PhD student Andrés I. Bertoni was hosted for 2 months thanks to Marie Curie networking action “ATLANTIC”

A PhD student from University of Cuyo (Mendoza, Argentina) was hosted 2 months by the HiLASE Centre, Prague, thanks to the Marie Curie networking action “Research and Innovation Staff Exchange” named “ATLANTIC”.

Andres was hosted in the group of “Ultrafast Photonics” of HiLASE and worked on the first-principle optical response of solids. It was a great opportunity to exchange with students from the Czech Republic and to visit the laboratory of assoc. prof. Kovaricek (University of Chemical Technologies).

Andrés plans to join for a second trip this winter, shortly before the end of the “ATLANTIC” project.

T. Derrien attended the “Frontiers in Excited State Electronic Structure Methods” ICTP workshop in Trieste

Dr. Thibault J.-Y. Derrien, the Leader of the Group of Ultrafast Photonics (Department of Scientific Laser Applications)attended the “Workshop on Frontiers in Excited State Electronic Structure Methods: from Spectroscopy to Photochemistry”, held at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste (Italy) from May 16th to May 19th. The workshop gathered the researchers of the field of the first-principle modeling chemistry community.

Dr. Derrien presented results of his group on the excitation of solids upon excitation by intense laser light, developed in the context of the WP1-WP2 of the project BIATRI: No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000445 and WP3-WP5 of Marie Curie RISE ATLANTIC project No. 823897 (

The Workshop provided an excellent opportunity to meet several members of the theoretical network in the frames of the project “ATLANTIC” of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) (Horizon 2020) who also attended the workshop:

– Dr. Carlos Bustamante (now hosted by Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Hamburg),
– Prof. Cristian Sanchez (University of Cuyo, Argentina) and his PhD student Andrés I. Bertoni.
– Prof. Damian Scherliz (University of Buenos Aires, Argentina),
– Prof. Jorge Kohanoff (Queen’s University of Belfast, North Ireland, and Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain).

The disruption of public research under war in Ukrain context

Inflation in the Czech Republic between 2017 and 2023 has increased from 2% to 16.3% year to year [1,2]. In average, if one wins/pays 100 Kc in 2017, an equivalent value in 2023 should be 148 Kc, mostly due to debt induced by COVID and to inflation induced by war in Ukraine. Previsions for next year run around some predicted return to 2% [2].

Situation would have been fine if salaries would have followed this major trend. But they didn’t follow in the public sector, while they were increased in the private sector.

This is suggested by conjunction of two indicators. The average salary in the Czech Republic in that period did increase by 27.8% [3], and in this inflating context, the annual budget for the Institute of Physics by the Academy of Sciences has been … reduced by 43% between 2022 and 2023 [4].

In view of adapting to this problematic situation, the proposed alternative should be to apply for funding through European and national projects, but the success rate of these is close to 10% overall. One can plan to write 10 of them per year (writing 1 project takes 250h of work for 1 person) – but deploying such amount of energy is not given to all.

An alternative is to capitalize on the previously patented technologies. Or to reshape the developed competences as a service, and to sell it to whom would be interested.

Science and technology in the public sector seem to become less and less sustainable in the Czech Republic. Setting the strategy to fund permanent positions of public sector on management costs of projects brought by motivated scientists should not be considered as a sustainable scheme, since the funds invested in training people are big. The developed competences and know-how cannot be thrown away from the Czech Republic like that. It must be re-invested. Solutions must be proposed, such as creating a private activity from the developed skills. Given the rate of the inflation, this appears to be a rather urgent measure so that salaries can from now on be indexed on inflation, an expected measure that could help the life of many workers.