In April 2018, Palacký University will host the Times Higher Education Summit, a unique meeting of experts, among whom are regularly Nobel Prize-winners and personalities recognised in their academic fields, management of the world’s top universities, statesmen and women, and representatives of industry and business. It will be the first such event ever held in Central Europe. Olomouc will be visited by two hundred important attendees from all over the world, of whom almost 50 will give plenary speeches.
“We’re proud that Palacký University was able to get the right to organise one of the Times Higher Education (THE) global summits; THE is the most prestigious rankings company, evaluating universities from all over the world, and providing professionals news in the areas of education, science, and research. It is in our interest to be in contact with the process of evaluating universities, and strategies of how to be most successful in the global competition are of interest to us,” said UP Rector Miller. The theme of the summit, which will take place in Olomouc from 24—26 April 2018, will be “Research Excellence – New Europe: Building a hub for world-class research”. The summit’s subtitle was chosen with the goal of presenting the region of Central and Eastern Europe as promising from the perspective of research potential.
Times Higher Education summits, which are part of the “Series of Summits”, are often aimed both regionally and thematically. In 2017, they took place in Brisbane, South Korea, and Hong Kong. The annual global World Academic Summit has taken place in such cities as Melbourne, San Francisco, and London.
“Already important personalities from the region called ‘New Europe’, as well as guests from Southeast Asia, Great Britain, France, Australia, the USA, and Scandinavia have pledged to come to Olomouc. I believe that in addition to the quality programme and quality hosts, the summit will also offer a chance for universities coming from this region to be seen, to form new partnerships, and to contribute to increasing the academic and scientific reputations of countries from Central and Eastern Europe — and much more,” added Miller. The summit will offer several discussion panels; for example on the themes “Research and reputation — defining New Europe”, “National strategies to support research excellence,” “Political protectionism and research universities,” and “Central Europe — a new destination for global research talent”.
On the occasion of the summit, Times Higher Education will also compile and publish a unique ranking of universities coming from the region of the “New Europe”, which represents the 13 states which became members of the EU after 2004. “Despite 14 years of existence, THE has not focussed much on this region, so the emphasis on such a delimited region is quite unique in this context,” explained Miller.
Confirming their active participation in the summit are for example Mikuláš Bek, rector of Masaryk University in Brno; Tomáš Zima, rector of Charles University in Prague; Otakar Fojt, the academic attaché to the British Embassy in Prague; Tomáš Halík, president of the Czech Christian Academy; Pavel Hobza, professor at Charles University, Palacký University, and the Czech Academy of Sciences; Rianne Letschert, rector of Maastricht University; Claire O’Malley, vice-rector of Durham University; Eric Zimmerman, director of research at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel; Claire Wallace, director of the New Europe Centre of the University of Aberdeen; Jiří Drahoš, former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences; Pavel Telička, Vice-President of the European Parliament. And negotiations are underway with a number of other important foreign academics.
The summit is timed to coincide with the dates when the international film festival Academia Film Olomouc 2018 will be taking place.