Credit: ZM / BD

New Science Minister Pavel Tuleja May Be Appointed On Monday

The junior coalition government party TOP 09 has agreed with President Petr Pavel on the appointment of Pavel Tuleja as science and research minister, according to Marketa Pekarova Adamova, chair of the Chamber of Deputies and TOP 09 leader. The president is expected to appoint Tuleja to his role on Monday, 6 May.

The TOP 09 leadership approved economist Tuleja, former rector of Silesian University, for the post on Tuesday morning.

With the government’s mandate ending in about 18 months, Tuleja said he plans not only to finish the job of Helena Langsadlova, who announced her resignation last week, but to bring the ministry’s agenda closer to the public.

He also said he would like to focus on young people in science, excellence, cooperation between the National Accreditation Office and the government, and funding for young scientists. He told journalists that the minister’s vision should be to make the Czech Republic an EU leader in science and innovation.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday that he expected Tuleja to strengthen the coalition government, and that he could be inaugurated as science minister on Monday. Fiala added that he knows Tuleja from his academic career.

The minister-designate has extensive management experience in the academic sphere, Pekarova Adamova said, stressing his economic expertise. She said the task for Tuleja was to complete Langsadlova’s projects and present them in an understandable and accessible way.

TOP 09 first deputy chair Vlastimil Valek spoke about the need to transfer knowledge to prevent Czech discoveries from being implemented by foreign companies.

Tuleja plans to create a team of collaborators around him, and intends to act as their “centrepiece” to present the results, Valek added. He said Tuleja had already met Langsadlova on Monday and they had agreed to cooperate. He mentioned his contacts from the Czech Rectors’ Conference.

Asked about the party’s ambivalence to Tuleja’s appointment, as some party members are unhappy with Langsadlova’s departure, Adamova said the support for Tuleja was overwhelming during a vote of the TOP 09 governing council on Tuesday. Adamova said the election would show results. According to opinion polls, the party is not currently certain to cross the 5% threshold required to enter the lower house of parliament.

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