Brno Days: Day 2-Part I- Education, Advanced Research, and International Cooperation

Introduction

After the first day’s cultural presentations on the Villa Tugendhat, the final day of the Brno Days presentations focused on the business opportunities of the city. Brno, pronounced Bur-no, is the second largest city in the Czech Republic and is located in the South Moravia Region. The Bohemian National Hall hosted several business and medical leaders for the event, which was divided into three presentations about their experiences in the Czech Republic. The major discussion for the morning portion of the event was about medical research and any business opportunities for companies connected to that field. Each presenter enthusiastically highlighted their personal connections and attributed many of their company’s achievements to the city. These individual connections, the city’s central location, and skilled labor exemplify the abundant opportunities in Brno.
 
 
 
 
 

Mayo Clinic, FNUSA-ICRC, and Brno

Dr. Virend Somers, from the Mayo Clinic, gave the keynote address for Day 2 of Brno Days. Dr. Somers spoke about the Mayo Clinic, which has a history of collaboration and cooperation with international doctors to exchange knowledge and techniques that improve patient care. This cooperation between the clinic and Czech doctors led to the creation of a strong relationship and eventually to the formation of the International Clinical Research Center (FNUSA-ICRC). The FNUSA-ICRC is the third international scientific research center along with the International Space Station (ISS) and European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). It will be a place where scientists and intellectuals from around the world can build mutual trust and support by learning from one another. It will be guided by the Mayo Clinic’s three major tenets: research, education, and clinical practice. Dr. Somers explained that Brno is the perfect spot to utilize the Czech work ethic and talent combined with the specialties and personnel from the clinic. He described the formation of these relationships as building a human bridge. Dr. Somers trusts that these interactions will lead to ground breaking research and improved care for many patients and Brno is at the heart of it.

Dr. Tomas Kara, the Chair of the ICRC at St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, also gave a presentation on medical research. He is a Brno resident and a local hero who saved the life of a drowning boy. Dr. Kara provided an in-depth look into the vision of the FNUSA-ICRC and some of the relationships it has already created. He described FNUSA-ICRC as the “next generation medical center” and will be completely state of the art. The center hopes to improve the time between research and advanced therapy, which will improve early detection and patient care. It will have four main departments: Cardiovascular Disease, Neurology, Integrated Research Platforms, and Centrum for R&D Support.

The Czech Republic has a history of medical innovation. Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, lived in Brno. The city is also ranked 3rd in artificial heart production creating the longest survival in the EU of an artificial heart in a cow. At the core of these accomplishments are education and research. Both organizations, the Mayo Clinic and FNUSA-ICRC, have a commitment to education and provide several scientific training programs. These programs include: 1-3 year long-term program, 1-3 month short-term program, MSc. and PhD. study programs, and simulation-based education. Along with these programs, new projects are being planned, such as the development of the next generation left ventricle assist device. By January 2013, building will be completed for the St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno. The project has been supported by the Czech Ministry of Health, the Structural Funds of the European Union, and several private and public businesses. Dr. Kara’s presentation illustrated a future of medicine being conceived in Brno. This is because of the top universities filled with talented, educated, and energetic students. It is also attributed to the many public and private sector partnerships, such as the FNUSA-ICRC, created within Brno.

Universities and Business Partnerships

Dr. Martin Bares spoke about the partnership between the FNUSA-ICRC and the Masaryk University (MU). He is the Executive Director of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC). CEITEC works with local universities and research institutes to create a center of prominent scientific research in central Europe. Along with MU, the other institutions that work with CEITEC are: Brno University of Technology, Mendel University in Brno, Institute of Physics of Materials of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, and the Veterinary Research Institute. In his speech, Dr. Bares endorsed MU’s central location, quality education, and dedicated student body. All these factors contribute to an educated labor force that produces quality work. Dr. Bares also admits that these factors are not unique to MU and can be said about the other five universities in the city. A third of the universities in Brno are science and technologies schools. These universities have generated fruitful relationships with business, medical, and technology centers, which provide training, internships, and experience. Dr. Bares stated that Brno’s universities have many benefits for investors. These include: a historical and central location; an international student body; an “authentic” education; and, finally, a world class culture with living traditions. These are all important factors that produce progress and build Brno into a modern intellectual and technological hub.

Martin Wagner from IBM said three important factors of business are great citizens, smart students, and a great environment. He believed “Brno has 125%” of these essential components. IBM’s offices in the Czech Republic are located in Prague, but Wagner spoke about IBM’s 84 year history in the country and advocated the Czech work ethic. Bradley J. Thies agreed with Wagner’s remarks and expanded on his company’s achievements in Brno. Thies is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at FEI. The company produces electron microscopes that quickly gather data. FEI is a global company with a few offices in the United States and a major office in Brno. Since FEI opened an office in Brno in 1993, the company has done exceedingly well generating huge growth. In June, the company announced “nearly $400 million in cash and investments.” Thies explained that FEI’s Brno offices were an essential part of the company’s success. Brno provided qualified employees and a growing medical R&D sector and made it logical for FEI to establish its presence there.

Conclusion

The Brno Days presentations succeeded in projecting an emerging city filled with many different prospects. Many people listened to the enthusiastic group of speakers describe the litany of available resources. The event was organized by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York, the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic and the Czech Center New York. Similar events included two previous regional presentations on the cities of Zlin and Ostrava. The Consulate also organizes economic presentations of leading Czech industries. Biotech, Clean Tech, and IT are just some of the sectors that coordinate with the Consulate.

Brno Days: Day 2 made evident that the city has a growing medical care and research sector supported financially by businesses, investors, and governments. Each speaker spoke to the intelligence and dedication of their staff and of the students from the local universities. The presence of the FNUSA-ICRC has established an international community in Brno that will ensure growth, discovery, and opportunity.

Future Events

  • Bohemian National Hall- Orbis Pictus- Play Well Exhibit- June 26 – October 17, 2012, 6:30PM-8:30PM
  • Brno Jazz Festival: April 4 – 30, 2012
  • Czech Center New York- Private Universe Film Club- October 15, 2012, 7:00PM
  • Czech Center New York- Grayscale Imprints Exhibit- October 25, 2012 – January 15, 2013, 6:30PM – 8:30PM
  • Czech Center New York- The Opportune Moment, 1855 European Book Club- October 30, 7:00PM
  • Czech Center New York- Beyond Cage: Ostravasha Banda + Talujon Percussion Concert- October 30, 8:00PM

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