Sympathy and solidarity – Presidents of Visegrad Academies issue joint declaration at Budapest meeting in support of Ukrainian people, scientists and science, condemning Russia’s military aggression

The Visegrad Group Academies Forum held its annual meeting at the Headquarters of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on 26-27 May 2022. The focus of the two-day meeting was on the success of European Research Council (ERC) grants, the V4 academies’ uniformly outstanding epidemiological research and communication activities, help for Ukraine, young researcher initiatives, and cooperation in the use of European-level research infrastructures and in the application of advanced therapy medicinal products. At the forum, the academy presidents issued a joint statement on the aggression against Ukraine and support for Ukrainian scientists.

2022. május 31.

The heads of the academies of the Visegrad countries have met informally every year since 1999 to discuss current issues and strategies affecting science and their institutions.

This year, the meeting of the heads of the Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian and Polish academies of sciences took place in Budapest. The two-day meeting focused on the leading role of regional academies in the fight against the coronavirus, the broadest possible involvement of young researchers in academic programmes, and the support provided by the national academies in hosting researchers fleeing Ukraine and preserving Ukrainian scientific and cultural values. The unanimous position statement of the academy presidents on this subject can be found at the end of this article.

At the meeting the regional academy leaders and their guests presented in separate sessions their initiatives to make better use of large European research infrastructures, as well as the latest results in the application of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs).

This year’s forum also included a workshop discussion on improving the effectiveness of participating in European Research Council (ERC) grant schemes.

Click on the photo to see a photo gallery Photo: / Tamás Szigeti

In line with the more than 20-year tradition of cooperation among the Visegrad academies, the annual meeting also hosts the V4 academies’ young researcher awards, which this year were open to young researchers from the Visegrad countries on the theme of “Prevention and treatment of health damage caused by the Covid-19 disease”.

At the end of the conference, the presidents of the four academies agreed to act together to achieve common goals between the two meetings, and asked Tamás Freund, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, to coordinate these actions and statements until the next meeting.

Statement of Visegrad Group Academies Forum on the military aggression against Ukraine and the support for Ukrainian scientists

The Visegrad Group Academies Forum, during its annual meeting in Budapest, 27th of May 2022, agreed on the following statement.

Visegrad Group Academies express their profound sympathy and solidarity for the suffering population of Ukraine.

Visegrad Group Academies do their best to take part in the support of refugees escaping from war, particularly members of the Ukrainian scientific community and their families. Our academies condemn both the Russian aggressor and the crimes against humanity committed.

Visegrad Group Academies are convinced that the only way to stop the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe and to ensure Ukraine’s territorial, educational, cultural, religious, scientific, and economic integrity is an immediate ceasefire and military retreat of the agressor.

Visegrad Group Academies express their common hope and offer their support that the scientists and artists, along with other refugees of Ukraine return to their homeland and continue their invaluable work towards new scientific achievements and the universal goals of science in peace and dignified conditions.

Jerzy Duszyński, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Tamás Freund, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Pavol Sajgalík, President of the Slovak Academy of Sciences
Peter Štih, President of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Eva Zažímalová, President of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Please find the detailed programme of the event and the presentations availbale for download below.

Visegrad Group Academies Forum - Program

ERC workshop co-organized with the ERC Executive Agency (ERCEA) an event within the Visegrad Group Academies Forum
26-27 May, 2022, Budapest

Introductory lecture by Philippe Cupers (ERCEA Head of Unit “Life Sciences”)

  • ERC funding opportunities in Horizon Europe
  • Statistics of performance in ERC calls of widening countries, including V4 countries
  • ERC initiatives for increasing participation of 'widening countries': the 'ERC Visiting Fellowship Programme' & the 'ERC Mentoring Initiative'
  • Q & A
  • [Presentation - PDF]

Best practices in V4+ countries, at research institutions and universities, mentoring activities of young academies offered for early-career researchers

