28 Nov 2023, 10:42

Newsletter for PhD students and Postdocs

Dear PhD students and Postdocs,

Even though it hasn't looked like it long, winter is here! But more than the winter fun, you're now engaged in a busy study life, including lectures, research, work in the laboratories and the (slow) writing of dissertations. But take a moment for yourself and your self-education during this busy period. Tips included in this newsletter, full of invitations to conferences, competitions and social events, will help you achieve this.

Fresh News from the Faculty of Science:

At the last moment, we decided to add to this Newsletter the latest news about the prestigious award Česká hlava for Martin Toul. This award is the highest honour for Czech scientists, and in the past, it has been awarded to Antonín Holý, Josef Koutecký, Václav Hořejší, Pavel Hobza and other great personalities of science. The Veolia Doctorandus Prize for Natural Sciences, awarded to young scientists for research in the natural sciences, was won by Martin Toul from the Faculty of Science at Masaryk University. His research focused on the function of the protein staphylokinase, which is used to treat stroke. Martin Toul has elucidated the action of the rohoro protein, which makes it possible to increase the effectiveness of this protein in treatment up to tenfold.

This year, Martin successfully completed his PhD studies in the Molecular and Cell Biology and Genetics programme and defended his dissertation in the European Doctorate mode as the MUNI Mendel Doctorandus participant. During his studies, Martin won several different awards. Winning the Česká hlava award is an excellent conclusion to his doctoral studies at Masaryk University.

Congratulations to Martin for winning this prestigious award!


Save the Date

WellTogether: Belonging and Inclusion Conference – Conference of inclusivity and wellbeing across different levels of Education, November 30 – December 1, 2023, MU Faculty of Education, Poříčí 31, Brno.
Held in English / Web

Master Brain – Workshop, December 6, 2023, (9:00 – 12:00) CERPEK training room (room no. 328), Komenského náměstí 2, Brno.
Held in English / Web

Konference pod stromeček – The traditional pre-Christmas meeting of Czech scientists working abroad, December 22, 2023 (12:00) Charles University, Celetná 20, Prague or Online.
Held in Czech / Web

GFFA Science Slam 2024 – Conference, January 19, 2024, (Berlin exhibition grounds, hall 23a, Berlin, Germany)
Held in English / Web

World Congress on Controversies in Neurology – March 21-23, 2024 (London, UK)
Held in English / Web

Advent Meeting with the Lighting of the Christmas Tree

Join us for the Christmas tree lighting event in the Botanical Garden.
The Faculty of Science and the Society of Naturalists have prepared a friendly gathering with a peaceful Christmas atmosphere, where you can listen to the tones of Christmas carols or succumb to the smell of mulled wine with your colleagues. Your children can try one of the competitions or craft workshops. We will light the Christmas tree together to kick off the Advent season.

When: December 4, 2023 (16:30)
Where: Faculty of Science Kotlářská, Botanical Garden

Soft Skills Training

Interdisciplinary Seminar for PhD Students

In the autumn semester, the Interdisciplinary Life Science Seminar Series hosted several distinguished scientists who met with students, Principal Investigators of MUNI, and shared the results of their work in the form of lectures. If you missed them, you still have a chance to catch the last two lectures of the semester:

  • Liam Dolan, November 30, 2023, (Austrian Academy of Sciences) "De Novo Generation of Cell Polarity and the Generation of Stem Cell Niches" Web
  • Kai Tittmann, December 7, 2023, (Georg-August University Göttingen, Germany) "Lysine-cysteine Redox Switches in Proteins" Web

    *Dana Branzei's talk has been rescheduled for the Spring semester (March 14, 2023).

Lectures are held in B11/132 at 16:00 and are in English.

Don't forget to enrol in Life Science Seminar for next semester under code XD010!

Competition for PhD Students / Postdocs

L'Oréal-UNESCO supports women in science!

Join the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science competition, which for 18 years has been aiming to support young female scientists financially and thus facilitate their career path in the scientific research environment. Three winners will share CZK 600 000, which they can use to support and develop their careers. The prize also includes media training and the opportunity to present their research to the professional community. The conditions for participation are age up to 40 years and a doctoral degree.

Interested women can apply for this year's competition until December 31, 2023, using the platform at www.prozenyvevede.cz, where you can also find other conditions of the competition.

The Jiřina Michlová Award

All active PhD students and graduates who defended their doctoral thesis no more than a year ago can now apply for the Jiřina Michlová Award, organised by the Learned Society of the Czech Republic. The student applies for the competition with one original paper (not a collection of papers) by e-mail, using a single PDF sent to ucena.spol@kav.cas.cz, containing the following sections:

- the submitted work (it can be a professional article, a student paper or a study created exclusively for the prize)
- a popularisation text based on the attached original work; shorter texts should be written as if they were intended for, for example, the journal Vesmír
- a scanned PDF of an assessment of the work by an expert in the field, such as a supervisor, with their signature and identifying details, which also describes the student's contribution to the work submitted.

The evaluation criteria are originality and the student's contribution to the submitted research work. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2024. The awards will be given to the winners at the General Assembly of the Learned Society. The submitted competition text can be sent in Czech as well as in English. More info on web.

Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators

Join the Young Scientist Competition in Molecular Biology, which recognises outstanding contributions to biomedical research based on molecular biology methods, including new analytical concepts. If you already have a PhD degree and are under 35, please prepare an essay about your research and any other supporting documents you can submit to the contest. (application form)

The winner will receive the opportunity to publish their research in The Nature and a cash prize of €20,000!

Applications for the 2023 award will be accepted until January 15, 2024.

Fellowship Programme for PhD Students

The Barrande Fellowship Programme – Open Call!

The French Institute in Prague and the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, with the support of the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research, are announcing the launch of the Barrande Fellowship Programme 2024, the exchange mobility programme for PhD students between the Czech Republic and France.

The programme also offers scholarships to support "cotutelles" and short-term research stays. Students must be registered either at a Czech University (for mobilities to France) or a French University (for mobilities to the Czech Republic). The scholarship does not require knowledge of the French language. More info on Web.

The deadline for application: January 28, 2024

Start your Career at a Prestigious Global University

Be a part of the 12th annual competition to win one-year scholarships for internships at prestigious foreign universities! The competition is aimed at young scientists who have already completed or will soon complete their PhD studies. The prerequisites are age up to 35 years and the best project in the field of organic, bioorganic or medicinal chemistry. Share your project with the Experientia Foundation and join the list of successful scholarship holders who can research worldwide and publish in the top journals, thanks to the Foundation. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2024. For more information, visit the Web.


Life After PhD At CEITEC

We cordially invite you to the last session of the Life After PhD series of this year:

This time, we will welcome Masaryk University alum Ing. et Ing. Jan Adam, PhD, the R&D Manager of the Radiopharmaceuticals division of ÚJV - the biggest producer of PET radiopharmaceuticals in Czechia. Jan excels in his professional journey and popularises science through lectures, interviews, and articles. Join to gain insights into Jan's experiences, challenges, and valuable advice for aspiring scientists. This is a unique opportunity to broaden your horizons in possible career paths after your PhD.

The in-person lecture will take place on December 12, 2023, (15:30 - 16:30 in E35/211)
Additionally, an online connection will be available for those unable to attend in person.

To secure your spot, please register for the event by December 8.

The event will be held in English.

The Advent Concert of Masaryk University

On behalf of the Rector of Masaryk University, we would like to cordially invite you to the Advent concert, which will take place on December 6, 2023, at 19:30 in the Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Mendlovo náměstí 1b, Brno).

The Masaryk University Choir organises the event in cooperation with the chamber choir Ensemble Versus at the Institute of Musicology of the Faculty of Arts. Free admission.

When: December 6, 2023, (19:30)
Where: The Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Mendlovo náměstí 1b, Brno).

Start-up Sponsored by the Experientia Foundatin

Establish a Research Group with a Start-up Grant of 2 Million CZK / Year!

The Experientia Foundation announces the next round of the competition for a three-year start-up grant of CZK 2 million per year for young scientists working in the field of organic, bioorganic or medicinal chemistry. Research groups supported by the Experientia Foundation have already been established at 3 Czech university faculties of science. If you are a young scientist (max. seven years since completion of your PhD studies) with at least one year of foreign experience, Send your project to the competition, which the Foundation can significantly help you with your start-up. The host institution will donate an additional 700,000 CZK per year to the grant recipient. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2024. For more info, check the Web.

Interesting Reading from the Faculty of Science

Students for Students

Text/Photo: Jitka Vaňáčková (abridged)

Since October 2022, PhD students at RECETOX have joined forces and formed the PhD Union aims to improve students' quality of life and studies in a transparent and open way. PhD students were represented during official RECETOX and faculty meetings by Ishita Virmani and Ludovic Mayer, who were the representatives for the first academic year.

What challenges have you faced?

I: A big challenge for us was the PhD conference that we organised. We tried to build on the critique that the students gave us last year. We try to be as open as possible to students' comments, so we constantly ask for feedback. This year we have prepared a brochure for the conference as a novelty. The booklet contained the official programme, including the schedule and presentations' abstracts. We were inspired by the conference books. The second novelty was the poster evaluation and the competition for the best poster. We strive for maximum transparency and digitalisation. The voting for the best poster was done via mobile phone, with the help of students with programming skills.

L: Part of the PhD is to teach 100 hours, but it can also be mentoring a student or preparing materials for a class. So, students helped us as part of this "obligation." We met with the students regularly to keep track of their progress and inform us of what stage of the "project" they were in. It's great that we all give each other feedback this way. Everyone contributed based on their strength and skills. It was a great experience for all of us, and those preparing for next year's conference will have something to build on. We also see it as a beneficial career experience. It's training and gaining management skills.

Have you taken any courses to help you in dealing with conflict situations?

I: It has to be said that it was nothing major, but when we saw that an unpleasant exchange of views was about to take place, we asked the students to vote by raising their hands. Based on our experience, the most important thing is to engage people. We are delighted and grateful that they are voicing their opinions and insight on different situations, which moves us in the right direction.

Could you indicate what you have been able to resolve that you are proud of?

I: I would like to mention MUNI Mendel Doctorandus (MMD). This programme started at the same time that our union was founded. This programme contained many conditions that PhDs had to meet. Students had to fulfil them to continue.

L: The study was so demanding that everyone complained that it was too much. Students were under much pressure because significant demands were placed on them. We made it a point to negotiate better conditions. It was a very long process that took several months, but we cut the demands on the students in half. (abridged)

Full Article


 Sites we recommend to follow:

Develop Your Skills  Externí odkaz

MUNI Mendel Doctorandus  Externí odkaz


Life Science Seminar  Externí odkaz

Competitions for Students  Externí odkaz

All issues of Newsletters for PhD students and Postdocs

Distributed by: Office for Doctoral Studies, Quality, Academic Affairs and Internationalization


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Masaryk University

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