SICE explores collaboration in Czech Republic

Czech Trip 2017

A contingent from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering recently visited central Europe in an effort to promote collaboration with some of the most prestigious universities in the Czech Republic.

Dean Raj Acharya and Martina Barnas, the assistant dean for research and the director of research collaborations, traveled to the Czech Republic to meet with representatives from Charles University in Prague and the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. The meetings were designed to discover ways in which students and researchers from SICE and the two Czech schools could work together for mutual benefit.

“The Czech Republic has a rich tradition of high academic achievement, and it’s only natural that we would want of find ways to create successful partnerships,” Acharya said. “Both Charles University and the University of West Bohemia are considered to be among the world leaders in innovation and research, and we’re excited to build relationships with both that will help our students and faculties reach their goals.”

Charles University is one of the oldest continuously operating universities in Europe—it was established in 1348 at the behest of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV by Pope Clement VI—and it ranks as one of the top institutions of higher education in the world. Acharya and Barnas met with Radka Wildová, the vice-rector for strategy and education quality assurance, and 12 other members of the Charles University staff and faculty to establish connections and gauge interest in a partnership.

Acharya and Barnas next traveled to the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, birthplace of the pilsner style of beer. They toured the campus and had the opportunity to meet with Tomáš Kaiser, the vice-rector for research and development about building research collaborations.

“The Faculty of Applied Science has strong ties to industry, and collaborating with the University of West Bohemia could help students build experience in applied science, industrial design, robotics, bioengineering, and so much more,” Barnas said. “It is an excellent opportunity for both IU and our students to build connections and improve collaborations.”

SICE has previously worked with one member of the faculty of the University of West Bohemia. Radek Schuster, an assistant professor of philosophy, spent time at IU as a Fullbright Scholar collaborating with Professor of Informatics, Cognitive Science, and International Studies Hamid Ekbia. Schuster has also been involved with researchers from IU involving human-computer interaction.

The University of West Bohemia doesn’t boast the long history Charles University, but it has quickly become an influential institution. Its roots are as a 1991 merger between parts of the Czech Technical University in Prague and a Pilsen subsidiary of the Faculty of Education of Charles University. It is a center for research and development, and it has enjoyed massive investments in its growth and advancement in recent years.

“Both Charles University and the University of West Bohemia share our passion for research,” Barnas said. “We’re very interested in our future partnership opportunities.”

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