Performance of all Large Research Infrastructures included in the „Roadmap of the Czech Republic of Large Infrastructures for Research, Experimental Development and Innovation for the years 2016-2022” has been subject of the Interim Evaluation by International Evaluation Committee established by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports of the Czech Republic. The process started this year in January and has been successfully closed in August 2017. Consensus report of the International Scientific Panel marked performance of CIISB in all 9 evaluated categories, and also in the final evaluation statement, with the highest grade 5 - excellent, meaning in the words of the evaluation methodology that “The RI is of excellent quality compared to the leading actors worldwide with respect to its uniqueness, originality, importance and impact on the user community. The RI is highly relevant for the future development of research and innovation environment of the Czech Republic as well as inevitable for strengthening the competitiveness of the Czech Republic.”
Conclusion from the consensus report
With the creation and the running of a unique integrated Research Infrastructure for structural biology CIISB offers a masterful ensemble of core facilities of the highest standard and has become a leading actor with international perspective. At the present time, two main facilities represent the flagship of the Research Infrastructure: the Josef Dadok National NMR Center and the Cryo-electron Microscopy and Tomography. They are both state of the art and their recognition as INSTRUCT centre and accessibility in the iNEXT project, is an important achievement. The demand from the user community is likely to increase over the next few years. Accordingly the Research Infrastructure is providing and should continue providing adequate staff support, especially for those domains in which users’ expertise is yet to be built. Training and educating master and Ph.D. students within the Research Infrastructure is already excellent and is likely to continue within the internationally network to prestigious universities. CIISB offers an internationally competitive state of the art Research Infrastructure for molecular life science. This is of a considerable importance for health and disease, as well as for biotechnology and bionanotechnology research fields.
The future plans that aim to consolidate the cryo-EM facility by expanding the equipment portfolio are remarkable. The location is strategically and politically important for the further development of the research institute located in Czech Republic and Central and Eastern Europe, but not limited to this. The other core facilities are state-of-the-art and they offer a complete portfolio for the national and European structural biology community. The X-ray crystallography facilities are the state-of-the-art of high flux home sources, equipped with robotic sample changed and in-situ stage support. Despite the improvement in home systems, they serve in many cases as preparatory steps for experiment at synchrotron sources. The link between the national community and the European synchrotron sources could be further consolidated and CIISB is the natural coordinator to act as bridge with the community. The macromolecular crystallization facilities are remarkable; they provide a wide range of offer to the national users. The crystallization facilities should extend its range towards membrane protein crystallization somehow sooner than currently planned. The same applies to the optimisation of micro-crystal preparation, handling and harvesting. Investment in these directions wold enhanced the interactions between the national community and the new light sources, both Free Electron Lasers and Diffraction Limited Storage Rings.