On Wednesday, 5 April, a festive meeting commemorating the 675th anniversary of the founding of Charles University took place in the Great Hall of the historic Carolinum building. On the occasion, the Miloslav Petrusek Prize for Presentation and the Bedřich Hrozný Prize for Creative Achievement were awarded.
Charles University was founded 675 years ago, on 7 April 1348. And since this year's anniversary falls on Good Friday, it was celebrated two days earlier on Wednesday. Traditionally, the oldest Czech university sees its birthday as an opportunity to support and appreciate university science and members of the academic community who positively influence the university's events through an active approach.
CU Rector Milena Králíčková took the opportunity in her address to attendees from the academic community to focus on the problem of funding in the academic and public spheres. "Even at this festive time for all of us, we cannot just celebrate. Unfortunately, it is now a sad reality that the public higher education sector suffers from underfunding. The causes certainly cannot be found only in the last two years. Thanks to the economic crisis, the long-term deficit is now becoming more pronounced, especially in the most vulnerable segments, which are some of the fields in the humanities and social sciences. But if we don't recognise the fact that public universities as a whole are underfunded, we won't get the solutions our society needs, especially now - just before the onset of strong graduating classes and a rising demographic curve in higher education."
Further, Rector Králíčková said that in addition to seeking solutions to strengthen state funding, universities and their faculties must accelerate more effective operations and changes that will make them emerge from the crisis stronger and more resilient. She added that Charles University is already taking an active approach to this process and is taking a number of such steps. University-wide assistance to war-torn Ukraine on Wednesday was the second key topic in her speech.
Professor Jan Kuklík, Vice-Rector for Academic Appointments, also picked up on the topic of higher education funding in his lecture. According to him, the current topic of funding raises many questions, such as the crucial position of academic self-government, whose role is unquestionable. "Universities are not averse to discussing, for example, with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, their important roles and the fundamental powers of the various bodies of higher education administration. At the same time, they can use the space to convince the public of examples of sound practices such as refinement, and rational debates on funding and internal functioning," said Vice-Rector Kuklik.And more than searching for internal issues in different university disciplines, he called for the unity of the university: 'Its greatest strength lies in discussions and cooperation across disciplines, simply between people who work at the university and who, through their activities, positively influence our society as a whole. I would therefore like to call for dialogue, for finding solutions, taking into account the problems of the more economically fragile faculties, for cohesion in economic problems, and for joint action on the state representation in the search for resources not for survival, but for real development," he said.
On the occasion of the 675th anniversary of the founding of Charles University, awards were presented to prominent personalities at CU.
The first award was the Miloslav Petrusek Award for Presentation and Promotion, which is given for a positive achievement that has a significant impact in promoting the image of Charles University in the public eye. The award is named after one of the most important Czech sociologists, the Dean Emeritus of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University.
This year's prize was awarded by the Rector to a creative team consisting of representatives of the Third Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Arts and Karolinum Publishing House for the creation of the Czech-Ukrainian textbook Léčíme česky. Czech for nurses and other health professionals. Mgr. Iveta Čermáková, PhDr. Marie Zvoníčková, Mgr. Tereza Bakusová, Prof. Petr Čermák, PhD, Bc. Daria Stytsenko, Bc. Roksolana Fedorenko, Mgr. Petr Valo and Mgr. Eva Flanderková, PhD..
The publication is intended for non-medical health professionals, especially nurses, nursing assistants or orderlies. The aim of the authors was to give Ukrainian nurses a chance to find a job in Czech hospitals as quickly as possible. Just three months after the start of the war in Ukraine, the creative team managed to publish the first part of the multimedia interactive textbook and by the beginning of July 2022, the book as a whole was already available for free on the Publi.cz platform, where it has enjoyed extraordinary success
The management of Charles University and the Commission for Communication and PR of Charles University also decided to award an honorary mention to the student of Charles University Mgr. Vojtěch Dostál for his activities in connection with the organization and management of the Czech Wikipedia and his initiative in the project "Students write Wikipedia", which supports students in writing professional articles and thus helps to spread knowledge among the general public.
The University also awarded the Bedřich Hrozný Prize for Creative Achievement, named after the former rector of Charles University, an orientalist and linguist who deciphered the language of the ancient Hittites.
A significant and original contribution was the 2022 publication Communicating doctor's consensus persistently increases COVID-19 vaccinations in Nature doc. Michal Bauer, PhD, and doc. PhDr. Julia Chytilová, Ph.D., from CERGE-EI and the Faculty of Social Sciences.
The authors addressed the issue of vaccine refusal in their research. Their research showed that one of the important reasons for vaccine refusal is the distortion of public perceptions of doctors' views on vaccination. At a general level, their research contributes to understanding how information flows, misinformation and disinformation influence public decision-making on important issues that have real impacts on their quality of life
The Bedřich Hrozný Prize was also awarded to Assoc. Richard Biegel, PhDr., Ph.D., from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University for his monograph City in a Storm - Urbanism and Architecture of the Historical Centre of Prague 1830-1970. This extensive monograph presents the urban and architectural fate of the historical centre of Prague during the period when it was changing from a picturesque historical suburb into an ambitious big city. The work consistently traces the various contemporary currents of opinion that clashed in the struggle over the character of the city.
The Bedřich Hrozný Prize was also awarded to a research team led by MUDr. Mgr. Vít Hubek, Ph.D., from the Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Charles University, for their set of three articles forming the monograph Diversity and taxonomy of food and indoor Aspergillus in the journal Studies in Mycology. This monograph fundamentally changes the view of current fungal systematics and the definition of the species as such. Their work resulted in a significant reduction in the number of species in the model of one of the most important genera of microscopic fungi, Aspergillus. The implications of simplifying the fungal classification system have wide-ranging implications for practice, where food inspection systems or diagnostics in clinical categories will be simplified. The award-winning team includes: MUDr. Mgr. Mgr. Vít Hubka, Ph.D., Mgr. František Sklenář, Mgr. Kateřina Glässnerová, Mgr. Miroslav Kolařík, Ph.D., RNDr. Alena Kubátová, CSc.
The Bedřich Hrozný Prize was awarded to the research and patent of Ultra-high-frequency ECG by doc. MUDr. Ing. Karol Čurila, Ph.D.
UHF-EKG is able to describe the nature of cardiac activation in a unique and detailed way, which cannot be obtained using conventional ECG. The method has a great potential for clinical use, especially in patients suffering from heart rhythm disorders and heart failure, because in some of these patients we are still unable to determine the correct course of treatment.
Musical accompaniment was provided by the university choir, as well as violinist Pavla Tesarova and cellist Juraj Škoda with Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonata for solo violin in D minor "Ballade", Op. 27 and Johan Halvorsen: Passacaglia for violin and cello.
TEXT: Pavla Hubálková
PHOTOS: Jan Kolský