A Science|Business Media Service - Bridging the East-West innovation gap
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Focus on central and eastern Europe

Welcome to a new edition of The Widening newsletter, a roundup of news and analysis on research and innovation policy and investments in central and eastern Europe, delivered to your inbox twice a month.  Sign up here. 

- By Florin Zubașcu | Executive Editor -

This week we’re examining the effect a series of high-profile plagiarism cases in Romania is having on the government’s attempts to lure members of its science diaspora back to the country. Then we take a look at how Czechia is trying to boost its potential for innovation, and how Polish universities are starting to make the best out of Horizon Europe.

The latest news

COPY-PASTE ACADEMIA: A long string of high-level plagiarism cases in Romania have damaged the reputation of academic institutions that are working very hard to attract back Romanian scientists from abroad. Researchers are not convinced the country can improve its scientific culture, with many deciding not to return home. Mădălina Cocea has the full story.

MORAVIAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP: The Czech region of South Moravia and its city of Brno are looking to take their innovation brand global after recently being named European Entrepreneurial Region 2024, a first for the country.  South Moravia’s recognition came for its efforts to create a “home for globally successful entrepreneurs.” For the region’s governor, Jan Grolich, this wider vision is important. Thomas Brent reports.

TEST BEFORE INVEST: A new innovation centre launched by the Czech Academy of Sciences will specialise in 3D printing technologies and related materials. The Academy hopes the new centre will connect scientists with industry and help SMEs trial prototypes before commercialisation. The full story is here.

POLISH COORDINATORS IN HORIZON EUROPE: Three social sciences projects that were successful in a recent call have Poland-based leaders. This is seen as a major breakthrough for the country, where researchers have preferred to be project partners not coordinators. Kozminski University is to coordinate a €3 million three-year project that will track the flow of talent and skills between EU member states and third countries. Read the story here.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY? We welcome opinion pieces and other contributions on R&I policy in central and eastern Europe. Send yours to

In other news

CZECH LINKS WITH JAPAN AND KOREA: Charles University of Prague is to expand cooperation with Japan and South Korea after a trip to the Asian countries organised by the Czech government in June. Chancellor Petra Štanclová said the university will strengthen partnerships in the science and higher education sectors.

NEW RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE: Czechia and Slovakia have joined a group of five western European countries to sign the founding charter of the European Solar Telescope (EST). The seven countries want to launch a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) that would give the science cooperation project some political oomph.

“The first phase of the EST project, which produced the preliminary design of the telescope, was funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme and was recently completed,” said Peter Gömöry, the director of the Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of sciences. “The establishment of the EST Foundation represents a crucial milestone in the further progress of the project towards the construction itself," he said.

BILATERAL PROJECT: Poland and Austria have announced the results of the latest joint call organised by the National Science Centre (NCN) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). The bilateral cooperation with Austria is part of the OPUS LAP programme aimed at setting bilateral research funding calls with research funders in Czechia, Slovenia, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The bilateral calls are designed along common guidelines aimed at facilitating the funding application process for international research teams and streamline proposal review.

NEW LEADERSHIP:  The Eötvös Loránd Research Network (ELKH) – soon to be called the Hungarian Research Network – has announced a slimmed down governing body. The research organisation will now transition its governing board from 13 to 9 members who will take on mandates of 6 years, with the aim to boost the international visibility of Hungarian science. The list of the new board members is available here

CALL FOR EVALUATORS: NCP_WIDERA.NET, the EU-funded project aimed at boosting the capacity of national contact points in low performing member states and associated countries is looking for evaluators who can help with pre-screening of Horizon Europe proposals. Candidates are required to have knowledge of the inner workings of Horizon Europe application procedures for Pillar II, EIC Pathfinder, Widening and the European Research Area.  More details here.

SOCIAL SCIENTSTS WANTED: Scholars can now apply for Visegrad Fellowships at the Open Society Archives in Budapest with research proposals focused studying the lessons of the Cold War. Apply here.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The DANUBE4all project is seeking five EU regions to associate in a cross-border project aimed at restoring freshwater ecosystems in the Danube basin. The deadline is 31 August. More details here.

Mark your calendars 

9 SEPTEMBER, KOŠICE: The 5th edition of the largest technology conference in Slovakia will take place this year in Košice and will focus on artificial intelligence. Sign up here.

26 SEPTEMBER, PRAGUE: A Science|Business Widening conference in partnership with Charles University. We will gather R&D leaders in the public and private sectors from Brussels and across the EU, who are eager to discuss how to bridge the east-west research and innovation gap in the next EU framework programme. Registration is open.

21-22 NOVEMBER, WARSAW: Horizon4Poland’23 is the country’s biggest matchmaking event for Horizon Europe applicants. It will bring together entrepreneurs and leading innovation institutions in Poland with counterparts from across Europe, with the aim of increasing cross-border cooperation in Horizon Europe competitions. More details here.

SCIENCE|BUSINESS CONFERENCE: Later this autumn, we will organise the annual Science|Business Widening conference. Location & date to be announced soon.  

Science|Business Widening group

Did you know that we held our first founding members group meeting of our Widening initiative in January, which led to successful discussions about the future of the community. You can find out more about becoming a member at this link.


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