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MU brings excellent scientists thanks to MASH grants

The Grant Agency of Masaryk University has opened another round of calls for the prestigious MASH and MASH Junior grants. Their aim is to attract successful scientists to Brno and offer them attractive conditions for the continuation of their long-term research at Masaryk University.

The MUNI Award in Science and Humanities (MASH) is an extraordinary grant offered by the Grant Agency of Masaryk University (GAMU) whose recipient may look forward to up to five years of support in the amount of CZK 5 million per year, along with stable workplace in Brno.

In addition to the main MASH award, Masaryk University is offering, for the third time, the MASH Junior for young scientists and fresh PhD graduates. The key condition for the award is experience from a foreign science institution and evident potential for success in calls for grants by the European Research Council. The new MASH Junior holder will receive a budget of CZK 2 million per year for three years with the possibility for extension by another two.

“The concept of the MUNI Award in Science and Humanities is an excellent opportunity for excellent foreign scientists to work within the environment of our university. We support top scientists through a high budget but also a great degree of freedom in actually spending the resources. Our awards allow us to bring to Masaryk University notable scientists and important projects and to achieve excellent results in science at international levels,” says Vice-Rector for Research and Doctoral Studies Šárka Pospíšilová.

MASH awards have attracted ERC holders and junior scientists

Thanks to the “supergrants” MU has attracted four scientists of international fame. Four years ago the MASH award went to computer scientist and expert in graph theory Daniel Kráľ who is also the holder of two ERC grants. Having relocated from the University of Warwick to the Faculty of Informatics he specialises in the development of mathematical large graph models which represent networks in informatics and are commonly applied in maths.

One year later the award went to British art historian Matthew Rampley who came to Brno from the University of Birmingham. While at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University, the holder of the ERC and MASH grant focuses on inter-war art and architecture in Central Europe and the impacts of political and social events on them.

Two years ago MASH was awarded to astrophysicist Norbert Werner, currently from the Faculty of Science. In his research, he is attempting to find out why there aren’t more stars in space or how black holes affect their surroundings. Thanks to his observations the largest eruption in space known to this date was documented.

As of May computer scientist Jan Křetínský from the Technical University in Munich is a fresh holder of the MASH Award. Křetínský teaches courses in theoretical computer science, such as Verification, Formal languages and automata theory etc. He also manages a team of scientists and is active in research in the area of theoretical computer science.

According to Daniel Kráľ from the Faculty of Informatics, flexibility is the most significant advantage of the MASH award. “It allows me to immediately shift my focus on new ideas and promising topics as they emerge. Most grants do not include this opportunity as they are defined for very specific topics,” he said in an interview for M Magazine.

Norbert Werner has a similar opinion. “MASH is an excellent, flexible project. You cannot really schedule research far ahead; that is not how science works. A brand new aspect may emerge which will force you to change plans, which is exactly what the MASH award allows. Not to mention the fact that it allows you to focus more on research and not on paperwork,” Werner stated in his interview for M Magazine.

In addition to four MASH awards, Masaryk University selected, for the second time, a MASH Junior holder in May – Peter Fabian from the University of Southern California. In last year’s call seven scientists received the MASH Junior grant, while one scientist received the MASH Belarus grant.

Detailed information on the selection procedure and candidate profile can be found on the website of the Grant Agency of Masaryk University. Proposals may be submitted by December 10th. In spring an international evaluation committee will consider the applications and the best candidates will be invited for interviews. The new holders of the MASH and MASH Junior grants will start working at MU in 2023.