Youth science receives a quarter million euros from CU

Bratislava, 19 July 2021: In 2021, Comenius University Bratislava continued to award CU Grants to support the research of young scientists. A total of 249,210 Euros were distributed among 257 projects of PhD students in the areas of science, teaching and the arts. Comenius University has a 25 year tradition in supporting young scientists, although due to the pandemic it now had to forgo the accompanying ceremony for two years straight.

20. 07. 2021 11.24 hod.
By: CU External Relations Office

PhD students submitted 441 projects, 257 out of which were selected to receive CU support at an average grant size of 970 euros. PhD students of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics and of the Faculty of Medicine were, as before, the most frequent applicants in the CU Grants scheme.

One of the successful projects studies the concentration of toxic metals and semi-metals in the soil of Bratislava’s community gardens. It was conceived by Zuzana Pilková from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University and will measure the concentrations of arsenic, copper, lead, zinc and mercury. In the urban environment these substances mainly originate from human activities such as transport, heating, waste incineration and industry. The research will assess the impact of these activities on community vegetable cultivation and the resulting risks. "In Slovakia, this is the first research of its kind and its output is immediately applicable in practice," says Zuzana Pilková.

New teaching materials intended mainly for primary school history teachers are developed by PhD student Jaroslav Durec from the Faculty of Education of Comenius University. Using the lives of notable figures of the Slovak history as examples, he wants to refresh the teaching of history. The 20th century names include well-known ones like Andrej Hlinka, Milan Hodža, Alexander Dubček and M.R. Štefánik, but also a number of lesser-known people who contributed to Slovak history. "The output will be a short series of online teaching and methodical guidelines on Slovak historic figures of the 20th century," explains Jaroslav Durec.

Monika Vojteková, a doctoral student at the Faculty of Management of Comenius University, studies work from home and the challenges that this form of employment means for employees. "This form of work is expected to be used more frequently even once the pandemic goes away," says the PhD student. She is mainly interested in issues like human resources management, evaluation of employee performance and factors affecting the satisfaction, motivation and performance of employees who work from home.

Oľga Duraníková from the Medical Faculty of Comenius University will examine the impact of migraine on the quality of life of health care professionals. Migraine is a disabling neurological disease which also has serious socioeconomic consequences. In addition to treatment-related costs it also has indirect effects due to the loss of labour productivity. "Using a questionnaire, we will evaluate the impact of migraines on the work of health care workers over the last three months," said the PhD student.

The social dignity of people with multiple sclerosis in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is being investigated by Lucia Podolinská from the Jessenius Faculty of Medicine of Comenius University. The restrictions brought about by the pandemic make people with multiple sclerosis even more vulnerable. "My research is based on interviews and focuses on experiencing dignity and on the way in which patients lose it, or try to maintain it," describes Lucia Podolinská. The output should allow health care professionals to focus on this aspect when serving their patients.

"For many young scientists, a CU Grant is their first experience with a research grant application. We want to give them the opportunity to try what it is like and at the same time provide some start-up cash to launch their dissertation research. The competition was really strong this year. I am convinced that the investment will pay off in the form of quality science and in the form of young people prepared to withstand the competition for academic research resources," said the Rector of Comenius University Marek Števček.