The Palacký University Endowment Fund (UP EF) offers opportunity, resources, and knowledge to talented students who want to try their hand at running their own scientific and artistic projects. The latest, ninth call for applications for support will be open from 12 February to 31 March 2024.
Long-term and continuous work with talented students is one of the priorities of Palacký University Olomouc. The UP EF activities have been a great testament for years that this effort makes sense. Students not only obtain funding for internships, literature, and necessary equipment, but also a vast amount of knowledge. All UP faculties have shown interest: last year, nine successful students from the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, Science, Theology, Physical Culture, and Health Sciences were able to use a total of almost €30,000 for their projects. In total, five dozen UP students have been given the opportunity to test their skills and learn something new.
“In order to support talented students, we raise money from corporate and individual donors, as well as from our important supporters who care about the development of young talents and society as a whole. Komerční banka [Commercial Bank] has been the general partner of the UP EF for some time now. Projects that are to be supported are selected by the fund’s Board of Directors; our important criteria include the impact of the project and its application in practice,” explained UP EF director Jiří Rudolf.
Students who have received support in previous years highly recommend their colleagues to take an interest in what the UP EF has to offer. As they emphasise, even if you do not succeed the first time, you should not give up. “I dare to say that thanks to the UP EF challenges I’ve sorted my ideas and managed to define my goals precisely. Thanks to the financial support, I had the opportunity to attend two foreign internships at a prestigious international workplace, the Institute of Science and Technology Austria in Klosterneuburg, in the workgroup of Prof Jiří Friml, and also to buy the materials I needed for my project. I have applied several times, however it didn’t work out immediately. At first, I took it as a huge personal failure, but it was this failure that made me get on with my project. It’s an interesting opportunity for all students; in addition to receiving financial resources necessary for the implementation of their own projects, it also provides valuable contacts and an opportunity to develop one’s skills and abilities through courses organised by the UP Career Centre,” said Ludmila Včelařová from the Faculty of Arts, summarising her experience.
Adam Matěj, her colleague from the same faculty, pointed out that working on such a project expands the possibilities for future employment. “I applied to the open call of the UP Endowment Fund to expand my research and try to run my own project. The first new experience was the formulation of the goal, arranging the necessary collaboration and then submitting a short proposal. The main goal of my project, which was financially supported, was a three-month internship with Prof Hans Lischka at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, USA. During that time, we collaborated on several research projects, and I focused on learning advanced computational methods under the guidance of this professor. The success of the proposed research project is evidenced by a joint published paper in the journal Nanoscale. In addition to the expected results and publications, it allowed me to find and arrange a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. All in all, I can only recommend all young scientists to try to write a project proposal, and who knows, maybe it will open career doors for them, as it did for me,” said Matěj.
Students who want to know the details of how to apply can take advantage of a webinar called How to Succeed in the UP Endowment Fund Call, which will take place on 19 February from 1 to 2 pm. “Applicants will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their project plans. Participation in the webinar is highly recommended. Registration for the webinar on the UP Career Centre portal is required; the event can also be found on the UP EF’s Facebook page. During the application call’s duration, students can also contact me individually for consultations at the UP Career Centre,” said Katrin Stark, UP coordinator for talented students.
The registration system for applications will be published on the UP EF website on 12 February 2024. More detailed information and the full text of the call can be found here. Information on the Palacký University Endowment Fund can be found here.