21. 7. 2016 13:47

Deputy Prime Minister Bělobrádek’s speech during the International Congress of Cell Biology

Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests,

I am honoured to have the opportunity to address you all today.
Welcome to the homeland of Jan Evangelista Purkyně, who was one among those who first understood the crucial role of cells for the existence of life. As a veterinarian, I can say this topic is close to my heart.

It certainly is a great privilege for the Czech Republic to host the International Congress of Cell Biology in Prague this year. In my opinion, such privilege was accorded also thanks to the results achieved by Czech scientists and their ability to engage in international cooperation.

It is my motto that in our country, we need to concentrate on those fields of specialisation where we hold the world leadership or where we are able to cooperate with those who do. This is true for cell biology as well as related life sciences.

Science is a fundamental element of our civilization. Critical scientific thinking is the key for seeking the truth and, therefore, for ethics as well. It is the foundation for reasoned democratic debate and it also drives the economic prosperity.

As the Deputy Prime Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, I keep repeating to the Minister of Finance: money dedicated to science, research and innovation is not a cost, it is an investment. In fact, it is the most profitable investment there is. New ideas and discoveries generate a higher growth in terms of GDP, new and better jobs, and better lives for people.

Science is systematic in that it proceeds from simple to ever more complex structures. From mechanics to quantum mechanics, from examining substances to examining elementary particles, from describing organisms to cell biology.

Here I am getting to the topic of this congress: “Exploring Cellular Structure and Function”. I venture to say that it is well chosen. It reflects the importance of cell biology for a deeper understanding of processes going on within the cell itself. Understanding them better will help us achieve progress in the treatment of various diseases. It will help us improve the quality of life and extend it. It will help us understand the foundations of life more profoundly. Although we will never grasp it fully, of course.
The topic of this congress displays progress and self-confidence of this relatively new branch of science. I consider it positive that the contributions to this congress do not consist solely of the results achieved by purely basic research or of basic research in connection with the research of human diseases. There are also contributions concerning applied research related to translational research or to clinical research.

I also want to congratulate the organizers that they were successful in attracting a wide range of excellent speakers, including three Nobel Prize winners. It certainly is an encouragement for participants to attend in great numbers and for the lectures to be dictated widely.

Undoubtedly, it is an excellent opportunity for professional growth, especially for young scientists. As I was informed, a substantial part of congress participants is formed by PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. By all means, this is good. It is the new generation who usher in the future of cell biology and related domains.

To conclude, please allow me to wish you a pleasant stay in our capital city. I believe it will be not only the congress that you will remember in a good light, but also Prague, its sights and culture, too.
I wish you to make this congress a success and thank you for your attention.

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