Interview with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hynek Roubík – Newly Appointed FTA Vice-Dean of Science, Research and Doctoral Studies

The BRT is pleased to announce that Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hynek Roubík, founder and leader of the Biogas Research Team (BRT) at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZU), has been appointed as the new Vice-Dean of Science, Research and Doctoral Studies at FTZ. To commemorate the occasion and get his insights into this exciting new role, our BRT Communications Manager, Dr. Stacy Hammond, conducted an interview to capture his thoughts on his present and long-term visions for this new role.

Enoy the interview!

Dr. Hammond: Can you please introduce yourself? What led you to the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, and what experiences make you a suitable candidate for the Vice-dean for Science, Research and Doctoral Study role?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: Hello to all the readers, and thank you for the interview. I'm Assoc. Prof. Hynek Roubík, the founder and current Group leader of the Biogas Research Team. I have been affiliated with the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences since 2010, where I began my studies simultaneously study also at the Faculty of Engineering, continued later on with my master, as well as doctoral studies. Subsequently I founded and stayed in the BRT as the Group leader; as you can see, I have quite a history here at the FTA. I believe that my engagement in waste management, environmental sciences and international projects spanning various countries positions me well for contributing to tropical agrisciences research.

Vision for the Faculty

Dr. Hammond: What is your vision for advancing research in tropical agrisciences within the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: My vision involves creating a dynamic research environment, leveraging interdisciplinary approaches, and integrating our faculty research outputs to address current agricultural challenges. I aim to position our faculty as a global leader in sustainable and innovative tropical agriculture practices. Because I believe we have a lot to offer. We are among the last fully focused faculties, which are specifically focused on the tropical agrisciences in Europe. And that is something which we need to utilise now.

Research Strategy

Dr. Hammond: How do you plan to contribute to the development and execution of a comprehensive research strategy for the Faculty?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: My strategy centres on fostering an environment that encourages interdisciplinary research, involving stakeholders from various fields and external partners. It includes leveraging cutting-edge approaches, as we have a lot of very strong research teams at our faculty. And I would like to support them more to find new opportunities.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Dr. Hammond: How would you improve interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers within the Faculty and with other institutions?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: I plan to establish collaborative platforms, workshops, and projects that bring together researchers from diverse backgrounds. My vision is to create a culture where experts from different fields contribute synergistically to address complex challenges in tropical agrisciences. In the past years, as mentioned before, I have established the Biogas Research Team, which is a highly multidisciplinary research group. In the past, I also, for example, led the CZU Food Security Research Group, which was made up of researchers from all the faculties of our university. I recently established the Agri Policy Lab, a dynamic, multidisciplinary, and innovative unit dedicated to advancing agricultural and related policies and practices for sustainable and inclusive development. So, I believe that my role will be to utilise some of my previous experiences as well as to encourage more researchers to engage in solving complex issues. Furthermore, one of my long-term activities is focused on working with early career researchers and PhD students. This is also something I want to dedicate my time to even more. Because I generally believe that PhD students and early career researchers are the major scientific power.

Attracting External Funding

Dr. Hammond: External funding is crucial. How do you plan to attract grants and foster partnerships with organizations or funding bodies interested in tropical agriculture?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: I propose developing targeted proposals aligned with the faculty’s vision, emphasizing global impact. Building on my international network, I aim to forge partnerships with organizations, governmental bodies, and private sectors interested in advancing tropical agriculture research. Currently, the Biogas Research Team has the majority of international projects here at our faculty. My vision is to also support other teams seeking funding and help them apply for more projects. It is something we have started in the last year when my team started helping other research teams in preparations and submissions of new projects through our Project Management unit in the BRT.


Dr. Hammond: The Faculty has a strong international focus. How do you envision strengthening and expanding international collaboration and research exchange programs?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: As faculty we have joint research programs, student exchange initiatives, and collaborative projects with renowned institutions worldwide. This all belongs mainly to the expertise of Vice-dean for International Relations. The only thing, which I envision from my position is to bring more international experts to visit our faculty and create new research networks.

Private Sector Engagement

Dr. Hammond: Private sector engagement is also vital. How would you encourage collaboration with private enterprises and industries to drive practical applications of research?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: I propose establishing more partnerships with private enterprises, aligning research projects with industry needs, and creating platforms for knowledge transfer. My vision is to encourage an ecosystem where research findings translate into practical applications, benefiting both the private sector and the broader community. One of the examples I have been working on recently is the topic of agrivoltaics, which I am developing with partners from the private sector. At the moment, we a mainly working in the Czech Republic. However, such a topic has massive potential for tropical regions. There are other great examples done by various teams at our faculty. So, I will try to look for more ways how to engage the private sector with our researchers.

Measuring Research Impact:

Dr. Hammond: You've contributed significantly to the academic research. How do you propose measuring and enhancing the impact of research activities within the Faculty?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: I stress a holistic approach, considering traditional academic metrics alongside a broader assessment reflecting societal, economic, and environmental impact. My vision involves developing key performance indicators for comprehensive impact evaluation. However, this is something that will take time.

Closing Remarks

Dr. Hammond: Is there anything else you'd like to share or emphasize about your new position as Vice-dean for Science, Research and Doctoral Study?

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: I'm enthusiastic about the opportunity. My commitment to helping our faculty to have a collaborative, innovative, and impactful research environment is the main motivation for me. Also, to encourage friendly and encouraging atmosphere.  

Dr. Hammond: Thank you, Assoc. Prof. Roubík, for sharing your insights. We appreciate your time and look forward for your time as Vice-dean for Science, Research and Doctoral Study.

Assoc. Prof. Roubík: Thank you! Let me maybe also mention the motto of Biogas Research Team says: “Fearless minds, endless potential”, which I believe can fit for the whole faculty.

Thank you Assoc. Prof. Hynek Roubík for providing your time to share with us your thoughts on the new role as Vice-Dean of Science, Research and Doctoral Studies for the FTA!

Stay tuned for more interview style blogs with Assoc. Prof. Hynek Roubík where we will cover his journey in this new role and much more.

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