AKTION enters the new programming period. We marked the anniversary of our cooperation in the Ambassador's residence.
The AKTION Austria-Czech Republic programme was launched in the early 1990s with the aim of strengthening Czech-Austrian cooperation in science and education between university students, academics and researchers and improving mutual relations between the two neighbouring countries. It has since become a symbol of long-term partnership not only in the higher education sector. In its 30 years of existence, it has financially supported more than 1 300 projects and 5 000 scholarship holders. Through AKTION, the students who applied for scholarships have grown up to become eminent scientists. Many of them also attended this gala event to celebrate the anniversary of the cooperation.
Opening remarks were made by Bettina Kirnbauer, Ambassador of Austria to the Czech Republic, at whose residence the above-mentioned scholarship holders, as well as representatives of the programme's decision-making committee, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MŠMT) and the national agencies DZS and the Austrian OeAD met on this occasion. "The AKTION programme facilitates mutual knowledge sharing in the field of science and is a supporting factor in strengthening friendship and trust across borders, which is very important for us as neighbouring countries. This mutual exchange and the creation of a network of scientists who can use their research for great things also contributes to our prosperity," said Ambassador Bettina Kirnbauer. She also welcomed the distinguished guests at the gala, Christoph Ramoser from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research and Stefan Newerkla, co-chairperson of the decision-making committee.
Ondřej Andrys, Ambassador Bettina Kirnbauer and Michal Uhl. Photo: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec
"The cooperation with Austria has always been excellent, amicable and constructive and has been conducted at a very professional level. Austria is one of our very respected and honoured partners and we are very grateful for the 30 years of cooperation in the AKTION programme," said Ondřej Andrys, State Secretary at MŠMT, after the Ambassador's speech. "AKTION is unique in that it not only focuses on students, but also to a large extent covers the gap between Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe, as it is often used by postgraduate students in between their studies and active research. However, in addition to its scientific and diplomatic dimension, it also has a cultural dimension. Thanks to the geographical and historical links, Austrian culture is very close to our own," added Michal Uhl, Director of DZS.
However, it is not only important to reflect on the past 30 years of cooperation, but also to look towards the future. This year, a new Czech-Austrian cooperation programme was signed, which includes a new, 7th phase of the AKTION programme for the period 2024-2028, which allows it to be extended for another 3 years. This will bring new opportunities for cooperation and allow further deepening of relations between the Czech Republic and Austria. "As neighbouring countries, we share common challenges and together we can address them much more easily and effectively. I think there is also an important element of peace, because peace starts in the neighbourhood and we have to work every day to maintain and improve it," said Ambassador Kirnbauer. "It is extremely important to develop this cooperation further also as a prevention against misunderstandings so that we can continue to enrich each other," summarized Michal Uhl.
Ambassador of Austria to the Czech Republic Bettina Kirnbauer. Photo: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec