1. Nov. 2023

The Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research has been awarding the Danubius awards since 2011. It recognises outstanding scientific achievements that contribute to the development of the Danube region. In addition to the Danubius Award and the Danubius Mid-Career Award, the organiser also presents the Danubius Young Scientist Awards. The winner of this category is Zdeněk Jakub from Brno University of Technology who works at CEITEC BUT and focuses his research on single-atom catalysts, which have the potential to make chemical processes more efficient in new green technologies.

In addition to Zdeněk Jakub, 13 other young scientists received the Danubius Young Scientist Award, one from each of the Danube basin countries. The award ceremony took place on 19 October at the Universitatea de Vest in Timisoara, Romania, as part of the Danube Region Rectors' Conference.

Unfortunately, it had to do without the physical presence of the Brno scientist. Nevertheless, connected at least remotely. In his speech, he thanked the organizers for the preparation of the event and the support of young scientists. He also presented his research and explained its potential impact: "The basic research I am doing can directly contribute to making green technologies, which are currently too expensive, cheaper and more widespread. A prominent example is hydrogen production by sunlight powered water splitting. That is a concept that generally works but at the moment is so inefficient that it cannot be used at large scale. The ultimate goal is to make similar energy applications more efficient and therefore more widespread."

Zdeněk Jakub graduated in Physical Engineering and Nanotechnology at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of BUT and then continued his doctoral studies at TU Wien where he began to specialize in surface physics. Thanks to the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant, he returned to Brno in 2020.

Since then he has continued the research at CEITEC BUT, which he started working on in Vienna: "I am primarily concerned with so-called model systems which I study at the atomic level under high vacuum conditions. This allows me to answer fundamental questions in the field: how to stabilize individual atoms and how to optimize their reactivity for the desired chemical reactions. I believe that the scientific committee of the Danubius Young Scientist Awards has recognized my scientific achievements so far, the importance of my research at the international level, and the potential for further development of excellent research in the Central European area," says Zdeněk about the connection of the award with his current research.

The Danubius Young Scientist Awards have been awarded since 2014 to young talents across scientific disciplines. They highlight the scientific work and talent of young researchers and help them get involved in the Danube region in various ways. The prizes for young researchers are endowed with € 1,350 per award winner. The selection is made by an international peer review. Germanist Adéla Grimes from Palacký University in Olomouc received the award for the Czech Republic in 2022.

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