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Palacký University Olomouc News
Updated: 2 hours 29 min ago

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship to support zinc-ion battery development

Thu, 09/03/2023 - 08:00

Shashank Sundriyal joined CATRIN after winning the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship (MSCA) from Horizon Europe. Thanks to this support, he started, in January, his work on the Z-ION project that should contribute to the development of safer and greener zinc-based batteries. Aristides Bakandritsos from CATRIN is the mentor of the two-year Z-ION project called “Teaming Conductivity and Chemical Functionality in Metal-Organic Frameworks for Zinc-Ion Batteries”.

“Zinc-ion batteries are among the most promising electrochemical energy storage technologies because they are cheap, sustainable and safe and in principle offer one of the highest volumetric energy densities necessary for storing large amounts of energy per volume unit. Z-ION is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include clean and sustainable transport as well as affordable and clean energy for all. The research aims to make a significant contribution to the progress in transport decarbonization and to ensure the flexibility and efficiency of our current electricity grid system, enabling increased use of renewable energy sources,” said Bakandritsos, explaining the objective of the project.

“The Z-ION project develops and employs tailor-made graphene derivatives with conductive metal organic frameworks as hybrid electrode composites. In addition to the laboratory scale, the Z-ION project aims to develop a prototype zinc-ion battery device in the pouch cell design in collaboration with Pleione Energy in Athens, Greece, an innovative company that develops and provides technologically advanced solutions for the energy and space sector,” said Sundriyal.

MSCA is part of the EU Horizon Europe programme, which aims to promote excellence by funding innovative research projects.

Categories: News from UP

Thanks to the new nanomaterial, the detection of antibiotic residues in water can be quick and simple

Tue, 14/02/2023 - 09:00

A small box connected to a mobile phone—this is what the new biosensor looks like. This device can immediately detect even very small antibiotic residues, namely ampicillin, in water or dairy products. The basis forms a tailor-made nanomaterial derived from fluorographen, developed by scientists from the Czech Advanced Technology and Research Institute (CATRIN) of Palacký University and its Faculty of Science. They used the so-called click chemistry method, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year. The development of the biosensor was introduced by the scientists in the journal Small.

“The increasing resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics is one of the most pressing problems in medicine today. There are estimates that it could be responsible for more deaths than cancer in 2050. In addition to new therapies, antibiotic levels in different samples also need to be closely monitored. Residual amounts of antibiotics have been shown to occur not only in wastewater, but also in drinking water or certain foods, which only enhances the ability of bacteria to develop resistance to them. We are therefore looking for fast, cheap, efficient and disposable electrochemical biosensors to prove the presence of antibiotics,” said research team leader Michal Otyepka from CATRIN. 

The biosensor is composed of a new material derived from fluorographene that was tailor-made by Olomouc scientists. “Via alkyne groups bonded to graphene, we immobilized an aptamer—a molecule that is capable of detecting the antibiotic, i.e., ampicillin. We decided to use the method of the so-called click chemistry, which allows precise and fast binding of molecules. The uniqueness of this strategy lies not only in the procedure, but also in the possibility of connecting the sensor with a mobile phone. Such measurements can be made by anyone, for example in the home environment or directly in the field,” explained one of the authors David Panáček from CATRIN.

The effectiveness of the sensor was verified by researchers on tap water, in dairy products and in human saliva. They found that the biosensor can detect even lower amounts of drug residues in drinking water than the limit set by the European Union. The method is very simple—an electrode with the applied nanomaterial is immersed in a contaminated solution and the amount of ampicillin is measured by a mobile phone. So far the detection and further analyses have required expensive instruments and trained staff. 

It’s not the first time CATRIN scientists have used graphene derivatives for biosensors. The idea to use them for antibiotic detection was introduced by José Flauzino shortly after his joining CATRIN. “As a biochemist, he had a very specific idea about the biosensor, but he needed a suitable material. We were able to tailor it in record time. Not more than a half a year has passed from the initial idea to the publication of the result,” explained material chemist Panáček. Another result of their collaboration in the past was a sensor for detecting the adulteration of beef by pork.

Categories: News from UP

UP Endowment Fund’s new call: Lead your own project

Mon, 13/02/2023 - 12:00

Are you studying at Palacký University and have your own vision? Do you want to try leading your own scientific or artistic project? Or improve your presentation skills? There is nothing easier: apply to the 8th call of the UP Endowment Fund (UP EF) from 13 February to 31 March 2023 and ask for support!

“Since its establishment in 2015, the UP Endowment Fund has found a firm place in the activities of our university. Compared to other universities in the Czech Republic, it is a unique project – not only in terms of supporting the scientific and academic careers of students, but also in terms of the way it is implemented. A student can receive up to €8,500 for a project; the UP EF Board of Trustees decides which project receives support and in what amount. We support students from all faculties and from all scientific and artistic disciplines. This year, we’re introducing a new indicator: the applications will also be assessed in terms of their applicability in practice,” said Jiří Rudolf, director of the UP Endowment Fund.

Those interested in how to properly apply for support without omitting anything may attend a webinar on Thursday 23 February via the Zoom platform, and there is no need to register. The link is here.

The UP Endowment Fund, whose general partner is Komerční banka (Commercial Bank), has supported several dozen students throughout the years. It has not only given them a unique opportunity to bring their scientific and artistic ideas to life without unnecessary bureaucracy, but has also helped them, through various workshops, to expand their skills such as working with media and presenting their results. The supported students have a number of ways to use the financial contribution – ranging from airfare to literature, technical equipment, and accommodation during an internship at a workplace abroad.

“First of all, the Endowment Fund helped me realise my project. Thanks to the contribution, I was able to purchase equipment that helped me a lot in the practical implementation of my work, which I appreciate very much. I also gained more confidence and courage thanks to this support. I had the opportunity to develop my communication skills and participated in the international science popularisation competition FameLab – Talking Science, where I reached the Czech finals. I have to thank my UP EF coordinator Katrin Stark, who provided me with both moral and technical support. Based on my own experience, I recommend applying and seeking support. It is a great experience for a budding scientist, and also an opportunity to develop further,” said Marie Pražáková from the Faculty of Science, who was a UP EF scholarship holder twice, in 2020 and 2022.

All information about the Palacký University Endowment Fund, including a list of students supported in previous years and their documented experiences, can be found on the website

The UP Endowment Fund supports international projects by domestic and foreign students of Master’s and doctoral study programmes. It is based on the presumption that experience and knowledge gained from outstanding international workplaces abroad will help the growth of the entire university. The fund wants to contribute to the solution of civilisational, technological, health, social, and environmental problems.

