On 11 January 2024, at the end of his working trip to India, Prime Minister Petr Fiala visited Jaipur, India. The official delegation accompanying the Prime Minister included the Director of CIIRC CTU Ondřej Velek and the Scientific Director Prof. Vladimír Mařík. Together they visited NIMS University, where they met with the school management and academics and discussed the development of joint research projects and the expansion of cooperation between universities and research institutions. They also visited the construction of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Cybernetics, named after Prof. Vladimir Mařík, which will be completed this year.
During the visit to the university, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics CTU and the National Institute of Medical Sciences University (NIMS University), which focuses on creating a digital partnership in the Indo-Pacific. NIMS University is one of the leading private educational institutions in India. In the interview, Vladimir Mařík expressed the importance of opening the path for the Czech engineering community to India as a promising technological and economic power.
„We see it as opening the path of the Czech engineering community to India as a promising power that is technologically and economically very forward. In fields like software engineering and artificial intelligence, Indians have a very good sound,“ prof. Vladimír Mařík told CTK in an interview. „We see this as a long-term investment. And it is in line with the plans of the European Union, which is also starting to look at the region,“ he added.
The government visit to India, which was attended by Prof. Vladimír Mařík and Ondřej Velek together with Prime Minister Petr Fiala, followed last year’s laying of the foundation stone of the Mařík Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Cybernetics at the NIMS University in Jaipur. The foundation stone of the Centre was laid in March 2023 and the Centre is expected to be completed and inaugurated this summer. Following the official opening, student and researcher exchanges and joint research projects in biomedical science and industrial robotics are planned, a key step in strengthening scientific cooperation between the two countries.
„What I consider important, also based on my academic experience, is not just to create some forms of cooperation, but to have cooperation with proven institutions,“ Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who received an honorary doctorate from the university, told Czech Television.
„The management of NIMS has looked at how our institute is built, how quickly it has gained a reputation in Europe and they would like to replicate that in some way,“ explains Vladimír Mařík of the CIIRC’s involvement in the creation of the new institution.
CIIRC CTU is providing methodological support in the construction of the centre and plans to help with equipment compatible with AI labs in the Czech Republic and Europe. The CTU, on the other hand, is interested in tapping the potential of Indian scientists. Already this year, the first academics from India will come to the Czech Republic, and within three years the exchange should work both ways.
The cooperation between NIMS University and CTU is of major strategic importance and is seen as opening the door for the Czech engineering community to prospective India, especially in fields such as software engineering and artificial intelligence.
„We are proud that an Indian university has chosen the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics as a partner. It is another confirmation that our institution has a good reputation abroad,“ adds Dr. Ondřej Velek, Director of the CIIRC.