Marek Vaculík, MVSO academic and director of the Olomouc Cluster of Innovation (OKI), recently defended his doctoral dissertation at Hasselt Universiteit in Belgium, thereby successfully completing his journey towards the goal of having a doctorate and the title that goes with it.
How did it come about that you began to study at Hasselt Universiteit?
MVSO has been in a cooperative partnership with Hasselt Universiteit within the framework of the Erasmus+ program for years. Thanks to the fact that our Belgian partners have been satisfied with the results of student mobility, they were looking for further ways to cooperate with MVSO. That is why they offered people at MVSO the chance to study their postgraduate program in applied economics.
Would you have decided for one of the doctoral programs in the Czech Republic, had you not had the opportunity to study in Belgium?
I have always felt at home in an academic environment, which is the reason why I was considering studying for my doctorate, so I jumped at the chance to study abroad. Thanks to the fact that I was at Hasselt Universiteit externally, I was able, at the same time, to also continue working at my job in Olomouc. In addition, I was given maximum leeway to manage my affairs as needed in order to be successful in this situation, which means that I was granted study leave for my activity in Belgium, for which I am very grateful, because otherwise I could not, of course, have allowed myself the luxury of undertaking this venture.
Please be so kind and tell us something about your doctoral dissertation. Is there any connection with your position here at MVSO?
My dissertation is made up of several shorter articles. It is not a typical monography. I was inspired in my choice of a theme by the work I do every day. At OKI we have always created projects, which bring our college together with businesses, so my paper focuses in particular on the type of cooperation which could be called “open innovation“.
We need to be aware of the fact that firms frequently outsource development and innovation and, at the same time, draw inspiration from the research being done at the university level. My dissertation is also really closely connected with those issues to which MVSO has been paying the most attention recently. I presume that the cooperation between MVSO and the corporate environment will continue to intensify in the future, as evidenced by the fact that the BEA campus is under construction. Once finished, it will house not only the college, but will also become the residence of various companies, who will become involved in the instruction of our students while also offering them the chance to acquire practical experience. A component thereof will be a business incubator, which should become the source of a whole row of new innovations in the context of the deeper interconnection between the school and cooperating firms and lead, above all, to practice as the applied realization of the scientific work being done at MVSO, thanks to which the whole concept makes good sense. Actually, that is how it should always be. Science should not be merely self-serving, with academics creating science for its own sake. Quite the opposite, science must serve society and its further development. For that reason I consider the interconnection between firms and institutions of higher learning to be essential. That was my main motivation for devoting myself to the above-mentioned field of “Open Innovation“ within the framework of my doctoral dissertation.
What is, in your opinion, the most important advantage of studying abroad?
Of course it is an excellent way to gain experience when a person gets into a new environment, encounters new topics and, above all, meets new people and gets to know them. Of these, it is the establishment of new contacts which is, in my view, simply the most important. At Hasselt there are people who are experienced in the preparation of scientific research projects. Thanks to the contacts established there, not only by myself, but also by our Rector, Associate Professor Zimmermannová, MVSO now has the opportunity to participate in such projects, enabling us find our way, more easily and more often, to publishing in prestigious foreign journals, thereby expanding our horizons in our scientific work.
So now that you have successfully completed your studies,what awaits you next?
Now I am going to dedicate myself, once again, totally to my work and do my utmost to pass on the knowledge I have gained to our students. I myself will prepare one subject during the Spring semester. After that I will work on one together with Professor Nadine Roijakkers, whom I met thanks to my stay at Hasselt and who is one of the personalities involved in our International Day of Science in addition to other forms of mutual cooperation. As we speak, I am already really looking forward to further cooperation with her.