Authors prof. RNDr. Helena Bujdáková, CSc.
Mgr. Barbora Radochová, PhD.
MSc. Kristína van der Ploeg
employed at the Department of Microbiology and Virology of the Faculty of Natural Science, Comenius University

The European Commission (EC) presents challenges that allow research and scientific institutions to improve science as such, even in countries where the self-realization of scientists does not work sufficiently. A large part of the challenges is also aimed at innovation and dissemination of knowledge, not only within the scientific community but also for the general public.
Comenius University in Bratislava and its talented young scientists, experienced teachers and researchers use EU resources not only to “strengthen” Slovak science and innovation but also to develop human resources. It may seem that this area is not that important for Slovak science, as its results are not immediately visible. The possibility of employing workers within the framework of Union projects leads to the improvement of their knowledge and skills following the example of developed Western neighbours. Dissemination is an integral part of these projects, i.e., dissemination of key knowledge and experience, both in the field of “excellent” scientific research, including the implementation of innovative ideas and procedures in the form of patents, but also in the framework of education and promotion among the general public. It requires managerial qualities, administrative skills and a collective spirit. The key task is to assemble such a team that covers all the mentioned areas. Research, self-study and publishing in quality professional journals is an obvious part of this. The period of the covid-19 pandemic brought topics that have resonated with society for a long time. The topic of health suddenly became the most important. However, social conditions also changed, collective immunity weakened, and then a war conflict broke out near the EU area. All this leads to a general change of priorities in the human population. Within the EU, Slovakia is provided with the possibility of self-realization in various areas with an emphasis on the need to invest in the development of scientific and educational institutions.

Close up the media plate on hand medical technicians working on bacterial culture and drug resistance of pathogens in laboratory.

EU pillars offer open space in “open science” in many areas: scholarships for young scientists or programs for excellent scientists-beginners or more experienced ones who push their research beyond the boundaries of knowledge. An important part of these schemes are projects aimed at training human resources. They are intended mainly for countries that joined the Union later, including us. As part of such a scheme, the CEMBO project, which is implemented at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University in Bratislava, was also successful. The project was approved at the pandemic’s beginning, which significantly affected its implementation. Many meetings took place only online, activities had to be modified. However, this situation led to the development of creativity and the search for new approaches in meeting the set milestones. Our challenge within Comenius University is not only to advance but also to improve our position at the institutional level. The EU offers the opportunity to learn from more experienced countries; follow, monitor and try to implement the functioning of project management of European top institutions in scientific and educational institutions in Slovakia. One of the final outputs of such projects, including our CEMBO project, is people who have more experience, and understand EC criteria and its mission to improve the quality of life of EU citizens. The situation in Slovakia and in the world, in general, is currently extremely difficult. However, we should focus on improving and increasing the motivation of workers, in order to stimulate enthusiasm for research among young students and scientists. It is crucial that they feel freer, more creative, and more courageous, and that they are not afraid to discuss in scientific as well as civil forums. Support from EU programs also leads to this.



What does it mean for Slovakia to be able to participate in scientific programs supported by the EU?