The CAS suspends or ends scientific activities in Russia and Belarus
03. 03. 2022
As a reaction to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian and Belarusian troops and the unprecedented violation of international law, the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) will terminate or suspend contracts of scientific collaboration with institutions from the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. It will also stop all other scientific activities realized by any of the 54 CAS institutes until further notice.
According to the Academy Council Presidium, it is now unacceptable to collaborate with institutions from countries that do not respect the fundamental values of the civilised world.
“Restoring these relations will only be possible once Russia and Belarus cease the unwarranted aggression and once they try to resolve the conflict by peaceful means,” says Eva Zažímalová, the President of the CAS.
The CAS institutes have connections with the Russian Federation through more than fifty scientific projects and activities as well as two collaborations with the Republic of Belarus.
Termination or suspension of projects
The Czech Academy of Sciences unites 54 self-governing public research performing institutes. “It is left to the sole discretion of the management of the individual institutes whether they will fully terminate existing collaborations or freeze them temporarily, more precisely suspend activities based on existing contracts,” says David Honys, the Academy Council member in charge of coordinating international cooperation of the CAS.
“Scientists and scholars of the CAS cannot remain silent in the face of a war conflict on the territory of Europe. We stand on the side of respect for human rights, freedoms, and democracy. We condemn the acts of Russian aggression against the territorial integrity and political order of Ukraine,” the Czech Academy of Sciences said in an earlier statement.
A coordinated response across Czech institutions
On Tuesday, 1 March, the President of the CAS, Eva Zažímalová, attended a meeting with the Czech Minister of Science, Research, and Innovation, Helena Langšádlová, the Czech Minister of Education, Petr Gazdík, and representatives of the Czech Rectors Conference, the Council of the Higher Education Institutions and its Student Chamber, the Czech Science Foundation, the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, the Association of Research Organisations, and the Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences. At a follow-up meeting on Thursday, 3 March, they agreed to adopt a unified stance.
The statement expresses the intention of the institutions to inform scientists, scholars, students, and educators who are and will be among the refugees from Ukraine about employment and education opportunities in the Czech Republic. This will be communicated via a web portal that is being created in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. Ukrainian researchers will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of projects funded by the Czech Science Foundation and the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic.
In light of the current aggression of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, the participants of the meeting are issuing a recommendation to all Czech research institutions to suspend or terminate institutional forms of cooperation with Russian and/or Belarusian research institutions.
“On the other hand, we consider it appropriate and important to maintain certain contacts on an individual basis with those in Russian or Belarusian scientific and research institutions who have publicly taken a stand against the totally unjustifiable invasion – for instance, in this open letter. It makes sense to support them on a personal level and to build bridges of information where it is possible to build upon trust and a time-proven working relationship. We are aware of the need to avoid applying the principle of collective guilt to scientists, educators, and students from Russia and Belarus. These individuals should not be punished for the current situation solely on the basis of their nationality,” as was stated in the closing remarks of the meeting.
Text: Czech Academy of Sciences
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The Czech Academy of Sciences (the CAS)
The mission of the CAS
The primary mission of the CAS is to conduct research in a broad spectrum of natural, technical and social sciences as well as humanities. This research aims to advance progress of scientific knowledge at the international level, considering, however, the specific needs of the Czech society and the national culture.
President of the CAS
Prof. Eva Zažímalová has started her second term of office in May 2021. She is a respected scientist, and a Professor of Plant Anatomy and Physiology.
She is also a part of GCSA of the EU.