At the end of last year, Prof. MUDr. Cyril Höschl, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health in Klecany, received the Prize of the Governor of the Central Bohemia Region in the Education, Science and Research category. He received the award for his life-long commitment to popularization of science, education of students and extensive publication activity. From 2016 to 2019, he was a member of the Central Bohemian Competitiveness Council, the Central Bohemian Regional Council’s advisory body for initiatives aimed at supporting innovative entrepreneurship, science and research.
The National Institute of Mental Health is a prominent science and research organization in the region. What is its primary focus? How are its activities linked with national and international research and how do they benefit the human society?
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) focuses primarily on research into the most serious mental diseases. These include the bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorder, and some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Besides that, the institute has strong social psychiatry, epidemiology, and social economy departments. Most recently, it has also focused on mental health care reform issues.
NIMH works with cutting-edge technology both for basic laboratory research and in its special sleep lab, electrophysiology lab, and a brain imaging lab. Its team includes leading medical, psychology, sociology, natural sciences, cybernetics, and mathematics experts. The institute has proved to be internationally competitive in many areas, as witnessed by its articles published in prestigious international journals, such as Lancet Psychiatry etc.
Research teams specializing in brain biochemistry, application of information technology in behavioral sciences, electrophysiology, and social psychiatry collaborate with partner organizations across Europe as well as overseas. NIMH engages numerous researchers from other countries, with English serving as the working language of many team meetings. The institute also provides top psychiatry care in keeping with its status as a research organization.
What does the 2019 Prize of the Governor of the Central Bohemia Region in the Education, Science and Research category mean for you?
I take it as a positively surprising indication that politicians, although occupied by many other responsibilities, do pay attention to what is going on in their region in the field of science and research. It is double rewarding since the National Institute of Mental Health has been active in education, science and research for just 5 years, which is quite a short time for such a significant and relatively large organization to establish itself. I take the award as a recognition of the institute’s efforts and I feel truly honored.