Opening of new pavilions for the center of excellence Ceitec MU is coming. On Friday, September 12 arrives at the grand opening at Masaryk University campus as the keynote speaker one of the leading Finnish and international experts in molecular medicine Olli Kallioniemi. Director of FIMM (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland), University of Helsinki has with his 298 publications and 30 thousand citations H-index 84. What is his view on the Ceitec?
Ceitec belongs to the most promising scientificc centers in Czech Republic. Do you think that such center in middle Europe has a chance to compete with the established ones in the "West“? For example with FIMM?
Ceitec is located at the heart of Europe, so I do not think the geographical location is an issue, it is an advantage. Furthermore, in today's world, the geographical location of a center has less impact than before. World is global and the internet, skype and emails connect us 24/7 scientifically and the same technologies and access to scientific expertise exist everywhere.
The question is how to make use of these capabilities. It is important that institutes are open to international recruitment, network globally and try to achieve a combination of scientific excellence and also (in some areas at least) relevance to society. Obviously, there is a need to achieve critical mass, unique edge in some fields, perhaps focusing on multidisciplinarity. It is critically important to have sufficient resources and funding. Top science gets more and more expensive. From what I understand, Ceitec has excellent starting point in a number of ways in this respect. For example, Ceitec is already much bigger than FIMM at this point.
It appears to me that Ceitec will have a particular strength in multidisciplinary collaborations bridging biology and medicine with nano- and material sciences. Is there any kind of cooperation between FIMM and Ceitec?
Ceitec and FIMM are both part of the pan-European alliance of excellence, EU-Life, which networks top life-science institutes together. EU-Life has been a great way to compare best practices developed over the years in excellent research institutions, such as NKI, VIB, CeMM, FMI etc.
As of today, we do not have a bilateral research collaboration between FIMM and Ceitec, but obviously I know Director Markus Dettenhofer well from our interactions at the EU level. I look forward to discussions about developing joint research themes.
Are you in touch with Czech scientist?
With too many to name in a comprehensive way. Some of these are linked to European research infrastructures, such as Petr Bartunek (EU-openscreen) and Marián Hajdúch (EATRIS). There are also many famous expat scientists from Czech republic that I have had a chance to collaborate, such as Jiri Bartek and Jiri Lukas (a graduate from Brno), who are now located in Copenhagen, Denmark.
What would be your advice for young scientist if he or she wants to reach similar level?
Develop your own niche, be ready to go outside your comfort zone towards multidisciplinary collaborations and new fields, be proactive and develop your local, national and international networks. International mobility is key to develop your own.