New director of prg.ai sets off to shape Prague into an AI hub
Beginning in April, Lukáš Kačena takes over the reins of prg.ai and joins its mission of establishing Prague as a European centre of artificial intelligence. Lenka Kučerová, the association's former managing director, remains an important pillar of the team and will focus on building the local AI community.
Lukáš Kačena takes over the organisation management from April 2022. He takes up the leadership of prg.ai with a vision to further develop its activities, expand the services provided to members and raise the profile of the Czech innovation scene in the world. In previous years, Lukáš has worked as a consultant for the public administration, focusing on strategy development and research, development, and innovation policy. He also headed the programme development and management section at the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic.
I see great potential and space for growth in prg.ai’s activities, which I would like to take full advantage of in our joint effort to turn Prague into a focal point of artificial intelligence and innovation in Europe.
“Artificial intelligence is one of today’s most promising fields. I see great potential and space for growth in prg.ai’s activities, which I would like to take full advantage of in our joint effort to turn Prague into a focal point of artificial intelligence and innovation in Europe. I am excited to be part of an ambitious vision with a nationwide impact, and I look forward to working with leaders in the field,” he noted upon his first days at prg.ai.
Three years at the heart of Prague’s innovation scene
The creation of prg.ai was initiated by a group of academics from the Czech Technical University in Prague, Charles University, and the Czech Academy of Sciences. These institutions founded prg.ai in the spring of 2019, with financial support from the City of Prague.
“In March 2022, we celebrated three years of the association’s operation. In that time, we have managed to build a stable and professional team, turn prg.ai into a recognised non-profit organisation, establish ourselves in the media space, and become the heart of the Prague AI scene. All of this has been achieved thanks to the hard work and passion of Lenka Kučerová — a big thanks goes to her, as well as to all the members of the team, which is gradually growing,” said Michal Pěchouček from FEL CTU.
“I am very pleased that she will continue to share her valuable experience in building and strengthening the Czech AI ecosystem,” added the Chairman of the Executive Board of prg.ai and CTO of Avast. “At the same time, I look forward to working with Lukáš, as I believe he will take prg.ai a step further.”
In March 2022, we celebrated three years of the association’s operation. In that time, we have managed to build a stable and professional team, turn prg.ai into a recognised non-profit organisation, establish ourselves in the media space, and become the heart of the Prague AI scene.
In her new role as Community and Partnership Development Manager, Lenka Kučerová will focus on building the prg.ai ecosystem and expanding the ranks of prg.ai’s members and partners.
“I believe that we have managed to establish ourselves as a key player in the Prague AI scene. I am very much looking forward to using my experience and contacts to the fullest in strengthening our community activities,” she shares her plans for the upcoming period. These activities include connecting various actors at home and abroad, collecting information about the growing AI scene in Prague and sharing it with those who can benefit most, mapping the needs and overall state of the ecosystem, organising events, and creating opportunities for various forms of collaboration.
“It is clear from the experience of similar projects abroad that an innovation ecosystem based on openness and cohesion is essential for realising our ambitious vision,” Lenka Kučerová believes.
Connecting the dots
At prg.ai, we strive to develop the potential of students and researchers, help translate scientific knowledge into practice, build Prague’s AI community, support entrepreneurship, introduce the public to the benefits and risks of AI, and showcase the successes of Prague’s AI scene at home and around the world.
In an effort to show the wider public what AI can do, how it works, and what benefits and risks it brings, we brought the globally popular online course Elements of AI to the Czech Republic in cooperation with the Czech Technical University, Charles University and the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic.
Together with four faculties from two Czech universities, we have worked to create a unique inter-university programme called prg.ai Minor. In three years of operation, more than three hundred young talents have applied, over one hundred of them have been selected for study, and two cohorts of successful graduates have received coveted prg.ai Minor diplomas. The prg.ai Minor community also benefits from meetups with inspiring personalities of the Czech AI scene, connecting the scientific, business, and student spheres.
We also encourage entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ideas. We have compiled a new database gathering all educational, research, and entrepreneurial activities which enrich the Prague AI scene. It currently counts 114 successful startups and companies, 52 research groups, 17 promising VCs and accelerators, and 12 established university specialisations. We update the database on a regular basis.
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