The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR) was established by Act No. 283/1992 Coll. as the Czech successor of the former Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. It is set up as a complex of 54 public research institutions. The Academy employs about 7,000 employees more than a half of whom are researchers with university degrees.
The primary mission of ASCR and its institutes is to conduct basic research in a broad spectrum of the natural, technical and social sciences and the humanities. This research, whether highly specialised or interdisciplinary in nature, aims to advance developments in scientific knowledge at the international level, while also taking into account the specific needs of both Czech society and national culture. Scientists of the Academy institutes also participate in education, particularly through doctoral study programmes for young researchers and by teaching at universities as well. The Academy also fosters collaborations between applied research and industry. The integration of Czech science into the international context is being promoted by means of numerous joint international research projects and through the exchange of scientists with counterpart institutions abroad.
The supreme self-governing body of the Academy of Sciences is the Academy Assembly two-thirds of which is composed of representatives of all Academy institutes, the remaining third being representatives of universities, state administration, business circles, and other notable personalities. The executive body of the Academy is the Academy Council headed by the President of the Academy of Sciences. The Council for Sciences is primarily engaged in setting science policy of the Academy. Members of each of these Academy bodies are elected for a four-year-period. Academy Evaluation Committees, which correspond in their professional fields to respective science sections of the Academy, perform an independent assessment of the quality of research and research objectives of individual Academy institutes.
The Academy of Sciences is financed primarily from the state budget. The pattern of research funding at the Academy conforms to current international standards. In addition to basic institutional financing of research objectives of Academy institutes, target-oriented financing is being more widely practised to carry out research projects and grants selected on the basis of public competition. ASCR was the first institution in the Czech Republic to establish its own Grant Agency which financially supports research projects selected through a peer-review procedure involving reviewers from abroad. Individual Academy institutes obtain additional financial resources by participating in national as well as international research programmes.
The Academy has also been assigned financial responsibility for 71 specialised Czech scientific societies associated with the Council of Scientific Societies.