Palacký University Olomouc - Genius loci

The second oldest university in the Czech Republic, founded in 1573, located in the second largest preserved monument reservation in the country. A modern academy located within unique Baroque surroundings found on the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage, where personalities such as Mozart, Freud, Mendel, and Mahler spent portions of their lives. This is Palacký University Olomouc (UP), which together with the city of Olomouc forms an unmistakeable whole. Genius loci.

The pulsing combination of a historically important centre, a progressive campus, extensive city parks and countless cafés, pubs, wine bars, and restaurants has even been noted by the New York Times, which lauded Olomouc as a good tourist alternative to overcrowded Prague. The famous tourist guide Lonely Planet has listed Olomouc twice among the hidden gems of Europe. Olomouc’s atmosphere is influenced to a major extent by the fact that it has the highest concentration of university students per capita in the country. UP students make up twenty percent of Olomouc’s inhabitants.

Colourful, international, successful

In 2019, roughly 22,000 students were registered for studies at UP. Students can choose from 270 study programmes, with 97 taught in languages other than Czech. In 2018, there were 4045 foreign students from 107 countries studying here, creating a remarkably young, inspirational, and multicultural university and city environment. UP has been focusing heavily on internationalisation in recent years (in 2018 it boasted 360 foreign scientists and academics), including international collaboration. In 2019, its efforts were rewarded with the prestigious European Prize for Internationalisation from the European Association for International Education (EAIE).

Regarding international competition, UP regularly places among the top three Czech universities in the global context. In the latest Shanghai Rankings, UP placed within 501st and 600th places, in the QS World University Rankings it placed within 601st and 650th places, in the THE World University Rankings it placed between the 601st and 800th places. This means that UP ranks within the top 5–10% of universities in the world. UP also placed high in specific global rankings: in the THE New Europe rankings, which rank universities from countries which entered the European Union after 2004, UP holds 10th place.

Famous alumni, cutting-edge research

UP is made up of eight faculties: the Sts Cyril and Methodius Theological Faculty, the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Physical Culture, the Faculty of Law, and the Faculty of Health Sciences. Famous alumni have graced its halls: Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics; Bohdan Pomahač, the surgeon who carried out the first complete face transplant in the USA; the former tennis star and now psychologist Helena Suková; violin virtuoso Jiří Pavlica; jazz pianist Emil Viklický; world-famous photographer Jindřich Štreit; and the chemist Pavel Hobza, one of the most highly cited Czech academics world-wide.

UP puts a strong emphasis on applied research. Five outstanding research institutions are located at UP. The Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine focusses on the problem of tumorous and infectious diseases. The Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials focusses on the development of nanomaterials, which have applications in medicine, biotechnologies, the food industry, and environmental protection. The Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research focusses for example on the areas of genetics, plant genetics, and bioenergetics. The Centre for Kinanthropological Research and the BALUO Application Centre carry out comprehensive research into sport and movement.

Significant sociocultural activities and Western-style trends

Olomouc’s university also makes substantial efforts to fulfil its third role in outreach to society, including popularising science. Fort Science, an interactive science museum thronged by 100,000 visitors annually, was founded at UP. UP has also founded the UniON Civic University, providing public lectures on various themes throughout the Olomouc region free of charge; the Children’s University; and the University of the Third Age, for students aged 50 and over. UP also runs the acclaimed Academia Film Olomouc festival of documentary films, with visits by world-famous scientists and academics, and which has over 7000 visitors – not to mention the many sociocultural events which add life to Olomouc’s public spaces.

UP is inspired by Western-style trends. Its UP Endowment Fund is unique in the Czech Republic, supporting young scientists in their ambitious projects; university solidarity is fostered by its Alumni Club; the university shop UPoint sells special university merchandise, including its own UP fashion collection. UP also strives to improve social awareness. The group Sustainable Palacký promotes environmental issues and permanent sustainable development, while the UP Volunteer Centre supports charity and volunteering aspects of UP.