The Institute of Entomology is a scientific institution of basic and applied research in areas, in which insects are either in the focus of attention (insect pests, species useful for environment monitoring etc.) or serve as suitable models for the solution of general biological problems.
The Institute was founded on January 1, 1962, by merging two research groups of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences that had existed since 1954: Department of Pathology of the Biological Institute and a detached Laboratory of Entomology. The Institute expanded under the leadership of Vladimír Landa and within a decade it consisted f the Departments of Morphology, Physiology, Pathology, Toxicology, and Ecology. These units were scattered in various locations throughout Prague until 1985 when the whole Institute moved to a new building on the Academy campus in the town of Ceské Budejovice, about 160 km south of Prague. Recently, since 1.1. 2006, the Institute became a part of the Biology Centre, Academy of Sciences, CR.
The present staff of more than hundred occupies 82 assigned positions (some colleagues and the PhD students have only part-time employment). A combination of specialists ranging from molecular biologists to field ecologists is the major asset of the Institute. In conjunction with the University of South Bohemia, the Institute received accreditation for the schooling of PhD students in the fields of entomology, ecology, genetics, animal physiology and developmental biology, and in molecular and cell biology. Extensive international collaboration is another characteristics of the Institute; it includes work on joint research projects, education of foreign PhD students, organisation of scientific meetings, and publication of the European Journal of Entomology . Since 1962, the Institute educated more than 150 PhDs and organised over 30 international meetings. International impact of conducted research is evidenced from the rate of citations of the works of Institute’s staff. According to the Science Citation Index, the work of each staff member is cited about 15 times annually. A database of papers published by the Institute staff is available interactively.
The Institute was originally designed as an institution of applied science and has generated more than 150 patents applicable in agriculture and forestry. They concerned production of bacterial and fungal bioagents for insect pest control, introduction of pheromones for pest signalling, use of parasitoids and predators in the aphid control, development and applications of the analogues of insect juvenile hormone, and others. Discovery of the immunosuppressive cyclosporine was a very important side-product of the research on entomopathogenic fungi. Other practical contributions of the Institute were made in the area of nature conservation and environment protection. Monitoring of insects in Czechoslovak rivers, which has been going on for nearly fifty years, provides crucial background for the present attempts to clean up the waters. Long-term records of insects occurring in several wetlands are important for the assessment of climatic changes and for landscape management.