CEITEC Has Launched the Third Call for BRIDGE FUND Applications to Support Student Interdisciplinary Projects
9. Apr. 2020
CEITEC is proud to be the first type of scientific centre in the Czech Republic to integrate research and development in the fields of life sciences, advanced materials, and technologies into such a large range. Interdisciplinarity is CEITEC’s most specific target and mission, and one of its tools to support interdisciplinary projects is a program called the “BRIDGE FUND” which aims to serve as a bridge between life and material sciences research.
Interdisciplinary research can be simply defined as research where two or more disciplines work together to produce a common body of research. In recent decades, interdisciplinarity has rapidly developed in many areas of science and has become a science policy priority.
One of the steps that CEITEC has taken to stimulate research at the interphase between life and material science was the establishment of the BRIDGE FUND, targeted to CEITEC PhD students. Students propose projects based on collaboration between different research areas – one in material science, and one in life sciences. Thus, they work on their projects not only within their own research groups, but also in other laboratories, in collaboration with project partners. “This interphase could be a fertile ground for true innovation,” said Dirk Inzé, a chair of the International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB), in a report on the progress of CEITEC.
Projects are evaluated and selected for support by the Interdisciplinarity Committee, which is composed of representatives from all of the CEITEC organisational units and research programmes. “The main goal of the BRIDGE FUND is to generate scientific breakthroughs that would be based on interdisciplinarity,” added Jaroslav Koča, Scientific Director of CEITEC.
Students whose projects are accepted receive stipend 10 000 CZK per month and a 50 000 CZK lump sum per year for consumables. The time frame of the project is one year (September – August). Afterwards, a student can apply again in the next call for an extension of his/her project (with an explanation of why his/her project should be funded for one more year).
So far, seven projects have been supported, and they cover diverse research topics. For instance, one of the current projects is focused on the preparation of nanoparticles with encapsulated cytostatics that will allow for targeted therapy directly into malignant tissue, and for testing the effects of nanoparticles on immune response.
Eva Vojáčková, a student who received an extension of her project for a second year, summarised the benefits of the stipend fund, “Thanks to the BRIDGE FUND, I have started to work with biocompatible collagen-based scaffolds that were developed by Prof. Lucy Vojtová’s Research Group from CEITEC BUT. This seems to have positively contributed to leukemic growth in the mouse model that I am developing, and thus serves as a suitable environment to explore leukemic cells. The BRIDGE FUND has also been a great motivation for me to push the project forward and provides a source of helpful feedback from our collaborators and the Interdisciplinarity Committee.”
The deadline for submitting applications is 31 May 2020. CEITEC PhD students can find more information and the application form on the BRIDGE FUND website: http://bridgefund.ceitec.cz/.