Lukáš Picek from the Faculty of Applied Sciences was awarded the Joseph Fourier Prize

Press Release Achievements Science

The Joseph Fourier Prize is one of the scientific prizes of the Embassy of France in the Czech Republic. The selection committee recognized Lukáš Picek's work made in the area of computer vision and machine learning.

Young scientists received the scientific prizes of the Embassy of France in the Czech Republic on Thursday, June 22, at the Buquoy Palace in Prague. Lukáš Picek from the Faculty of Applied Sciences of the University of West Bohemia has become the laureate of the Joseph Fourier Prize in Computer Sciences and won first place in this category. The selection committee recognized his work in the field of development of computer vision and machine learning methods.

The scientific prizes, which the French Embassy has been awarding since 1994, are meant to encourage promising young scientists to pursue their scientific careers further and give them the opportunity to build a network of international contacts.

The committee awarded Lukáš Picek from the Department of Cybernetics of the Faculty of Applied Sciences of the University of West Bohemia the first place in the Computer Sciences area for research and development of computer vision and machine learning methods for automatic identification and localization of biological species in the natural environment. "These are applications for recognizing different biological species, such as fungi, animals, or plants. In my research work, I try to find new machine learning and computer vision methods that can be used for these purposes," explains the young scientist, adding that his research has applications not only in biodiversity monitoring but also in nature conservation and potentially in healthcare. "The important thing for me is that the results of my work do not end up in a drawer but are actually being used. For example, we have had applications in operation for several years now for the recognition of fungi and snakes or the detection of the bee mite," adds the award-winning scientist who, for winning the Joseph Fourier Prize, received a financial subsidy from the competition's partner company Atos and a scholarship from the Embassy of France in the Czech Republic that will cover a month's research stay in a French laboratory of his choice.

However, Lukáš Picek could not attend the ceremony, where the French ambassador Alexis Dutertre and Nobel Prize winner Jean-Marie Lehn were present, because he attended a computer vision conference in Vancouver then. Luděk Müller, Head of the Artificial Intelligence Section of the Department of Cybernetics, was therefore substituting for him at the French Embassy.

The Fourier Prize is not the first success for Lukáš Picek. As a Ph.D. student, he won awards for the Svampeatlas (an application for fungi recognition), for a computer system identifying dangerous snake species, for software that automatically detects animals in photos from camera traps in the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania, and for a method for recognizing wheat rust from photographs.

The successful scientist wants to continue to work on projects useful in ecology or species conservation. As he says, environmental protection is a topic that has been close to his heart since childhood. He, therefore, continues to focus on advanced computer vision methods for detecting, identifying, and monitoring animals. He is also studying climate change's impact on bee colonies' state through biological analysis and artificial intelligence. He is also planning a research stay in the USA, where he wants to work on similar topics.

Universities or research institutes nominated a total of 68 candidates for the French Embassy's scientific prizes based on the quality of their scientific work during their doctoral studies. The winners were selected by seven committees composed of 43 Czech and French scientists. The awards were given to 24 male and female candidates in seven categories: Chemistry (Jean-Marie Lehn Prize), Medicine (Albert Schweitzer Prize), Pharmacy (Sanofi Prize), Nuclear Science Research (Henri Becquerel Prize), Computer Sciences (Joseph Fourier Prize), Environmental and Climate Research ("Make Our Planet Great Again" Prize), Social Sciences and Humanities (Jacques Derrida Prize).


The ceremony was attended by French Ambassador Alexis Dutertre.

The award ceremony took place at the Buquoy Palace, where the French Embassy is located.

Joseph Fourier Prize laureates.

The award ceremony was also attended by Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Jean-Marie Lehn.

The French Embassy Science Prizes had 24 laureates this year.

Faculty of Applied Sciences

Fakula aplikovaných věd

01. 07. 2023