The applications of four ELKH researchers were awarded grants in the 2020 “Lendület” Program competition. Including these successful candidates, the number of research groups of the “Lendület” Program will increase by nine in the period between 2020 and 2025. The winners will receive a total of HUF 360 million in support during the first year of research. 

This year’s call for proposals received 106 valid applications in the “Lendület” I category for those just starting independent research and in the “Lendület”II category announced for those continuing independent research work. The jury announced the projects of nine applicants as winners, four of whom work in institutions affiliated with the ELKH.

Ethnoecologist Dániel Babai, a researcher at the Institute of Ethnology of the Research Centre for the Humanities, brings together representatives of the natural and social sciences to examine today’s rural societies in Central and Eastern Europe, their diverse relationship with the natural environment, and their traditional ecological knowledge. Their goal is to think together with local communities, combining local ecological knowledge and the results of scientific research to develop forms of land use that can help create sustainable, complex social ecological systems for the local community and the natural environment that respond properly to ecological, social and political changes.

Mathematician Péter Csikvári, research fellow at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics, associate professor of the Faculty of Science of Eötvös Loránd University, is engaged in one of the most exciting scientific topics of today, networks. The aim of his research group is to develop a mathematical toolkit that can be used to understand large networks, known as graphs in mathematical language, in a quantitative way. To do this, they want to place knowledge in several areas of mathematics, statistical physics and computer science in a common context by leveraging the intuition of statistical physicists, the algorithmic approach of computer science and the precise conceptualization of mathematics.

Neurobiologist Dániel Hillier, a researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology of the Research Centre for Natural Sciences, set out to explore the role of cortical and subcortical areas and certain cell types in binocular information processing functions in normal and animals with induced lazy eye. His research team will use state-of-the-art, genetically targeted cell circuit access strategies in cat brains. These allow causal and cell type-specific testing and restoration of binocular integration in an induced lazy-eye (amblyopia) disorder model.

Biologist Gergely Maróti, senior research fellow at the Institute of Plant Biology of the Szeged Biological Research Centre, is planning research that can be used in the production of biohydrogen related to wastewater treatment. All microorganisms live in a community, the composition and complexity of which can vary greatly. Researchers have become partially familiar with the operation of many model microbes in recent decades. However, in most cases, the research has not been conducted in the natural medium of the organisms studied, but in defined, simplified laboratory systems. Although scientists have information at the molecular level on some basic microbial interactions, many aspects of the systems studied in detail still need to be explored (e.g., the effect of additional coexisting organisms or the exact path and mediating elements of information flow between species). Gergely Maróti’s specific goal is to investigate the significance of extracellular electron transfer (EET) in complex microbial systems.

In 2009, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences announced the “Lendület” Program of Excellence for young researchers. The program’s main objective is to dynamically renew the research carried out in research institutes and universities by inviting internationally outstanding researchers and outstanding young talents from abroad, while keeping others at home. The “Lendület” Program is designed to jointly support excellence and mobility, and in accordance with this, to provide funding for research teams developing new topics at host research sites. In the last ten years, a total of 180 dynamic research groups have been formed, to which another nine have been added this year.

From August 2019, the funds of the “Lendület” Program will be provided by the Secretariat of the ELKH. The tasks related to the successful implementation of the program are carried out by the Secretariat of the ELKH in cooperation with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The ELKH Secretariat also intends to fund further grant proposals to promote research excellence in the future from the anticipated additional budget.

More information on the 2020 “Lendület” competition and its winners can be found on the website below.

Source: mta.hu