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Research Breakfast brings human stories and motivation

The Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University started the series of Research Breakfasts in the spring semester. Rector Martin Bareš appeared as the guest in May.

Research Breakfast took place at Masaryk University Campus Library

"Our idea is to share interesting stories of people who have already experienced something and can motivate colleagues who are at the beginning of their careers," said the initiator of the morning talks and host of the Research Breakfast, Tomáš Kašpárek, Vice-Dean for Research, PhD Studies and Institutional Development. Among the first guests at the beginning of the semester were researcher Tomáš Bárta and histologist and embryologist Aleš Hampl, as well as molecular biologist Zdeněk Andrysík, who returned to the Faculty of Medicine after several years in the USA.

“We are interested in a spontaneous conversation about the guests’ international experience and research. For me, it is important to tell a story and convey something to the audience. Then it depends on the situation whether we are more interested in scientific assessment, applied research or the guest’s life story. At the same time, we want to present the key issues that the faculty deals with, such as preparing grant applications for the Czech Science Foundation,” says Tomáš Kašpárek.

He introduced Rector Martin Bareš as a person who gained his valuable international experience as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Minnesota in the USA. “It was interesting to have the opportunity to compare the Czech and American educational systems,” recalled Martin Bareš, who specialises in neurology. He said that he had travelled to the US with his family, which was not easy, but that he had found the university environment to be very welcoming and that there were many opportunities to get involved in university life. Professionally, the prospect of doing science and being in constant contact with the field and the local hospital system was important to him. In America, he experienced a healthy competitive environment, which he believes is very important for any scientist’s career. “It is an experience I would recommend to anyone,” says Martin Bareš. His stay in the USA later became an inspiration for how to pursue excellence in research at Masaryk University.

Rector Martin Bareš spoke with students after the debate.

On his return, he put what he had learned to good use as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. One of the visions he was able to realise in this position is the modern Simulation Centre of the Faculty of Medicine. Asked by Tomáš Kašpárek about well-being and work-life balance, Martin Bareš noted that his current position as rector means that he is always at work. He explained that he maintains the high pace of work by making sure he gets enough sleep, spending time with his family and taking the opportunity to get out of the office and meet people, most recently at the university-wide MUNI DAY.

During the breakfast, which was held in an informal and friendly atmosphere, Martin Bareš also hinted at how he sees his future in three years’ time, when his term as Rector ends. “I would like to continue my profession, work at the hospital and participate in the training of our future doctors,” he said. He would also like to build on the work he has done so far in obtaining grants and access to cutting-edge research.

The Faculty of Medicine will continue its series of Research Breakfasts with scientists, academics and students in the next academic year. The plan is to hold the English-language events once a month. “In June, we will have an interview with my colleague Lenka Bešše, who came to our faculty from Switzerland to set up her own research group. We are interested in her views on the Faculty of Medicine and its work as someone coming from outside, as well as a comparison of her experiences here and around the world. All this can inspire us,” says Tomáš Kašpárek.