The 2024 JUNIOR STAR grant has been awarded to astrophysicist Michal Zajaček

This year, the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic will support 17 projects as part of the JUNIOR STAR challenge, one of which will go to astrophysicists at Masaryk University. The young researcher being supported is Dr. Michal Zajaček, who has received funding for his project ‘Stars in Galactic Nuclei: Interrelation with Massive Black Holes’.

8 Nov 2023 Leoš Verner

Astrophysicist RNDr. Michal Zajaček, PhD. received JUNIOR STAR 2024. Photo: Michal Zajaček's archive.

As part of the project, the team led by Michal Zajaček will investigate how stars moving in galaxy centres influence the activity of supermassive black holes. At the same time, black holes in galactic nuclei can also influence the evolution, and consequently the appearance and properties, of stars in their vicinity. A new research group, supported by the JUNIOR STAR grant, will focus on this complicated relationship between stars and supermassive black holes.

Michal Zajaček, who has been working in the Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics at Masaryk University’s Faculty of Science since 2021, is engaged in research into galactic centres and active galactic nuclei. After studying physics and astrophysics at Charles University in Prague he continued with his PhD studies at the University of Cologne under the guidance of Prof. Andreas Eckart, where he defended his Doctoral thesis on the Interaction between the interstellar medium and the black hole environment. Between 2017 and 2019, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, where he studied the precession of jets together with Dr. Silke Britzen. Up until 2021, when he left for the Masaryk University, he worked in the group of Prof. Bożena Czerny. He rounded off his professional work, which mainly focused on mapping the broad line region (BLR) in the UV spectra of more distant quasars, with a series of articles in collaboration with the world-renowned cosmologist Prof. Bharat Ratra of Kansas State University.

The JUNIOR STAR competition, which is now in its fourth year, is an opportunity for budding scientists to become scientifically independent and to enrich the Czech environment with new research topics. Thanks to these grants, Czech science has a chance to attract foreign researchers now working at prestigious universities, whether it be in the United States, Great Britain, Norway or Germany. JUNIOR STAR grants are evaluated by foreign scientists who guarantee the expertise and objectivity of the evaluation.

JUNIOR STAR grants are intended for excellent new researchers within eight years of obtaining their PhD, who have already published in prestigious international journals and who have significant experience abroad. You can find a list of all the projects supported here.

More articles

All articles

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.