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Czech university leaders seek closer relations with Brussels


Vice-rectors meet with EU officials in bid to help Czech universities find partners and funding

Almost two-dozen Czech university leaders have met with EU officials in Brussels as part of a visit organised to help them find partners for their institutions and better understand the funding opportunities available to them.

The Czech Liaison Office for Education and Research in Brussels (Czelo) arranged for 22 vice-rectors from 19 of the country’s universities to attend several meetings in the Belgian capital, in a bid to better acquaint them with the bloc’s research and higher education initiatives.

“We are aware of the need to help Czech universities get closer to the Brussels environment and we hope that we have succeeded in doing so,” said Lenka Procházková, head of the Czelo office, after the meetings on 23 October.

During the trip, the vice-rectors met the head of the higher education unit of the European Commission’s education directorate-general, Vanessa Debias-Sainton. According to Czelo, discussions mainly focused on the bloc’s scheme for financing cross-border collaboration between higher education institutions, the European Universities Initiative.

While at the education directorate-general, the vice-rectors also talked with EU officials about the current state and future of higher education in Europe, greater harmonisation across countries, and communication between universities and the Commission.

In a visit to the research and innovation directorate-general, the vice-rectors talked with EU officials about research careers, infrastructure and open science.

The Czech university leaders also met with Belgian counterparts to share experiences in internationalisation and supporting student mobility, and discussed the 2024 Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU member state governments.

According to Czelo, the vice-rectors also considered opportunities to collaborate with British institutions.