  • Presentations in 5-10 minutes each on institutional support strategies to enhance performance in ERC calls:
    • Jan Vondráček, Member of the Academy Council of the Czech Academy of Sciences [Presentation - PDF]
    • András Stipsicz, Director of Rényi Alfréd Institute of Mathematics, ELKH Hungary [Presentation - PDF]
    • Zuzana Hrabovská, Project Manager, Department of Science and Research, Slovak Academy of Sciences [Presentation - PDF]
    • Paweł Rowiński, Vice-President, Polish Academy of Sciences [Presentation - PDF]
  • Young Academy of Europe’s mentoring activities related to ERC grant applications

Moderated open discussion

moderated by Éva Kondorosi, Member of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of the European Commission; Former Vice-President of the European Research Council
discussion with special focus on career development strategies for early-career researchers

Opening of the V4+ Forum

Tamás Freund, President of MTA

Presentations on current situation and activities of the V4+ academies

Their role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic situation Their role in supporting the academic society of Ukraine

Moderated by: Tamás Freund, President of MTA

Presentations by:

Large research infrastructures

Moderated by Jiří Plešek, Member of the Academy Council responsible for coordination and development of Strategy AV21 programmes and activities, Czech Academy of Sciences

  • “Research Infrastructures: Backbone of R&I in the EU and the Czech Republic” Jiří Plešek, member of the Academy Council of CAS [Presentation - PDF]
  • “Large Research Infrastructures: The Hungarian Approach” –Zsolt Fülöp, President of the National Research Infrastructure Committee, Hungary [Presentation - PDF]

Advanced Therapy Medical Products (ATMP)

Moderated and presented by Robert Zorec, Vice-President of SASA; University of Ljubljana, Medical Faculty, Institute of Pathophysiology & Celica Biomedical, Technology Park, Ljubljana

  • „Future Medicines are Precision Medicines: personalized versus targeted medicines.” – Robert Zorec, Vice-President of SASA; University of Ljubljana, Medical Faculty, Institute of Pathophysiology & Celica Biomedical, Technology Park, Ljubljana
  • „Regenerative medicine to cure Type 1 diabetes: progress globally and in the iNanoBIT H2020 project” – András Dinnyés, BioTalentum Ltd; HCEMM-University of Szeged, StemCell Research Group Hungary [Presentation - PDF]
  • „From membrane fusion to treatment of prostate cancer with personalised cell-based immunohybridoma cells” – Helena H. Chowdhury, University of Ljubljana, Medical Faculty, Institute of Pathophysiology & Celica Biomedical, Technology Park, Ljubljana

Presentation of the V4 Young Researcher Award

Prize ceremony and presentations of the winners:

Ivana Víšová – Czech Republic [Presentation - PDF]

Szabina Erdő-Bonyár – Hungary [Presentation - PDF]

Paweł Zmora – Poland [Presentation - PDF]

Kristína Boršová – Slovakia [Presentation - PDF]

Presentation of the Certificate of Honorary Membership of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to Eva Zažímalová, Professor of Plant Anatomy and Physiology, President of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Support for and involvement of young researchers in the activities of national science academies

Moderated by: László Kollár, Secretary-General of MTA

  • Opening remarks by: László Kollár, Secretary-General of MTA
  • Presentation of the two V4+ Young Academies (the Polish Young Academy and the Hungarian Young Academy):
  • Presentations by Academies (CAS, SAS, SASA) on possible new initiatives
    • CAS: Ondřej Beránek, Vice-President, Vice President for the Humanities and Social Sciences [Presentation - PDF]
    • SAS: Zuzana Panczová, Tomáš Hromádka, Deputy Vice President for International Relations [Presentation - PDF]
    • SASA: Peter Štih, President
  • Presentation on the activities of the Young Academy of Europe
  • Strengthening the voice of Early Career Researchers in European science-for-policy (Young Academies Science Advice Structure, YASAS and SAPEA+):
  • Discussions

New International Visegrad Fund founding opportunities in research and innovation

  • Marianna Neupauerová, Deputy Executive Director, International Visegrad Fund

“Academia Europaea Budapest Hub” event

Moderated by Csaba Pléh, Co-Chair of the AE Budapest Hub [Presentation - PDF]

Introduction of the 4 thematic missions

Closing remarks: László Kollár, Secretary-General of MTA