Largest Research Event of Czech EU Presidency Concludes in Brno
Over 500 scientists and other experts from across the world attended. Photo credit: Muni.cz.
Brno, Oct 24 (BD) – The International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI) 2022, the largest research-focused event of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, concluded in Brno on Friday, 21 October. Over 500 scientists and other experts from all over the world attended the event, and more than 600 more took part online.
One of the themes of this year’s event was openness, and for the first time in its history, the conference also offered a programme for the general public, during which visitors could meet some of the world’s leading academics in person and learn about their work in a non-traditional, informal setting. The conference ended with the Brno Declaration on Research Infrastructures, supported by the European Commission and member states. It emphasised the importance of research infrastructure to society and encouraged the growth of a global ecosystem of research infrastructures.
“The conference came to Brno thanks to the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which gives our country more weight on the international scene, and also by South Moravia’s reputation in the field of science and research,” said Ondřej Hradil from Masaryk University, the main organiser of the conference. “The Czech Republic has a very good reputation in the field of research infrastructure. We are an example for other countries. This has also played a role.”
Research infrastructures aspire to be an official part of the European Union’s critical infrastructure. Their contribution was demonstrated during the recent coronavirus pandemic, when many Brno research facilities made a significant contribution to the understanding of the new virus. Pierre Delsaux, who heads the newly created European Office for Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, talked at the conference about preparation for future emergencies. This will help Europe respond to other possible threats more quickly and effectively than it did with COVID-19.
Experts also addressed other topical issues, including the role of science and research infrastructure in a world facing global challenges. Some of the discussion touched on the current energy crisis, and at the end of the conference, one of the newer EU-SOLARIS research infrastructures focused on developing solar-thermal technologies was launched.
The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which is responsible for the research agenda, including Minister Vladimír Balas and Deputy Minister Václav Velčovský, who also highlighted research infrastructures as a tool for diplomacy and international cooperation. The officials pledged that research and research infrastructures will remain one of the priorities of the Czech government. Many contributors to the conference reiterated that contemporary science is a field that knows no borders, and the principle of sharing, embodied by research infrastructures, is fundamental.