World news story

Speech: High-level UK-Czech R&D energy seminar

The Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy Prague Angus Stewart opened a High-level UK-Czech Research and Development Seminar.


“Welcome to the Czech-UK Research and Development Seminar. Thank you for coming, it’s a pleasure to be speaking to you today.

“And what a time to be doing this. We are seeing dramatic changes in the energy industry. Changes on a scale we have not seen for decades. The good old days – a of energy are just being about power moving from large power stations, down long wires, to homes and businesses – are pretty much over.

“New technology has changed that model. We are and need to continue to be at the forefront of developments. This is the reason we are meeting here today.

“The demand for growth in the developed world means that we need an energy supply that is reliable, clean and affordable.

“Many of the technologies to make that happen are still in the research stage. The United Kingdom undertakes some 5 percent of global research and development. This means that remaining 95 percent is conducted outside of the United Kingdom. International cooperation with experts like you is vital for future growth.

“There are no two countries better placed to cooperate than the Czech Republic and United Kingdom. Let us just take a moment to look at the numbers.

“Over 700 Czech-UK collaborative projects under the European Framework Programme.

“Since 2009, an average of over 1,000 joint scientific publications per annum.

“Many hundreds of high quality Czech and UK students attend each others’ universities.

“The United Kingdom has underwritten its commitments to Horizon 2020.”

“Speaking frankly the list could go on and on.”

“This is all very positive. So. Where is the catch?

“When I ask this question it is not long until someone in the audience mentions Brexit. But Brexit is not a dirty word. It’s an opportunity.

“The United Kingdom is committed to a deal with Europe which serves both our common interests. It is not a zero sum game. It is a positive sum game. And energy, education, science and innovation are all sectors that will be on the leading edge of making a substantive contribution to the relationship between United Kingdom and European countries.

“British Embassy Prague has a dedicated science officer, Dr. Otakar Fojt, who is responsible for building links between our two countries.

“Today’s event fosters these links. I expect we will do many more in the future. Sorry Otakar, you are only going to be getting busier.

“I hope this day will be productive. I trust it will open new opportunities for cooperation between our countries. Good luck and have a wonderful day.

“On behalf of the Embassy – I wish you all the very best. “

The Research and Development in Energy Seminar brought together 57 British energy experts, Czech government officials, academic researchers and representatives of power-making and utility companies. The one day event packed keynotes and presentations from the Energy Technology Institute and Innovate UK on modelling of the electric grid, energy in smart cities and small modular reactors.

Published 7 December 2016