Categories: News from UP

Blood donation, art exhibiton, celebratory mass, annual ball – UP Academic Week kicks off the semester

Thu, 09/02/2023 - 14:00

Palacký University will again launch this year’s summer semester with Academic Week, where its students, employees, as well as the general public will be able to choose from a wide range of events. The oldest Moravian university thus traditionally commemorates its post-war re-instatement in February 1946; however this time, Academic Week events are included in the year-long celebration of the 450th anniversary of the founding of the Olomouc’s university. There will be a week-long volunteer event Donate Blood with the Rector, a cultural programme culminating with the UP Ball, a Holy Mass celebrated by Archbishop of Prague and Primate of the Czech Catholic Church Jan Graubner, a film screening AFOcinema, and a ceremony where the Rector’s Awards will be presented to authors of academic publications.

The twelfth year of Donate Blood with the Rector is the traditional first event of Academic Week and it will be commenced on Monday, 13 February at the Transfusion Department of University Hospital Olomouc. “I am honoured to launch this week-long event because as a doctor I know all too well how vital blood donations are for saving health and lives. During the last year, more than nine hundred donors from among our students and employees came to the Olomouc hospital to donate blood. I firmly believe that this year we’ll be able to surpass the one thousand mark,” said UP Rector Martin Procházka.

The university and its 450th anniversary will be commemorated on Monday evening with a special pub quiz, in which teams consisting of UP students and employees will compete. On Tuesday, at a traditional ceremony, Rector Procházka will award the authors of publications from the academic community and successful students for the best Bachelor’s and Master’s theses, scientific works, and sporting achievements of 2022. Halfway through Academic Week, a regular meeting of the UP Academic Senate will take place, where the senators will symbolically commemorate the anniversary of the university’s reopening.

On Wednesday evening, an exhibition of artworks called “Faces of Palacký” will be commenced including a happening at the UP Arts Centre. Invited artists will create works on the theme of František Palacký in front of the audience. In the evening, a film screening will also take place in the Convictorium, consisting of four short films by students of the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, with the participation of the Academia Film Olomouc festival team.

Two masses will add a spiritual dimension to this year’s Academic Week in the Baroque Church of Our Lady of the Snows, which was built in the 18th century by Jesuits who at that time managed the University of Olomouc. A mass for students is scheduled for Wednesday, while a Holy Mass on Thursday will be celebrated by His Excellency Monsignor Jan Graubner, Archbishop of Prague and Primate of the Czech Catholic Church, who until last year was Archbishop of the Olomouc Archdiocese and the Grand Chancellor of the Sts Cyril and Methodius Theological Faculty of Palacký University.

The week-long programme will culminate in the annual UP Ball, which ranks among the most important social events of this year’s celebration of the 450th anniversary of the second oldest university in the country. “We are very happy that after two Covid years the ball can return to our programme of events. Its participants can look forward to the popular Martin Kumžák Moondance Orchestra, a dance workshop, a light show, plentiful refreshments, and a tombola. The evening at the NH Hotel in Olomouc will be hosted by Natálie Tichánková, a member of the Moravian Theatre Olomouc drama troupe,” said Barbora Plonka Schwarzbachová, head of the University Events Office.

The bells of the Olomouc churches of St Moritz, St Michael, and St Wenceslas will ring out traditionally on 21 February at 3 pm. They will commemorate a crucial event in the history of both the university and the city, when on 21 February 1946, the bells rang out to inform Olomouc citizens that a law had been passed on the re-instatement of the University of Olomouc, thus fulfilling the dream of their predecessors of Olomouc as a university town.

A detailed programme is available on the UP Academic Week website.

Categories: News from UP

Experts discussed the use of natural and technical sciences in archaeology

Wed, 08/02/2023 - 13:00

The participants of the second year of the School of Archaeometry, which took place in Fort Science on 2–3February 2023, were introduced to the latest findings in the use of natural and technical sciences in archaeology. The interdisciplinary meeting of scientists was organised by the Departments of Analytical Chemistry and Geology of the Palacký University Faculty of Science together with the National Heritage Institute, the Olomouc Archaeological Centre, and Fort Science.

“The National Heritage Institute perceives the School of Archaeometry as a very beneficial interdisciplinary meeting, which already has its own tradition. We consider our participation to be strategic. New technologies and techniques in the field of natural sciences (and not only there) are developing at a dizzying speed, and thanks to them, the knowledge and care of material cultural heritage are gaining an extraordinary opportunity to look at the material essence with tools that were either not available at all a few years ago or their penetration into heritage conservation was hardly imaginable. Today, together with our partners, we are shaping archaeometry, informing each other about the possibilities of this discipline, and determining the direction of knowledge, also based on the needs of heritage conservation. For this reason, such meetings are very strategic for the development of heritage conservation,” said Jana Michalčáková, Deputy Minister for Heritage Conservation, who spoke about enamel technology and its analysis.

Another part of the programme, which was attended by over 80 experts and students, included a lecture by Jan Petřík from the Department of Geological Sciences of Masaryk University Brno on the archaeometric analysis of ceramics. Martin Moník from the UP Department of Geology focused on the heating of silicates, Martin Havlík Mícha from the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague then spoke about the technology of glass production and analysis. An introduction to parasitology was provided by Barbora Pafčo from the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), while Václav Vondrovský from the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS gave a lecture on the possibilities and limits of radiocarbon dating in archaeology.

“I rate this year’s School of Archaeometry very positively. A really large number of participants from various fields of research signed up for the event, which makes me as the organiser very pleased and gives me the feedback that the whole event was worthwhile. I really liked the idea of my colleagues from the Department of Geology to make Friday morning more ‘action-packed’ and organize a stone splitting workshop. This course, led by Petr Neruda from the Moravian Museum, introduced the participants to the processes of making stone tools in the earliest times of human history. For future editions we will keep this form of workshop and we will try to come up with something new and interesting every time,” added Lukáš Kučera from the Department of Analytical Chemistry.

Environmental Geology student David Hudec was also in attendance. “The school of archaeometry was very beneficial for me, because I myself apply geological methods to the study of historical monuments. I find the contributions on the borderline between natural and historical sciences related to heritage conservation as particularly useful. And I hope that my lecture on the building stones from the Church of St. Moritz in Olomouc and their provenance was equally beneficial for the audience,” said Hudec.

The next year of the School of Archaeometry will take place in a year and a half. “Now we will rest for a few months and then we will start thinking about the composition of its programme,” said Kučera.

Categories: News from UP

Twelve medals for Czechia at World University Games, including UP women’s ice hockey players

Fri, 03/02/2023 - 08:00

The 31st FISU Winter World University Games, the epicentre of which was Lake Placid, USA, stand out in the chronicles of Czech university sport. Czech representatives won twelve medals at the Games and took sixth place in the overall ranking of countries.

The Czech national team travelled overseas with the ambition of at least defending their six medals from the previous World University Games, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, in 2019. “We are very happy that our athletes have succeeded to the utmost of our hopes and that they placed among the top teams in the tough competition. Big thanks go not only to new successful medallists, but to all the members who made a great national team and proudly represented the Czech Republic,” said Ivana Ertlová, chairperson of the Czech University Sports Association and head of the national university team.

Among the Czech medallists, Jan Zabystřan, a skier from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, stood out, winning three golds and one bronze, and biathlonist Tereza Jandová from Masaryk University in Brno, who won two bronzes in the individual races and a gold in the relay.

However, also noteworthy is the third place of the Czech women’s ice hockey team, who participated in the World University Games for the first time. During the tournament, they lost only to Canada and the USA in the preliminary round and to Japan in the semi-finals. In the bronze medal match they beat Slovakia 3:1. Three Palacký University players also contributed to the success of the women’s team: Daniela Pejšová and Kateřina Petřeková from the Faculty of Physical Culture and Patricie Škorpíková from the Faculty of Education. All three of them experienced the joy of scoring a goal against their opponents during the tournament.

"Winning the bronze medal really means a lot to me. It is always an honour to represent the Czech Republic, and now it also meant representing my school and faculty. This award belongs to all those who are dedicated to their beloved sport and at the same time able to study and help create a better future. The tournament was very demanding physically and mentally, but we managed to overcome everything as a team that kept getting better with each day," said Petřeková, who studies Physiotherapy; as she noted, she panicked a bit when she was nominated for the national team because of the exams during the Games.

Škorpíková, her colleague from HC Falcons Sokol Karviná, who studies Special Education and Czech Language and Literature, added, “We wanted to get to the finals. Unfortunately, we failed to do that, but the bronze medal is still an amazing achievement, and I will remember it for a long time. I also came back with many new experiences, and I’m grateful. I’m proud of the whole team, how we performed during the tournament and what we accomplished. I really enjoyed the University Games and I hope to participate again in two years in Italy.”

Palacký University had more representatives at the Games in Lake Placid. Tomáš Hanák and Patrik Tarnoczy, both Faculty of Physical Culture students who play for HC Zubr Přerov, were on the roster of the men’s hockey team. The Czech men’s ice hockey players finished fourth in their group and did not advance. Skier Aneta Vetrová from the Faculty of Arts finished 23rd in the super giant slalom. The games were also attended by Iva Dostálová, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Physical Culture, as a medical member of the organising team.

The Winter World University Games, which is the world’s largest student multi-sport event, hosted over 1400 students from 540 universities in 46 countries who competed in twelve sports. The Czech Republic was represented by 93 athletes from 33 schools and 49 support team members.

In addition, this year the Summer World University Games, which were postponed from last year, will be in Chengdu, China, from 28 July to 8 August. The next Winter World University Games will be held in Turin, Italy, in 2025.

Categories: News from UP

Peter Adamík contributed to mammal exhibition in National Museum

Wed, 01/02/2023 - 08:30

One of the most interesting parts of the National Museum in Prague is the exhibition ‘The Miracles of Evolution’, which covers an area of 2000 m2, over which it describes the evolution of animals on Earth in an engaging way, and presents the world of animals in their natural environment. The exhibition also includes a hall of mammals called ‘Conquering the Earth’, in the design of which Peter Adamík from the UP Faculty of Science Department of Zoology participated.

“I was invited to collaborate on this exhibition in 2017 by the then director of the Natural History section of the museum, Ivo Macek. First, I created a concept, which was reviewed and critiqued by a large team of experts. It was based on the idea that mammals have successfully colonised the entire planet. They have successfully occupied the underground, aquatic environments, terrestrial ecosystems and have moved into the treetops and dominated the air. Therefore, I tried to incorporate the idea of mammals going in all directions into the exhibition. That they ‘own the world’. There were countless meetings with architects, graphic designers, and taxidermists from many European countries, with whom I elaborated every detail of this exhibition. During the installation itself, countless details were resolved with the companies that realised the exhibition. It was an amazing experience and a dream job. I am very grateful for that,” said Adamík.

The mammal exhibition in the National Museum consists of almost 200 exhibits and nearly all orders of mammals are represented, approximately 160 species in total. “After putting together in my head the stories of the species I wanted to tell visitors, the search for them began. I created a sort of ‘wish’ list, which was obviously unrealistic. Basically, you are waiting to complete your collection with dead specimens from zoos around the world, and make compromises operationally. The unbelievably skilled hands of the taxidermists repaired exhibits that were even over a century old. When we were at a loss, top foreign companies stepped in to create special animal models. With some of them, the visitor really cannot tell that it is not an original. For example, we had to make models of a rhinoceros, a flying lemur, a walrus, and a minke whale,” Adamík added.

A well-known prominent feature of the exhibition is the huge skeleton of a fin whale, which has also undergone a demanding restoration. “The rarest exhibits also include cetaceans such as the Ganges river dolphin and a number of smaller but similarly endangered species listed on the IUCN Red List,” said the zoologist.

Categories: News from UP

Flag from the frontlines: a gift for the Faculty of Law for its help to Ukraine

Thu, 26/01/2023 - 14:00

The UP Faculty of Law received a special token of gratitude. The commander of the tank battalion of the 128th Transcarpathian Brigade presented the faculty a Ukrainian national flag with a personal dedication and thanks for the faculty’s material assistance to Ukrainian civilians and soldiers. The flag was brought from the centre of Bakhmut, where fierce fighting continues, by Vasyl Kapustey, a law student who has been helping his native Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

A material collection took place at the law faculty in November 2022, with the bulk of it heading to Bakhmut in the northern Donetsk region in mid-December. “Our original plan was to give material aid to refugees in western Ukraine. But the soldiers came with an offer – to take us directly to Bakhmut with all the items. When we arrived there, the humanitarian aid warehouse was completely empty. The things we brought – a generator, clothes, hygienic items, food – were distributed and gone in no time,” said Kapustey during his meeting with the dean of the faculty, Václav Stehlík.

He spread the yellow and blue flag out in the Dean’s Office and explained its origin. “The 128th Transcarpathian Brigade has these flags made in the city of Dnipro. Then they raise them in liberated villages and towns.” Commander Andriy Bazyuk added a personal thank you note to the flag for the Olomouc Faculty of Law. “I helped him write it in Czech,” Kapustey admitted, adding that Lieutenant Colonel Bazyuk also has a personal connection to Olomouc, having once worked here.

“It is a great honour for us to receive this flag from the battle line. I am not afraid to say that this is a historic moment for the faculty. We will not raise it, however, so that it does not get damaged. We will certainly find a dignified place for it,” said Dean Stehlík. He assured Kapustey that the academic community would not stop observing the events in Ukraine and that the faculty was ready to continue helping.

The meeting was also attended by Naděžda Šišková, head of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the UP Faculty of Law, who is personally involved in helping Ukraine, and Alla Fedorova, an academic from the UP’s partner institution, the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, who is now working at the UP Faculty of Law. “We can be proud of our students such as Vasyl who are so helping, so brave, and always ready to go to the frontline. I perceive the flag as a symbol that each of us can contribute to help Ukraine," said Šišková. She noted that the centre she heads is now preparing an online conference at Shevchenko University to mark the one-year anniversary since Ukraine received its EU candidate status.

Student Kapustey has been helping Ukraine since the early days of the war. On the Znesnáze21 platform, he set up a fundraiser to support the 128th Transcarpathian Brigade, and now the 24th Lviv Brigade has been added. And it is a very successful fundraiser. In less than a year, they have managed to raise almost €320,000 from thousands of donors. Kapustey is going to bring more aid and equipment to soldiers and civilians in Ukraine in mid-February. “We would like to visit Bakhmut again, but according to the latest news, this will probably not be possible. We will see what we can do. I am in contact with Commander Bazyuk on a daily basis.” Kapustey’s parents are helping him with his activities in support of Ukraine, as well as his law school classmate Andrej Poleščuk.

Categories: News from UP

Nursing students from Nebraska visited the Health Sciences faculty, hospital, and met Ukrainian colleagues

Wed, 25/01/2023 - 08:00

The UP Faculty of Health Sciences hosted US students from Nebraska in January. The students of nursing visited Olomouc for a rich three-week programme including classes, excursions, and internships, prepared jointly by the faculty and University Hospital Olomouc.

During January, six nursing students from UP’s partner institution, the University of Nebraska-Kearney, gathered knowledge and experience in both medical and non-medical disciplines. “Colleagues from the Department of Nursing, the Department of Midwifery, and the Department of Clinical Rehabilitation provided classes for the students in the faculty premises. Many thanks also go to colleagues from Olomouc University Hospital, who organised the programme in the hospital and were willing to take care of the students during their regular work hours,” emphasised Renáta Váverková, the deputy head of the Department of Nursing.

During their busy schedule, the Nebraska students visited the Department of Anaesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care, the Department of Surgery I, the the Rehabilitation Ward, the Emergency Ward, the Department of Hemato-Oncology, the PICC team at the Department of Cardiac Surgery, the Medical Nutrition Ward, the Department of Internal Medicine I – Cardiology, the Department of Nuclear Medicine, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The students also appreciated the opportunity to learn about the pneumatic tube mail system. They highly appreciated the approach of the University Hospital Olomouc staff and the quality of the equipment at the workplaces.

“This is my first visit to Europe, and I’m very happy that I could get to know the Czech Republic because my family comes from Wilber, Nebraska, the “Czech capital” of the United States. It was so nice here, everyone took great care of us, everyone was so hospitable. The classes and excursions were very useful for us. I’m in my second year and I haven’t had the opportunity to work with patients yet, so I appreciated the opportunity to see the daily operations of your hospital. I think the Emergency Ward made the biggest impression on me. I was also very impressed with the Physiotherapy and Midwifery departments and with the overall care and approach to patients here,” said student Morgan Bice.

“The implementation of the programme was quite a challenge for us, so I’m very glad that the visit of the foreign students to our faculty went smoothly. I believe that the collaboration between the universities will continue and that we will be able to welcome even more students next year. I would like to thank my colleagues Petra Kašparová and Irena Jedličková for their seamless preparations,” said Váverková.

During their stay, the guests from Nebraska also met students from Ukraine at the UP American Center and debated with them (see more here).

“I believe that this stay will lead to a successful cooperation in education as well as science and research. The first step was to start talks on the possibility of establishing a joint study programme in Healthcare Organisation and Management. I would like to thank my colleagues from the Faculty of Arts, who have been cooperating with the University of Kearney for a long time and helped to facilitate this stay,” said Jiří Vévoda, the dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, in conclusion.

Categories: News from UP

School of Archaeometry will focus on collaboration of scientists, historians, archaeologists

Mon, 23/01/2023 - 13:00

The aim of the second year of the School of Archaeometry, which will take place in Fort Science on 2–3 February , is to connect the sciences and humanities. The interdisciplinary meeting of scientists is organised by the Departments of Analytical Chemistry and Geology, the Olomouc Archaeological Centre, the National Heritage Institute, and Fort Science.

“Nowadays, archaeologists, art historians and similarly oriented experts are discovering that cooperation with the natural sciences is quite beneficial and can take their knowledge a step further. On the other hand, representatives of the natural sciences are realising that having the opportunity to analyse various unique objects is also advantageous, whether for the development of new methods and/or for publication opportunities,” said Lukáš Kučera from the Department of Analytical Chemistry.

Over 80 registered participants can choose from four interesting sections on the first day of the School of Archaeometry: Technological Survey 1, Technological Survey 2, Anthropology, and Isotope Analysis. There are lectures focusing, for example, on the possibilities and limits of radiocarbon dating in archaeology, on modern methods for archeometric analysis, parasitology, enamel technology and its analysis, on the analysis of ancient slag materials, and new developments in molecular spectroscopy and microscopy.

“The Department of Geology is very happy to participate in the organisation of this event. The School is a prime example of a joint search for interesting research topics, methods and interpretations among chemists, geologists, and archaeologists. We share plenty of common ground. That includes, for example, the study of materials, the reconstruction of old production techniques, the storage of archaeological objects underground, and their search techniques. We try not to be idle in geology, so we invest in geophysical equipment, our students write on geoarchaeological topics for their final theses, we cooperate with companies, and direct projects: most recently, for example, the Czech Science Foundation project ‘Reconstruction of Upper Palaeolithic mobility through provenience study of radiolarite artefacts’ under the supervision of Martin Moník. There are certainly many reasons to look forward to this meeting,” said Ondřej Bábek, Head of the Department of Geology.

On the second day, the programme will include lectures on specific research directions in the field of archaeometry. “Experts will discuss, for example, light isotopes in skeletal material, the veracity of dated archaeological contexts in Moravia, and petrographic analysis of building stones and binding materials from the Church of St Moritz in Olomouc. At the end, visitors can take part in a stone splitting workshop,” added Kučera.

Categories: News from UP

US experts: Academia needs to take international security seriously

Thu, 19/01/2023 - 15:10

International academic cooperation as a potential security risk? U.S. experts Glenn Tiffert and Kevin Gamache came to Olomouc to present their experience and best practices in combating these threats. They held a two-hour lecture organised by the Centre for International Humanitarian and Operational Law (CIHOL) at the UP Faculty of Law.

 “Members of the Department of International and European Law as well as CIHOL members have long been involved in security issues. The lecture aimed to open the topic of foreign influence operations in universities and the practical and societal implications of foreign interference that can threaten national security,” explained Petr Stejskal on behalf of the organisers; he works at the Department of International and European Law at the UP Faculty of Law and is a member of CIHOL.

The lecture was organised by the faculty in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic, the Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats at the Czech Ministry of the Interior, and Charles University in Prague. “Thanks to this cooperation, we were able to invite to Olomouc top experts on counter-influence issues from the United States – Kevin Gamache, director of the US association Academic Security and Counter Exploitation Program, and Glenn Tiffert, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a specialist in the political and legal history of the People’s Republic of China,” said Stejskal.

 “China and the US are each other’s greatest research partners, with Germany and the UK coming in second and third for both countries,” Tiffert said in his lecture. “But China is not Germany or Canada – you can’t have the same approach because China doesn’t respect the same rules and rights,” Tiffert explained. As one specific example, he cited the case of “CRISPR babies”, where Chinese scientist He Jiankui used unapproved gene scissors to edit the human genome. “He acted against ethical rules. He was first hailed as a hero in China but then came a worldwide wave of criticism. This case shows that the rules that apply in America or Europe cannot be expected to be followed in China, motivated by a desire to be the best and the first country.”

In his study of Chinese history, Tiffert employs his knowledge of the construction of the modern Chinese court system and the judiciary and combines it with the computational methods of data science. At the Hoover Institution, he co-chairs the China’s Global Sharp Power project and works closely with government and civil society partners to document and build resilience against authoritarian interference in democratic institutions.

Kevin Gamache explained to participants why is it necessary for a research institution to have a security programme. “The world has changed. Over the last twenty years, the opportunities for collaboration have grown, but the geopolitical environment has also changed. We need to better understand and verify who we are working with. We should always ask these questions: Do I know who we are really working with? Who is funding this? What is the potential risk to the institution, even at the level of reputation? How can we mitigate potential risks?”

Then he introduced more in detail the Academic Security and Counter Exploitation Program (ASCE), where he is a director. “Our goal is to raise security awareness in academia. When we started in 2006, there were ten of us; today over 200 universities are involved. And I’m very happy that we’re meeting here today because we cannot solve this issue on our own, we need to work together internationally.” He went on to describe how ASCE uses the expertise of its member universities to help address potential threats posed by foreign adversaries to US academic institutions.

The lecture was attended not only by university students and academic staff, but also representatives of the Czech Army and government institutions. “I believe we have shown that this is a very sensitive and urgent issue that cannot be downplayed and that also affects Czech academia,” Stejskal said.

He pointed out that the academic sector has some specifics and advantages in many respects, such as its openness and connection to the world. “This can be abused, however, to steal sensitive technologies or to influence events in a country. The lecture presented the mechanisms that are needed at the academic to national levels to minimise these risks while maintaining the openness of the academic sector and international cooperation, two of its key characteristics,” Stejskal added.

The organising institute, the CIHOL centre, was established under the auspices of the Department of International and European Law in 2019, as a result of long-term cooperation between the UP Faculty of Law and the Czech Army. Thanks to the CIHOL activities, the faculty received, among other things, the 2020 National Security Council Award for significant contribution to the security policy of the Czech Republic.

Categories: News from UP

Faculty of Science Biologists search for long-forgotten plants in Borneo

Thu, 19/01/2023 - 10:00

Two biologists from the Faculty of Science will head to Borneo on Saturday to rediscover long-forgotten plant species, having previously found completely new plant species on this Southeast Asian island. The three-year research project, ‘Discovering New Species – Do We Really Not Care? The genus Thismia (Thismiaceae) in Borneo and Sumatra’ was supported by the Czech Science Foundation).

Martin Dančák from the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of the Faculty of Science will fly to Borneo with his colleague Michal Sochor. “We are going to the island now, because the rainy season, the most suitable period for the occurrence of the plants we are studying, is in January and February. We have selected several species of the genus Thismia which we want to rediscover in Borneo during our expedition. These are plants that were described e.g. in the 19th century, and have not been seen in the wild since. We will go to their original locations, where natural biotopes still exist, so there is a high probability that we can rediscover these supposedly lost plant species,” said Dančák.

The optimism of the scientists is based on the fact that in 2020 they rediscovered the plant Thismia neptunis in Borneo, which had not been seen in the wild for 150 years. “These are the ‘forgotten’ species. Then we will also focus on another group of Thismiaceae, whose existence we know about from photographs, and is evident that these are new and as yet undescribed species. We will try to find, document, and scientifically describe them on the island,” said Dančák. Faculty of Science scientists have previously found in Borneo, for example, the smallest Thismia species and a new species of carnivorous tropical pitcher plant.

If the pair of biologists manage to again find plants in Borneo that were last described more than a hundred years ago, they will examine them in detail. “We plan to make new descriptions, because some go back to the 19th century and are no longer sufficient for today’s standards. We will therefore document the plant in photographs, describe it, and write an article for a professional journal,” said Sochor.

Martin Dančák also pointed out that in recent years and decades, interest in discovering new plant species has dimmed as scientists have focused on more fiscally supported fields, such as applied research or developments in molecular biology. “The discovery of new plant species has become the domain of amateurs rather than professional scientists. However, the grant we received shows that this interesting issue has not been completely neglected and the current scientific community is aware that this kind of research is also important for the further development of our knowledge,” he added.

Categories: News from UP

Czech Science Foundation supports historians researching the development of commercial education

Wed, 11/01/2023 - 12:00

Did you know that until the mid-19th century, shopkeepers, shop assistants, and accountants usually had a mere grade school education, or general education from gymnasia and secondary schools? That in Austria at that time, they had to learn everything else mainly by practice, i.e. by working directly in a shop or company? So how and when did commercial education start to modernise? This is what historians Ivan Puš from Palacký University Olomouc and Petr Kadlec from the University of Ostrava started to investigate. Their research has been supported by the Czech Science Foundation.

Thanks to the support of the Czech Science Foundation, Kadlec from the Centre for Economic and Social History at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ostrava and Puš from the Department of History, UP Faculty of Arts, have started to conduct international research on the modernisation of commercial education in the western and northern part of Austria-Hungary (the Cisleithania) in the years 1848–1918. This topic has not yet been dealt with comprehensively.

“There are no studies that would include research on the development of commercial education in such a broad time span. One of the contributions of our work will be a comparative analysis of the conditions in individual countries. The Cisleithanian area at that time included a number of regions; we will be looking at Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Lower Austria, including Vienna, and Galicia, which is today partly Poland and partly Ukraine. The aforementioned regions were part of one state in the period under study, but from today’s perspective, the research will have an international scope,” said Puš. He further noted on the importance of the research that at the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, education followed up on the foundations that had been created in the 19th century. “It makes sense to identify them because at the same time, contemporary education is building on what was created after 1918 in many ways,” he added.

According to Puš, while the education of future salesmen, merchants, accountants, and other clerical professions was not institutionalised until the mid-19th century, after 1848, when the first chamber of commerce and trade was established, the state began to realise that the economy in the Czech lands and in Austria (after 1867 Austria-Hungary) needed to be modernised. At that time, the state began to take an interest in how vocational education was being provided, i.e. how the commercial, industrial trade, and agrarian schools operates, as well as trades as such. From the middle of the 19th century onwards, an array of parties began to have a say in commercial education: not only the state, but also municipal councils, merchants, professional associations, various trade councils, provincial assemblies, and later also the schools themselves, including the students’ parents. According to historian Puš, it is important to know the development of commercial education because many of the ideas and challenges that are being discussed today were already present in the debates at that time.

“For example, the perpetual discussion on the lack of tradesmen, craftsmen, and technicians because most parents prefer gymnasia and then universities for their children is age-old. In fact, it dates back to 1859, when the guilds that were emblematic of the old era disappeared. The system of vocational education that had existed for centuries was thus in decline, although a great deal of modernisation had begun. Various commercial guilds and chambers of commerce were established. Even before 1848, there were critical opinions that rich bourgeois families were sending their children to gymnasia, which were useless; even at that time, people claimed that this would lead to a lack of workers in workshops, factories, and modern plants. However, it is worth noting that we are talking about the late 19th century, so this is the pre-war era, in which university graduates made up one to two percent of society. However, even graduation from a commercial school and then a commercial academy was considered prestigious at that time,” emphasised the UP historian.

The three-year research entitled Modernisation of Commercial Education in Cisleithania in the Years 1848–1918: Manifestations, Trends, Mechanisms was supported by the Czech Science Foundation with allocated €125,000, for the period 2023–2025. Main investigator: Petr Kadlec, Ph.D., University of Ostrava; co-investigator: Mgr. Ivan Puš, Ph.D., Palacký University Olomouc.

Although we tend to ask similar questions today, education has evolved in this respect.

“We have evolved in that we have built a modern structure, a system with an order. We have three-year vocational schools and four-year commercial schools and industrial schools. Long into the second half of the 19th century, there were only summer and winter courses, Sunday schools, afternoon and evening schools, and various follow-up schools in various regions as part of primary education. It was much later when commercial day schools, commercial academies and higher commercial education became established. Most of their graduates took various clerical positions in companies, local administration and state government. Therefore, one of our goals is to capture the transformation of the education of modern clerical staff, an inconspicuous but increasingly important element in the economy and the administration of states, municipalities, and countries. Three-year schools, generally day schools, gradually began to be established only by the second half of the 19th century, and the process lasted half a century. We will be researching how society transformed in the second half of the 19th century in this regard,” said Puš. He and his colleague Kadlec will be looking for information of Austrian-wide significance in the archival sources of this region, both in the chambers of commerce and trade and the collections of school boards. They will also carry out research in the materials of individual schools, conducting partial probes into some schools, such as the Export Academy in Vienna. In addition to annual expert studies (likely in English), the research will result in a monograph.

Categories: News from UP

New UP Code of Ethics focuses on work and teaching activities, as well as questions of abuse of power

Tue, 10/01/2023 - 08:00

As of January 2023, Palacký University has a new, revised Code of Ethics. It concerns the work and teaching activities of academic and scientific employees at UP as well as student activities. The proposed Code of Ethics revision has been in the works for almost two years and was also examined in detail through multiple rounds of public discussion in the academic community and at multiple meetings of the UP Academic Senate. Head of the Rector's Office Martin Tomášek, one of the authors of the new code, explains in this interview how the code came about, what changes it contains, and what to expect from it.

What were the reasons for the changes in the UP Code of Ethics?

There were several immediate reasons, but the main one was that we tried to implement the principles established in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers into our own Code. Additionally, the need arose to make several rules more precise – ones which the UP Ethics Commission found problematic in practice. There was also pressure to elaborate some of the rules, or define them more specifically in the sense of proper research work: reporting results, the roles of the “corresponding author” and the main author, and their ethical responsibilities.

What are the basic changes found in the new Code?

One of the central themes was narrowing the extent of the situations which it should regulate. It is necessary to determine which relations fall under the Code of Ethics. For example, whether to regulate a personal disagreement between two technical-economic employees, which in no way influences teaching or work activities. Or whether it should regulate the behaviour of employees outside their work activities, for example on holiday, when such conduct has nothing to do with one’s relationship to UP.

We, the group working on recodification, decided that it would be appropriate if the UP Code of Ethics was really concerned only with matters related to persons involved in work or teaching activities or influencing such activities. The committee does not and cannot take the place of those persons who are authorised at UP for deciding labour-related matters from the employer’s legal position.

What bearing does the new Code of Ethics have, for example, upon relations towards students?

Basically, I think that we were able to significantly widen the scope when it comes to questions dealing with abuse of power, sexual harassment, and abuse of station.

Do changes in the new Code of Ethics address even the composition of the university Ethics Commission?

From the organisational perspective, it is necessary to point out that the new Code of Ethics extends the UP Ethics Commission by one member, nominated by the CATRIN institute. The proposal for nominating this member was given to the rector by the director of this university institute on the basis of a proposal from the institute’s scientific board.

Were there any themes which were discussed but did not make it into the final form of the Code of Ethics?

There was a rather lengthy debate in relation to an amendment dealing with religion and its possible entry into work or teaching activities. The proposed amendment was changed several times, but in the end, there was no decision made because the text did not have the support of the vast majority of those who commented on it. With respect to the reality that the Code of Ethics should in principle encompass a widely shared notion of what is ethical or moral, this clause was not included.

Is there anything not resolved in the amendments which still needs to be addressed in that area?

Yes, we still need to amend the UP Ethics Committee Rules of Procedure; respectively, prepare for their transformation into the UP Ethics Committee Statute. In addition to amending its rules of procedure, we should generally define its status, its acceptance and handling of requests, and also the relationship of the Ethics Committee to UP divisions which deal with (un)ethical conduct, such as the UP Faculty of Science Ethics Committee. During the next few weeks, we plan to call a meeting of a work committee on that.

Should the close of work on the Rules of Procedure and the UP Ethics Committee bring about a settlement of relations in this area, and make possible proper discussion of ethical cases which are also the subject of negotiations by UP organs?

Yes, but only partially. It is necessary to keep in mind that the Code of Ethics and proceedings by the Ethics Committee deal with questions of ethics. Any wrongdoing on the ethical level should lead to Committee proceedings which would merely state that wrongdoing. It will create a definite source of information as to how a UP employee or student should behave if they do not want to come into conflict with the Code of Ethics. The result should be a clear communication on what not to do on the ethical level, on how not to misbehave on the moral level. Generally, it should introduce a sort of moral condemnation which is in line with the UP Code of Ethics.

On a completely different level, it is necessary to resolve cases when an employee behaves in a way which conflicts with the responsibility coming from legal requirements related to carrying out their job. Then it is up to the appropriate organ of the employer – usually the dean, institute director, or rector – to deal with this conflict in a timely fashion; if possible, in cooperation with the employee’s supervisor, or personnel office, or the legal department. This is the only way to effectively react to a conflict of legal responsibilities. The idea that violating legal responsibilities can be resolved legally by the UP Ethics Committee is a common misapprehension, which unfortunately can lead to unintended and sometimes unwanted fallout for the university.

The same can be said about disciplinary actions which can also apply to UP students if they intentionally violate the responsibilities stated in the legal stipulations or internal rules of the university and its components. If there are actions taken against a student, the results of which are legally relevant, then it is necessary to conduct disciplinary actions, not make a case before the UP Ethics Committee.

The full text of the new amendments to the Code of Ethics for Employees and Students of Palacký University Olomouc.

Categories: News from UP

Kutya, carols, prayer: Students from Ukraine celebrated Christmas at the uni

Sat, 07/01/2023 - 09:00

In these days, Ukraine is celebrating the Christmas holidays and the arrival of the New Year. It is a time of coming together, so Palacký University Olomouc made it possible for those Ukrainian students and staff who did not get home to visit their loved ones to meet each other and stay together on the university campus.

In his opening speech, UP Rector Martin Procházka welcomed all the Ukrainian students. “I wish you a Happy New Year, may you prosper in your lives and may the year 2023 bring peace to your country,” said the rector. He has been meeting regularly with Ukrainian students since the war started and is interested in how university management can make their stay in Olomouc easier. “If you need anything, we are here and ready to help you,” emphasised Procházka.

That is why Alena Vyskočilová, the head of the UP Welcome Office, also attended the meeting and presented the work of the centre to the students, informing them about the services it provides, from basic information about the university and the city to administrative assistance when dealing with visas. The students thanked the university for the opportunity to study in Olomouc and for all the support the school provides them.

A festive atmosphere was present in the Rector’s Canteen during the afternoon, where the university representatives prepared a small Christmas party for the Ukrainian students and staff. Fifty students gladly accepted the invitation.

“Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the UP Volunteering Centre has focused their efforts to help Ukrainian students and academics, and as our Christmas approached, we thought about how to allow those who are staying in Olomouc over the holidays to celebrate their Ukrainian Christmas as well. Eventually, we came up with this event, so we’re very happy that they really came together and celebrated their holidays in a joyful atmosphere as a community,” said Vladimíra Sedláčková, a coordinator at the UP Volunteering Centre, which organised the gathering together with the Ukrainian Studies section of the Department of Slavonic Studies at the UP Faculty of Arts and the UP Communications Office, and thanks to the support of university management.

“According to the tradition in Ukraine, there should be twelve dishes on the Christmas Eve table, but this was not feasible for us. However, we tried to combine Czech and Ukrainian cuisine, and in addition to borscht, our guests could enjoy sweet pancakes and potato pancakes, which our cuisines have in common. One student also brought kutya, a traditional Ukrainian sweet porridge made of boiled groats mixed with ground poppy seeds, raisins, honey, and walnuts. This dish is not to be missed on the Ukrainian Christmas Eve table, so we were very happy to be able to serve it,” said Radana Merzová from Ukrainian Studies section. She added that she was surprised by the number of students who came to the canteen for the gathering.

The festive meeting, however, was not only about food and conversation. The guests prayed for peace in their homeland and for its defenders, and also sang Ukrainian carols under the baton of Olena Salnikova, an art school director who fled the war to Olomouc with her son and began studying art studies at the UP Faculty of Arts.

Once again, the students thanked Rector Procházka for all the help and support they receive from the university. “It is a natural thing to do, we have to help each other in times of need. We want you to feel as good as possible here and to have the best memories from your stay at Palacký University Olomouc,” replied the rector to the words of thanks. Jiří Stavovčík, Vice-Rector for Internationalisation, also came to greet the students and wish them a Merry Christmas.

Categories: News from UP

Thanks to a Junior Star project, Bruno de la Torre will start his own experimental group

Fri, 06/01/2023 - 08:00

Bruno de la Torre from CATRIN won a JUNIOR STAR grant for outstanding early career scientists from the Czech Science Foundation. The 14.7 million Czech koruna awarded to Bruno will allow him to establish an experimental research group focused on the interdisciplinary area of molecular electronics. Over the coming five years, his group will investigate the laws governing charge mobility in light-harvesting molecular nanomodels.

“The proposed research aims to determine the basic electronic and structural properties of a new class of ‘molecular components’ and evaluate their potential to serve as prototypes of molecular devices. This work will have a fundamental scientific impact because it will involve characterizing conjugated molecular systems at a sub-angstrom spatial resolution and studies on charge transfer at the single-electron level,” said Bruno de la Torre, who was on the team of scientists that made the world’s first observations of the inhomogeneous distribution of electronic charge around a halogen atom – a so-called sigma hole. Their results were published in the journal Science. 

The new project, which is called ‘Atomic-Scale Control and Visualization of Charge Delocalization in Light-Harvesting Molecular Nanomodels’, starting in January, will directly support the development of a new laboratory, enable research in the highly interdisciplinary field of molecular electronics, and facilitate collaboration in the field of organic semiconductors. It will also benefit PhD students and undergraduate students at Palacký University.

JUNIOR STAR grants are intended to support outstanding young scientists within 8 years of receiving their Ph.D. who have published in prestigious international journals and have significant experience at research centres outside the Czech Republic. The grants provide funding for five years, giving winners the opportunity to become scientifically independent and establish their own research groups, thereby expanding the horizons of Czech science. Only a small fraction of the submitted proposals are funded – just 23 were successful last year.

Categories: News from UP

Javorník museum exhibits 3000 year old bronze sword examined by UP Faculty of Science experts

Wed, 04/01/2023 - 15:00

The unique bronze sword, which the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the Faculty of Science was involved in its research, is on display until mid-January in the museum in the building of the former regional court in Javorník. The 3,000-year-old artifact was discovered by a random passer-by near Stará Červená Voda in the Jeseníky region in 2020.

In June 2020, a resident of Stará Červená Voda contacted the staff of the Museum of National History in Jeseník saying that he had found a bronze sword and an axe. Both items date back to approximately 1300 years BCE, i.e. the Bronze Age. The sword was broken. It was examined by experts from several workplaces throughout the Czech Republic.

The Department of Analytical Chemistry was invited to participate shortly after the discovery. “The sword was encased in clay and was not contaminated or damaged in any way, so we were able to take several samples from the microscopic areas. The substances identified showed the presence of cellulose, which means that the sword was probably stored in some kind of plant fiber textile. Otherwise, we did not find any other organic substances, such as the haemoglobin, which would indicate its practical use,” said Lukáš Kučera from the Department of Analytical Chemistry.

The soil samples were also sent for study to the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Telč. They confirmed that the samples taken were consistent with the microscopic particles on the surface of the sword and that the find came from the place of destination.

Once a special display case has been made, the sword and the axe will be relocated to the Water Fortress in Jeseník, where the Jeseník Museum of National History is housed.

Categories: News from UP

Aurora university alliance representatives met in Amsterdam to discuss perspectives on collaboration

Wed, 04/01/2023 - 08:00

At the close of 2022, members of the European university alliance Aurora, of which Palacký University is a member, discussed further possibilities and prospects for cooperation in higher education. The two-day meeting was hosted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Palacký University was represented at the meeting by Rector Martin Procházka and Selma Porobić, Aurora’s institutional coordinator for UP.

The agenda of the meeting in the Netherlands included several meetings and discussions of representatives of the individual universities and alliance organs. Among other things, the General Council of Rectors discussed the possibilities of further funding of the Alliance and agreed on a proposal to be sent to the European Commission in January as part of the European Universities Call. If accepted, it should ensure the active participation of Palacký University and its partners in the ambitious European university alliances project in the years to come. “I believe that the European Commission will approve the submitted proposal, and thus we will be able to continue the existing cooperation as well as further develop these relationships so that our schools, and especially our students, can benefit from them,” said UP Rector Procházka.

UP Rector added that the active role of Palacký University, which joined Aurora in 2020, was acknowledged and resulted in success in the past year. At the spring meeting of universities in Innsbruck, Palacký University transformed its existing associate membership into full-fledged status and became a member of the global university consortium Aurora Network. This gives UP the opportunity to participate in decision-making and closer collaboration within this university network. The Aurora Network focuses on fulfilling Aurora’s global mission, which extends beyond the borders of Europe and the initiatives of European universities. It is primarily concerned with international aid and cooperation with non-European partners, especially in education and research. (You can find more details about this here.)

The possibilities of connecting the Aurora Network with the EU-funded Aurora Alliance and its application were then discussed separately by the Board of Rectors, Aurora’s top decision-making body, which consists of four selected rectors, including UP’s. “We have agreed that the Aurora Network has great added value as a platform for further cooperation between our universities in research and its evaluation, as well as for global outreach beyond the EU,” added Procházka.    

Categories: News from UP

Student Lukáš Mada thinks so much of others, he won the Křesadlo award

Tue, 27/12/2022 - 06:00

Lukáš Mada, a student of the UP Faculty of Science, was among the eight awarded volunteers who received the 2022 Křesadlo award at the Archbishop’s Palace in Olomouc. The award from the non-profit organization Malteser International is a symbolic thank you to those who selflessly and devotedly help others.

Lukáš Mada studies Experimental Biology at the Faculty of Science. He also concurrently studies Biology Pedagogy as part of lifelong education studies, and Public Economics and Administration at a distance learning programme at VSB - Technical University of Ostrava. If that were not enough, he works at the Fort Science as a coordinator of popularization programmes.

“I have been volunteering since I started studying at the Faculty of Science. In my first year, I felt a certain emptiness in my free time. There was room for its meaningful use, which is why I found the Olomouc Volunteer Centre JIKA. It’s run by two amazing people I know personally. It has a very friendly family atmosphere,” said the award-winning student.

Among other things, Mada works with seniors from the Protected Housing Service in Zikova Street, with children in the Klokánek (Little Kangaroo) project at homes for women and mothers in Holečkova and Sokolská Streets, he tutors children from disadvantaged families, and spends time at the after-school club at the school for children with hearing disabilities on Kosmonautů Street. “In my life I was very lucky to have been born into the family I was. That I had the background I had. All that shapes one’s personality. I was allowed to develop and be inspired by the people around me, by my whole family. When you see their willingness to invest their free time in us, then you feel a certain debt to society as a whole. That’s the only way to pay it forward,” added Mada.

The Experimental Biology student was awarded a special scholarship by the Dean of the Faculty of Science Martin Kubala. You can listen to an interview in Czech with Lukáš Mada as part of the UP FS podcast on Spotify.







Categories: News from UP

A year of celebrations is commencing, when Palacký University will commemorate 450 years of its existence

Thu, 22/12/2022 - 09:00

It’s here: the countdown has begun! A year of celebrations is commencing in which Olomouc’s university, founded on 22 December 1573, will celebrate 450 years of its existence. And this is why today we are launching a special web and revealing the first items of what will be a very rich programme.

The past is connected to the present and the future, that is the leitmotif of the 2023, a year which in Olomouc will belong to Palacký University. “We are commemorating not only the rich history of our university and the important people whose lives have been connected to it. We will also show a lively, contemporary school, fostering a new generation of students who will determine the future development of our society. The story of our alma mater has been ongoing for almost 450 years and it is one which is still pertinent and consequential. We educate, foster, research, and endeavour to push the boundaries of human knowledge and understanding. This is why we have chosen as the motto for our jubilee year the words of František Palacký, after whom our university was renamed: We are only as strong as our spirit,” said UP Rector Martin Procházka.

The jubilee year will offer dozens of the most diverse events. To name but a few: a ball, concerts, an exhibition of historical university insignia, alumni meetings, an excursion to Palacký’s birthplace, book publications, etc. “The programme, which be continuously supplemented, can be found on a web created especially for the 450th anniversary. We are working on it across university faculties and institutions and involving students as well,” said Vice-Rector for Communications and Student Affairs Vít Procházka, who is in charge of organising the celebrations with his team.

The special webpages for the university celebrations can be found at

Categories: News from UP