During his official visit to the Czech Republic, OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría visited the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR) on 16 July 2018. During the meeting, he discussed with representatives of TA CR and state administration the OECD recommendations of the “OECD Economic Survey – Czech Republic 2018”. The participants also discussed new challenges for the Czech economy and particularly applied research.
The Secretary-General emphasised the need to find a balance between productivity and the distribution of the economy’s results on the local market. He also stressed the need for continuous development and training of local workers. In Mr Gurría’s own words: “It is all about skills, skills, skills.”
Ángel Gurría pointed out the drop in R&D spending in the Czech Republic. The rate of 1.7% of the GDP is 50% below the OECD average. According to Mr Gurría, investment in R&D, education and staff qualification would help the current situation on the labour market. The Secretary-General also touched on immigration as a possible solution for the overheated labour market, a topic that remains controversial in the country. He noted that it’s important to adapt to changes on the labour market. One example he gave is the new trend of a shared economy (Uber) and the need to protect its workers/service providers.
The Secretary-General highlighted the importance of applied research and in particular three rules that need to be followed: increasing investment in R&D, targeting financial mechanisms and emphasising practical application of the research.
“The question is not how much you spend on R&D, but how you apply it.”
Concerning research and development in the Czech Republic, the Secretary-General emphasised that it’s not enough to focus on quantity; research must in particular concentrate on projects of a high quality. Finally, he reminded everyone that institutions such as TA CR and OECD must actively cooperate to respond to new challenges in the economy, research and development.