Monika Kocmanova, member of the Department of Research and Development of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) of the Czech Republic, is the representative of the Czech Republic in the Management Board of JPI HDHL. She also is contact person for the Call 2017 for the Joint Funding Action “Effectiveness of existing policies for lifestyle intervention – Policy Evaluation Network (PEN)”.

How did you first know about JPI HDHL?
The Czech Republic was aware of Joint Programming Initiatives from Council Conclusions 2009. We were also since its beginning involved in the pilot initiative regarding the Neurodegenerative Diseases and Alzheimer's. Our membership in the High Level Group for Joint Programming has brought further information and supported our national interest to participate in several Joint Programming Initiatives in position of observer.

Which main drivers moved CZ from the observer to the full member status being active partner?
Following the priorities of the Czech Republic defined in the “Action Plan for International Cooperation of the Czech Republic in R&D and Innovation and Internationalisation of the Czech R&D and Innovation Ecosystem for the Year 2017-2020” to extend the engagement in the international activities, in particular those under Articles 185 and 187 of the TFEU, and the interest and potential of the Czech research community, the Czech Republic expressed its interest to enlarge the involvement and became full member of JPI HDHL.

In general, the Czech Republic considers JPIs as a unique tool to enhance internationalisation of national institutions, coordinate nationals’ research activities and successfully within the research cooperation face societal challenges of these days. Diseases such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, ischemic heart disease, cerebral vascular disease and cancer are the most serious diseases in the Czech Republic. Moreover, food safety and nutrition became worldwide issues and subject of several policy and research initiatives. Not only for the reasons mentioned above, it is more than desirable for the Czech Republic to actively participate in JPI HDHL.

Do you expect any particular difficulty on alignment of Czech Republic R&D programmes to the JPI HDHL SRA and to participate in joint activities (JPI ones and the ERA-NET Cofunds)? 
As was already mentioned the Czech Republic is a new member in this initiative and in this respect faces several administrative and logistic issues. The crucial challenge on national level is to disseminate effectively all information and increase the interest of national research institutions to participate in JPI HDHL. However, the Czech Republic believes that further involvement of the Czech research community can contribute to international cooperation and to the solution of priorities defined under the JPI HDHL.

Any comment on how to improve CZ participation and other small countries partnership?
The active participation and membership in the Management Board of this initiative will definitely allow us to coordinate activities, calls and budget on national level. It gives us a new opportunity to support the internationalization of research organizations on European and international level as well as to contribute to find possible solutions of the big societal challenges in the domain of the HDHL. The Ministry of Education Youth and Sports as a new member involves more time and capacity to understand all procedural issues as well as the content of the initiative and its individual calls to implement them properly on national level. The coordinator of JPI HDHL plays a crucial role in this “transition period“ and its direct professional assistance and support to specific needs of an individual member state is highly appreciated.