČISOK; editorially modified
Linda Štucbartová is an entrepreneur and founder of the Czech-Israeli Women Accelerator. In 2018 and 2019, she organised entrepreneurial missions to Israel for women. She is a member of the Czech-Israeli Mutual Chamber of Commerce and also heads its Science, Research and Innovation division. She is also a member of the Charles University Commercialisation Board, and an evaluator for the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. She has been involved in supporting women and linking academia and business for more than ten years. Her latest hobby is the Sebevědomá sebeobrana (Self-Confident Self-Defence) project.