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On 9 March the final ORION Open Science roundtable was organised by the ORION partner JCMM in Brno, Czech Republic. This was the final leg in the JCMM co-creation scheme which was launched in June 2018 debating the Open Science framework with representatives from academia, local government, business, NGOs, students and the general public. 

At the roundtable event, the 10 grant-holders from Masaryk University, Brno University of Technology and Mendel University presented their projects which they have carried out over a 9-month period. The grants were given as a results of the regional call for open science projects on local societal challenges competition which was launched by the ORION Open Science project in December 2018. 

The co-creation call was open for master and doctoral students from local universities in Brno and 45 project proposals were received. The selection of grantees resulted in an interesting array of Open Science projects in areas such as medicine and animal diseases, reduction of heavy metals, reduction of pollution, water cleanness and addressing socio-economic issues. 

During the ORION Open Science roundtable event, the scientific results, skill improvements and Open Science activities were debated. Students explained that without the ORION project support they would not have been able to execute their interesting projects and gain valuable experience. For some of them this was their first “real” scientific project and they learned important lessons in project management and management of funds. It was also the first time that some of the students had encountered publication issues including the submission of articles to OA journals. Some of the projects had also had international exposure and recognition. 

Ms Diya Abraham, Masaryk University
Ms Diya Abraham, grant holder of the Masaryk University Photo by: Ing. Michael Doležal

The winning project managers had also participated actively in the European Researchers’ Night which was held in September 2019. At that time, they were already in the middle of their projects and they presented their work together on participation and achievements in their departments and labs. 

The most far-reaching project was the one focused on pollution in the Moravian Karst – the fellow managed not only to generate interesting results but also involved a number of stakeholders such as the Moravian Karst administration, local mayors and the state water surveillance authority. The project also successfully worked with two local elementary schools. Last but not least, the project gained national TV coverage and was broadcast on at prime-time on the Czech Television network. 

The result of the project at Mendelu which focused on animal hoof diseases and hoof disinfectants was also very interesting. After a seminar organized by JCMM, the fellow and her supervisor were flooded by emails from regional animal breeders seeking their advice but, at the same time, offering assistance and farms for further research. 

JCMM is convinced that the experience will positively influence the future scientific career of the grant holders. At the time when the round-table was held, the Czech government had imposed strict measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease, the round table was organized only for the grant holders, JCMM staff and some project supervisors. 

For more information about the Open Science round table discussions and the regional student competition, please see the JCMM website or get in touch with Ing. Michael Doležal at JCMM.

The 10 winning projects of the student competition were:

  • Abraham Diya, The Neural Correlates of Emotion Regulation, MU
  • Elrefae LinaThe role of p53 in neural differentiationMU
  • Kloučková MichaelaIn vitro respiratory toxicity models RESPIROMMU
  • Barák MartinModeling Alzheimer’s disease in the dishMU
  • Pejchalová LucieOpen access to calcium phosphate scaffolds technology for regenerative medicineVUT
  • Langová LucieEfficacy of different bovine footbath disinfectants at various temperaturesMENDELU
  • Dugová Hana3D models with bio-originVUT
  • Náplavová EvaPure Water for Brno – Influence of controlled flushing of the water supply network on stability of the drinking water qualityVUT
  • Vaculíková KláraPollution entering the Moravian Karst via surface streamsVUT
  • Kubová MichaelaLet’s clean South Moravia from heavy metals: genomic variation in heavy metal hyperaccumulating plant species Noccaea caerulescensMU

(abbreviations indicate the host institution: MU – Masaryk University, VUT – Brno University of Technology, MENDELU – Mendel University/College of Agriculture).