Roundtable on the topic: "Proposals for improving science, research and higher education in Slovakia"

On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, a roundtable was held at the Slovak University of Technology on the topic: “Proposals for the Improvement of Science, Research and Higher Education in Slovakia”. The event was organized by the rectors of 4 research universities (STU, UK, TUKE, UPJŠ), chairman of SAS and chairman of the Learned Society of Slovakia and attended by top representatives of state administration, experts and representatives of political parties (SMER-SD, Mosthíd, PS / TOTAL, SaS, Za ľudí, Oľano, Dobrá voľba), experts in government policy and also representatives of employers and top innovative companies in Slovakia.

The aim of the meeting was to introduce and get acquainted with solutions and proposed measures as considered by individual participants of the meeting - key actors in the field of science policy in Slovakia.

At the beginning of the meeting Professor Peter Moczo, Chairman of the Learned Society of Slovakia, presented the main starting points for improving science, research and higher education. He identified the situation as very serious and identified the sources of problems on two basic levels:

  1. The state has not substantially improved its relationship and support for science, research and education.

He mentioned three main issues in this area: the outdated (2005) State Science Policy Act, the absence of regular international audit of research results and the overall low financial support for science, research and education and its poor distribution (also influenced by local political and economic interests).

  1. On the whole and on average (there are also some exceptions), scientists have not made order in their scientific community.

He mentioned three main problems in this area: oversized, atomized and non-stratified / non-diversified university network, feigning of scientific quality and the application of egalitarianism and not creating a healthy competitive and motivating environment.

This view and the distribution of the set of causes of the critical state was accepted with understanding by the round table participants.

Subsequently, participants in the discussion discussed suggestions for improving the situation. Peter Moczo presented the proposals of Learned Society, representatives of the political parties presented the proposals they bring in their programs, and the experts brought the full spectrum of other proposals for action.

In particular, the main areas for improvement were:

  • The need for greater internationalization of science, research and higher education
  • The need for regular audit of scientific achievements
  • The need for stratification / diversification of universities, targeted support for excellence and the setting up of incentive schemes through the diversification of university funding in Slovakia
  • The need for efficient and transparent use of Eurofunds
  • The need for a long-term funding concept for institutions, grant agencies and scientific projects and an increase in the volume of competitive funding for science and research
  • The need for incentive schemes to better link the focus of graduates with regard to the needs of social and economic practice.

 The discussion was held on an extremely constructive level and there were a number of conceptual and partial proposals for measures. In conclusion, the participants agreed that:

  1. The topic of improving the situation in science, research and higher education is urgent, requiring changes in approach and bold solutions.
  2. For a coordinated approach, communication flows between different actors in science policy need to be improved and maintained.
  3. The key to improvement is an agreement on the long-term concept of funding for science, research and higher education.
  4. Science and research has the potential to become a decisive factor for the successful transformation of the economic model in Slovakia towards greater competitiveness in international competition.

Posledná aktualizácia: 04.02.2020