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Academy of Sciences succeeds in luring smart people

SAV’s special programme effectively lures researchers from abroad to Slovakia, both expats and foreigners.

SAV opens its doors not just to the public (on Open Day) but also to scientists from abroad, Slovaks and foreigners alike. (Source: TASR)

The Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) seems to be more efficient than the state in offering scientists the motivation to stay at home – or come to Slovakia.

While the state offers one-off financial stimuli, the SAV repays the costs of research and the pay of scientists, the Hospodárske Noviny (HN) daily wrote on November 15.

Within its SASPRO programme aimed at reducing brain drain from Slovakia, the SAV has received a total of 138 applications, out of which 38 scientists have been selected so far: 16 Slovaks and 22 foreigners.

They can apply for a professional stay between 12 and 36 months long.

Who are the participants in SASPRO?

"The SASPRO programme enables us to show people that our science makes sense; but also that we would need support so that the potential of skilled people can be fully developed,” Andrea Bábelová of the SAV Biomedical Centre told the SITA newswire. She is also one of the returning “brains,” since she returned to Slovakia after 10 years of a research career in Germany. She focuses on nano-medicine, and thanks to SASPRO, she managed to put together her own research team that uses her experience from abroad.

Two other scientists who appealed for a research stay here include Oleksandra Ivanov from Ukraine, who works for the Astronomical Institute in Kiev, Ukraine. She says she would like to stay in Slovakia, due to better work and personal conditions. The third foreign researcher who took part in the November 14 press conference is Dirk Dalberg of Germany, who studies the Slovak history of the 1970s and 1980s, the dissent in then-communist Czechoslovakia and their political opinions.

Read also:Migration finally reverses

SASPRO will end next year but the SAV is preparing a similar programme in which it will cooperate with two Bratislava-based universities: Comenius University and the Slovak University of Technology, according to SITA.

Unlike SAV, the state only managed in luring 11 people to Slovakia through its finance and education ministries’ programme Returning Home, of whom six are experienced scientists, HN reminded. Originally, 50 scientists a year were expected, with a job offer in state administration and a one-time contribution of €50,000. However, only those 11 people have accepted the offer since the programme’s launch in 2015.

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