12. 01. 2018 Education

Student grants help the Slovak school system: 3 reasons to apply

The school system in Slovakia is currently experiencing calls for change from all corners of society.

One tool that can usher in new possibilities consists of financial grants for students.

They help ambitious young people carry out their plans and improve their chances of getting to prestigious schools and finding the jobs they want. Researchers from the Slovak Academy of Sciences have shared their reasons why young people should apply for grants and respond to calls for projects.

Finalists of the Pontis Foundation’s AXA Endowment Fund for 2016–2017

1. They will gain experience that school often fails to give them

Many grants are meant to be used for financing trainings, conferences and foreign placements. Not only do they help students gain international experience, which widens their horizons in many aspects, but many of them work on their research projects abroad. All of these activities develop the students’ knowledge and skills more than their standard curriculum.

“I think that one of the most important goals of foreign placements and other activities done abroad is the opportunity to meet people from other countries and establish new contacts. It is often invaluable for these students if they can continue working with their classmates even after their placement has ended, get references from professors at prestigious foreign universities or just receive emails with interesting job offers at the right moment,” explains Martin Plávala, a PhD candidate at the Mathematical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

2. They will have the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality

Financial grants may also cover costs associated with the student’s own research, analysis, product development process or other activity. Young students often come up with original and useful solutions, but their elaboration is often hindered by a lack of funding. Financial grants help these students turn their ideas into reality.

For instance, the first edition of the Generation 3.0 Award, which is awarded for innovative approaches to education, was given to Ivana Kravárová and Adrián Hegedüš – two students and authors of ChemPlay, which is a board game that introduces pupils to the principles of chemistry.

“Thanks to our grant, they are currently working on an expansion of their game – a ChemPlay mobile app. Ivana and Adrián are living proof that young students do have opportunities to work on their ideas and succeed in areas which they enjoy and find meaningful,” says Norbert Maur, Senior Manager of the Pontis Foundation’s Generation 3.0 project.

„If we give young people the opportunity to work on their own research, it helps them realize what they can achieve with their curiosity and creativity. Moreover, innovative approaches of the young generation push forward scientific knowledge as a whole,” explains Michaela Debreová, researcher at the Institute of Virology at the Biomedical Research Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

3. They can purchase useful tools

Grants can also cover costs associated with the purchase of hardware and other practical tools that students wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. In this way, the support can also be beneficial in the long run. Last year, for instance, the Pontis Foundation’s AXA Endowment Fund covered the cost of a student’s scientific machine, which enabled him to monitor the fauna and biotope of the Béter marsh.

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