Masaryk University has conferred awards on its most successful scientists for the first time. The board of the new Programme in Support of Research has selected seven experts, each of whom will receive prize money for their work.
G.J. Mendel Prize
The main prize for outstanding research results of international significance – the G.J. Mendel Prize – goes to Professor Milan Brázdil, who last year published a paper in the prestigious magazine Cortex that explains the essence of the phenomenon known as déjà vu.
Déjà vu is an experience by which we find a given situation fleetingly familiar although at the same time we realize that this feeling of familiarity is unfounded – in fact it is a false memory. Under Prof. Brázdil's leadership experts from the Faculty of Medicine and Ceitec at Masaryk University have proved that the origin of this phenomenon is connected with the size of brain structures involved in the securing of memory, showing that in those who have never experienced déjà vu this part of the brain (known as the hippocampus) is statistically significantly smaller than it is in those who have. This finding has met with extraordinary international acclaim.
Prizes for scientists under 35
The Prize for Outstanding Research Results for young scientists under 35 in the natural sciences and medicine went to Michal Masařík of the Department of Pathological Physiology for his long-term work in biology and new diagnostic approaches to the treatment of prostate cancer.
The prize for the social sciences and humanities was conferred on Anna Ševčíková of the Institute for Research on Children, Youth and Family, whose work addresses human behaviour and the Internet. Some of her many publications are on the topic of cyberbullying.
The prize for economics and informatics was conferred on Tomáš Brázdil of the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science, whose research contributes to the creation of methods and tools for ensuring the proper functioning of computer systems and the detecting of errors and deficiencies at various stages of their development.
In the latest period of an international scholarship competition Jan Bouda of the Faculty of Informatics achieved extraordinary results. He receives the award for being the first coordinator from Masaryk University to be granted a project on the 7th EU Framework Programme. Named RAQUEL, it addresses the support of new and high-risk ideas that change existing technological trends.
For long-term outstanding research results the university conferred a prize on David Šmahel of the Institute for Research on Children, Youth and Family, who specializes in the research of cyberspace and has built an internationally renowned team at MU that addresses this issue.
The second award in this category went to Mojmír Šob of CEITEC MU and the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science, who is interested in theoretical chemistry and condensed matter physics and the quantum-mechanical modelling of materials. He is the pioneer of a number of original, practically applicable methods of computation for the study of properties of new materials and is one of the university's most oft-cited scientists.
The Programme in Support of Research also includes the assessment of interdisciplinary research projects. This year a total of five inter-faculty teams will receive money from the MU Grant Agency.