The Rector’s Awards: Universities play a critical role

Thirty researchers, teachers, and students have received awards from the university rector during the Dies academicus ceremony for extraordinary scientific, artistic, and study achievements.

Among those who received the awards were two groups of experts: The Rector’s Award for Outstanding Creative Activity was given to five team members from the Centre for Research on Cryptography and Security from the MU Faculty of Informatics, who discovered a major flaw in the chips used in the IDs of several countries as well as in other applications.

Fourteen teachers and students, who created the Zvol si info (Choose your info) anti-disinformation project at the Department of Political Science, were also awarded for their contribution to the active development of civil society.

The increasing engagement of universities in modern society was also mentioned by Rector Mikuláš Bek in his speech: “After many peaceful years, universities – and not only here, but also in the UK, the US, and all over Europe – are increasingly stepping out of the quiet corners of neutral, empirical science and, either willingly or not, becoming involved in the fight between facts and falsehoods; you might also know the latter expression under the fashionable label of post-truth or fake news.”

According to Bek, the Czech legal and institutional framework thankfully provides Czech academics with a safe environment to participate in public discussions involving their expert knowledge without fearing for their lives or personal freedom.“

No society can function properly without experts, even though some political marketing experts try to convince the public that the opposite is true. Participating in debates about what is true, and what is not, is the basic mission of universities,” said the rector, stressing the legacy of President Masaryk, which should be adhered to by the university that bears his name: to fight against myths, superstitions, and prejudices.

Rector’s Award for Outstanding Creative Activity

Petr Švenda, Václav Matyáš, Matúš Nemec, Marek Sýs, Dušan Klinec (MU Faculty of Informatics, Department of Computer Systems and Communications)

Rector’s Award for the Active Development of Civil Society

Kateřina Křivánková, Petr Střítežský, Vojtěch Bruk, Alžběta Bajerová, Ondřej Chlupáček, Samuel Kolesár, Dominika Betáková, Michael Myklín, Jakub Jusko, Jan Švestka, Lucie Svozilová, Karin Sólymosová, Petra Vejvodová, Miloš Gregor (MU Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Political Science, International Institute of Political Science)

Rector’s Award for Outstanding Artistic Activity

Markéta Böhmová (MU Faculty of Education, music for education and voice training)

Rector’s Award for Outstanding Research Results Achieved by Young Scientists under 35

Terezie Mandáková (Ceitec MU, MU Faculty of Science, National Centre for Biomolecular Research)

Jan Kolář (MU Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Museology)

Rector’s Award for Long-term Excellence in Research

Lumír Krejčí (MU Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biology; MU Faculty of Science, National Centre for Biomolecular Research)

Miroslav Mareš (MU Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Political Science, International Institute of Political Science)

Rector’s Award for an Outstanding Doctoral Thesis

Josef Wilczek (MU Faculty of Arts, archaeology) Tomáš Kazda (MU Faculty of Medicine, oncology)

Rector’s Award for Outstanding Students in PhD Programmes

Tomáš Peterka (MU Faculty of Science, botany)

Martina Kosinová (MU Faculty of Medicine; anaesthesiology, intensive medicine, and pain medicine)

Rector’s Award for Outstanding Students in Master’s Programmes

Samuel Pastva (MU Faculty of Informatics, parallel and distributed systems)

Martin Toul (MU Faculty of Science, biochemistry)

Masaryk university