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.
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.
The 10 winning projects of the student competition were:
- Abraham Diya, The Neural Correlates of Emotion Regulation, MU
- Elrefae Lina, The role of p53 in neural differentiation, MU
- Kloučková Michaela, In vitro respiratory toxicity models RESPIROM, MU
- Barák Martin, Modeling Alzheimer’s disease in the dish, MU
- Pejchalová Lucie, Open access to calcium phosphate scaffolds technology for regenerative medicine, VUT
- Langová Lucie, Efficacy of different bovine footbath disinfectants at various temperatures, MENDELU
- Dugová Hana, 3D models with bio-origin, VUT
- Náplavová Eva, Pure Water for Brno – Influence of controlled flushing of the water supply network on stability of the drinking water quality, VUT
- Vaculíková Klára, Pollution entering the Moravian Karst via surface streams, VUT
- Kubová Michaela, Let’s clean South Moravia from heavy metals: genomic variation in heavy metal hyperaccumulating plant species Noccaea caerulescens, MU
(abbreviations indicate the host institution: MU – Masaryk University, VUT – Brno University of Technology, MENDELU – Mendel University/College of Agriculture).