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University gets millions of crowns for young scientists

Masaryk University is inundated with young researchers. It has received 360 million crowns for the employment of a hundred postdocs.

An MU project has made it possible for the university to employ several dozen 'postdocs', i.e. holders of new doctorates, allowing it to strengthen successful groups of scientists as well as to start up new teams. Last year the university received almost 200 million crowns from European funds for the employment of sixty young scientists from the Czech Republic and abroad. It has now obtained an additional 160 million crowns, thanks to which it will attract another forty postdocs.

“Both projects have a major impact on basic and applied research in the Region of South Moravia and the Czech Republic as a whole," says Petr Dvořák, MU's Vice-Rector for Research. “They enable us to bring to or keep at the university promising young scientists, who often come up with the best ideas, have as yet no major concerns beyond science, and so are a force that drives science forward all over the world."

The young scientists are heading for eight of Masaryk University's nine faculties, most notably the Faculty of Science and the laboratories of CEITEC MU. Most of the positions advertised have attracted dozens of applicants from the Czech Republic and abroad. “It is a good sign for Masaryk University that almost 60% of applicants are graduates of other universities. This is a very important indicator of growth in the quality of science," says Vice-Rector Dvořák, before going on to add: “It is generally the case that a postdoc brings to the workplace new ideas, experience and methods, and all this is more effective if he or she comes from elsewhere."

The long-term development of the scientific infrastructure of the whole region is behind this great interest in scientific work at Masaryk University. “Young scientists are also attracted to research projects conducted at global level, the type of thing their future mentors – often top scientists who have returned to the Czech Republic after a spell abroad – are involved in here," says Lumír Krejčí, scientific head of the project.

Both projects for the employing of postdocs are funded by the Education for Competitiveness Operational Programme, which lasts until 2015. It is hoped that the scientists will stay on at the university after the projects end. “We have the chance to make fundamental changes in Czech science," adds Vice-Rector Dvořák.