AV21 Strategy

The mission of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) is top research focused on problems and challenges of contemporary society. Topics such as the energetic future of the Czech Republic, the health of its citizens, artificial intelligence, or quality of public policies present complex areas of problems whose solution requires wide interdisciplinary research, both basic and applied.

The strategy of the Czech Academy of Sciences responds to current social challenges through a sophisticated formulation of research programmes, based on cooperation of scientific fields and institutions. The basic programme framework of Strategy AV21 was accepted by the Academy Assembly in December 2014. The research programmes of the CAS are open to partners from universities, corporations, and institutions of regional administration, as well as foreign research groups and organisations. The research programmes are proposed and formulated in the discussion of the leadership of the CAS with directors of the institutes with regard to trends in global science, the social relevance of the research, and National Priorities of Oriented Research.

Mankind has always been shaped by the availability of energy in its various forms. Energy is so vital to us that without reliable and sufficient energy supplies we will lose many modern civilization benefits that we consider inherent. The annual worldwide energy consumption is about 580 mil. TJ. The largest part of the energy is consumed by industry and transport.

The main source of energy is still fossil fuels with about 83% of the total energy production. The share of renewable energy increases, however, it is still only around 15%. With increasing energy consumption the situation is unsustainable. Fossil fuel sources are limited and emissions arising from combustion may have a fatal impact on our planet in the foreseeable future. Thus, new factors are entering the game and we can expect a major transition from the energy sector to sustainability in the next decades. The legislative framework for this transition is determined by the FIT FOR 55 package of the European Green Deal – the EU’s commitment to climate neutrality by 2050.

Production, transport, storage, and use of energy is a complex system whose understanding requires knowledge of many disciplines. The ongoing changes may have considerable socio-economic impacts stemming from risks of instability and unavailability of energy supply, high energy prices, or threats to international political cohesion. The proposed program combines the knowledge of the CAS institutes and external partners in natural, technical, and social sciences to address interdisciplinary research challenges and to study the impact of the upcoming transition on society.

The program covers key areas associated with the transition to sustainable energy systems. Renewable and nuclear power sources offer low-emission solutions to primary energy needs. New solutions for thermonuclear fusion are necessary and we must ensure the safety of existing nuclear power plants with fission reactors. The intermittency of energy production from renewables and the ongoing decentralization of production create demand for energy storage to an unprecedented extent. Hydrogen can play a significant role as it is considered a major future source of energy for transportation. The effect of energy utilization of fuels on the environment must be minimized. Progress in these areas requires support and acceptance by the public. Therefore, the program aims to popularization of the topics and dissemination of the results in the education sector.

Web pages of the program Sustainable Energy


At the national level, the Foods for the Future research program aims to contribute to securing sufficient amounts of quality food. At the global level, it strives to use the potential of Czech science to help developing countries. The program responds to one of the most important challenges of the present, i.e. securing enough food for an ever-increasing world population.

Increasing agricultural production under ecologically sustainable conditions without damaging the environment will require the cultivation of new types of crops that are resistant to diseases and pests and provide higher yields under changing climate conditions without any negative impacts on nutritional quality. The effectiveness of crop improvement can be increased by using methods of molecular biology and genomics, which can identify plants bearing the required genes in the early growth stage so that there is no need to wait for expensive and time-consuming field trials.

Intensive agricultural production has resulted in the worsening of the condition of agricultural soil and in its degradation. If the production is to remain unthreatened, it is necessary to quickly analyze the current situation and propose the necessary measures. Another step necessary to guarantee sufficient amounts of food involves limiting losses throughout the chain – from production through distribution and on to the consumer, and also limiting food waste in general. Food production by consumers themselves may also play an important role. As far as the production of foods of animal origin is concerned, molecular methods will make it possible to breed farm animals with new characteristics. Some have already achieved a better level of protection against serious illnesses and stress, and generally have greater resilience.

Web pages of the program Foods for the Future

Water is a basic prerequisite for the existence of life, an essential factor in the environment, a key natural resource, and an irreplaceable input in most economic branches. Any unsuitable intervention in the cycle or quality of water could cause a chain of serious consequences, which in extreme cases could end in the irreversible loss of some water resources. These resources are currently exposed to significant pressure due to ongoing climate change, unsuitable water management in the landscape, as well as increasing amounts of chemicals in the environment. As a result, it is highly unlikely that their abundance and quality will be preserved for future generations if the necessary measures are not implemented. For these reasons, an interdisciplinary, coordinated, and science-based approach to water management is highly important. The protection of water resources must be of primary interest to society, especially under specific conditions in the Czech Republic.

Web pages of the program Water for Life

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