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The Association of Research Universities of the Czech Republic (AVUni) had seven members to date. The University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice has joined this grouping of elite domestic higher education institutions. The signing ceremony of the relevant documents took place today at Masaryk University in Brno.

A snapshot picture from the accession of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice to the Association of Research Universities of the Czech Republic (AVUni). Pictured from the left: rector of the Brno University of Technology Ladislav Janíček, rector of the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague Milan Pospíšil, rector of Charles University Milena Králíčková, rector of the University of South Bohemia Pavel Kozák, rector of Masaryk University and chairman of AVUni Martin Bareš, rector of Czech Technical University in Prague Vojtěch Petráček and rector of Palacký University in Olomouc Martin Procházka. Picture by Jitka Janů, Masaryk University

AVUni was established five years ago with the aim of strengthening the national higher education ecosystem to best match international standards. It covers all areas of university education, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering. Its members are Masaryk University, Charles University, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Technical University in Prague, Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, Brno University of Technology and now also the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. These seven educational institutions are also the backbone of Czech higher education, they are usually the nation's top-ranked institutions, providing education for more than 50% of all university students in the Czech Republic and more than 75% of all PhD students in the Czech Republic, and they also achieve the best results in international grant competitions, for example.

"If we want to move Czech higher education and science forward in our country, we need to go down the path of increasing quality and demands on all of us, with an emphasis on international competitiveness. We live in a global and open world, so the only truly relevant mirror of our performance and quality is the comparison with the developed foreign world. And here, as the Czech Republic, we really still have a lot of catching up to do in many respects. That is why I am glad that the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice is now expanding our ranks, because it is an institution whose main goal, in addition to providing quality education, is also to conduct excellent science," said Martin Bareš, Rector of Masaryk University and Chairman of the Association of Research Universities of the Czech Republic, with an addendum, that only the members of AVUni have so far received virtually all the grants intended for the Czech Republic by European Research Council, the leading European institution for funding cutting-edge research and development, among all public universities in the country. "It is very similar in the case of the highly prestigious Horizon 2020 and now Horizon Europe grants, where our members have received EUR 302 million in support of science and research in the Czech Republic between 2014 and 2024. This is more than 80% of all the funds that all public universities in the Czech Republic have managed to obtain from these sources, which indicates the really high quality of these schools," Bareš added.

The new member of AVUni, the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, is a multidisciplinary university consisting of eight faculties, where about nine thousand students study in more than 230 accredited programmes. It profiles itself as a research institution with an orientation towards natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. It actively cooperates with hundreds of universities and other research organisations around the world, among others thanks to its two unique research infrastructures, the South Bohemian Research Centre for Aquaculture and Biodiversity of Hydrocenoses CENAKVA in Vodňany and the Josef Svoboda Czech Arctic Research Station in Spitsbergen. "I am convinced that quality education and excellent science are connected vessels, where one cannot go without the other. I believe that the connection with similarly oriented and high-quality universities in AVUni will benefit not only our university, but will also help Czech higher education as a whole to increase the quality of education and social relevance in the long term," concluded the Rector of the University of South Bohemia Pavel Kozák.

Courtesy of: Masaryk University