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First Year of Prestigious MUNI Awards for Junior Researchers

Masaryk University continues in its grant programme intended for promising researchers and introduces a major change. From this year, the support will also extend to young researchers through the MUNI Award in Science and Humanities JUNIOR.

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The scheme is designed for research workers of up to forty years of age who have an exceptional research potential. Specifically junior researchers expressed their great interest over the past years in a grant scheme similar to the traditional MUNI Award in Science and Humanities (MASH), according to the Grant Agency of Masaryk University. The MASH distributes five million Czech crowns in five years, whereby Masaryk University supports promising Czech and foreign researchers with international experience. The grant programme is announced by the university through its Grant Agency for the fourth time, and applications may be submitted until the end of the calendar year. This year, the competition is open also to junior researchers in the new category of MASH JUNIOR. The beneficiary will obtain the grant amounting to 2 million Czech crowns for the maximum period of five years.

“Based on the demand, which pleases us a lot, we have decided to motivate and to support also promising younger candidates. For the first time in history, we are opening the competition for the MUNI Award in Science and Humanities JUNIOR, aiming at the creation of conditions for young researchers with a promising potential to succeed in the contest for the European Research Council grants. The call is addressed to external and internal applicants who have experience with work at a research institution abroad,” says the Vice-Rector for Research and Doctoral Studies Šárka Pospíšilová.

The concept of MUNI Award in Science and Humanities is unique among Czech universities. Masaryk University wishes to motivate top researchers, and therefore provides not only a large financial sum, but also free hand in utilizing the funds. These are conditions that motivate renowned international researchers to move to Brno and to achieve exceptional research results in the long time horizon.

The MUNI Award is targeted in particular to holders of the European Research Council grants or comparable individual grants. The award may also be granted to researchers who have not yet succeeded in winning the ERC funds, but who will strive to gain them in the recent future.

“The MASH is a grant scheme for those researchers whose excellent qualities are evidenced by their career and publications. The winner will work at Masaryk University as the main employment,” specifies Vice-Rector Pospíšilová.

Masaryk University currently employs three holders of the MUNI Award. The Faculty of Science hired the astrophysicist Norbert Werner in July this year. The Slovak scientist, who has worked at a number of world universities, is looking for answers to the questions like: Why aren’t there more stars in the universe or how do black holes affect the environment? The largest recorded eruption in the universe has recently been documented thanks to his observations. The expert on graph theory Daniel Kráľ moved from the University of Warwick to the MU Faculty of Informatics, and the specialist in interwar art and architecture Matthew Rampley from the University of Birmingham was engaged by the MU Faculty of Arts in the past few years. Both of them transferred their prestigious ERC grant projects to MUNI.

The past three calls met with large interest, and therefore the Grant Agency of Masaryk University expects dozens of high-quality applications this year, too. Those interested are invited to apply by the end of the calendar year. The international selection committee will evaluate the applications in the spring, and subsequently interviews with the shortlisted candidates will be held. The fourth MUNI Award holder and the first winners of MUNI Award JUNIOR should start their engagement at Masaryk University during next year. Detailed information is available at: