In the 11th edition of the contest, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education earmarked 32 million zlotys for funding scientific scholarships for young outstanding scientists. 1,137 young researchers took part in the contest, but there will be only 168 winners – young scientists from different research centres in Poland, who are conducting high quality research with scientific achievements of international significance. There are also three UWM scientists among them. The winners will receive PLN 5,390 a month for three years.
Dr inż. Justyna Możejko-Ciesielska of the Department of Microbiology is studying synthesis of polyhydroxyacids and their application in cosmetics production. Last year, she was appointed to the Board of Young Scientists for the 2015-2017 term, where she is the first representative of the UWM. Dr Możejko-Ciesielska was one of 180 winners of the 2015 edition of the Top 500 Innovators competition, organised by the Ministry of Science. As its winner, she received a scientific internship at Cambridge University.
Dr Tomasz Stenzel (l.35) is a lecturer at the Department of Bird Diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. His scientific interests include molecular diagnostics of infectious diseases of birds, virology, evolutionary genetics of viruses and immunology. What has he done to deserve the scholarship?
‘It may be that when preparing to write the grant application I focused on epidemiology and phylogenetic studies of pigeon circovirus, which – in collaboration with other research centres in Poland and abroad – led to the form of a new strain of the virus. In this manner, I managed to publish a lot of findings in good scientific periodicals, which gave me many points and citations’, he speculates. It was not long ago that Dr Stenzel received a grant from the NCN of the Sonata 8 Programme to finance studies of the effect of a recombinant protein of the capsid of pigeon circovirus on immunological processes in these birds. In a longer-term perspective, these studies aim at producing a vaccine against circovirus infections, which are now a global issue.
‘I am very happy about the scholarship. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with the money’, says Dr Stenzel.
It is not a coincidence that Dr Tomasz Stenzel received a Ministry grant. In 2010, when he was still a doctoral student, he was awarded by the UWM Rector for outstanding study results.
Dr Mikołaj Tarkowski (age 32) works at the Department of History of Polish Law and Law Philosophy of the Faculty of Law and Administration of UWM. His scientific interests include the history of state institutions and law in the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 19th and early 20th century.
‘I think that I won the scholarship for the scientific internships and participation in international science conferences and research programmes at universities in Belogorod and in Moscow, Russia and in Tbilisi, Georgia’, explains Dr Tarkowski.
The ministerial scholarship is not the first distinction in his professional career. The Institute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Kaunas awarded him the Juliusz Bardach Prize for the best doctoral dissertation. The dissertation concerned the legal history of Vilnius from 1918-39.
‘I’m going to spend the money on my upcoming scientific trips’, declares Dr Tarkowski.