THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SZEGED SCIENTISTS ACADEMY INTO THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENTIST EDUCATION
In 2013, the Foundation for the Future of Biomedical Sciences in Szeged established the Szeged Scientists Academy. Based on the results listed over the years, it came to the point in 2021 where - with the support of the Hungarian government - the name of the Foundation was changed (to National Biomedical Foundation) and the program expand to National Academy of Scientist Education (NASE) program, to include all cities with institutes of higher education in human life sciences (Budapest, Debrecen, Pécs, Szeged).
The short-term goal of the program remains to embrace talented young people interested in biomedical research, to support their scientific work, to make the career model of scientists more attractive, as well as to keeping young researchers in Hungary in the long-term.
GENERAL INTRODUCTION OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENTIST EDUCATION
One of the essential innovations of the educational processes of the Szeged Scientists Academy, established by the Foundation at the beginning of the program, and then of the National Academy of Scientist Education starting in September 2021, is that it guides students who are talented in research through the steps of becoming a scientist from their secondary school years.
The principal education of secondary school students takes place in three central student laboratories and 14 regional “base schools”. The national centres are the TERMOSZ laboratory (Radnóti Miklós Experimental Grammar School in Szeged), the SzeReTed laboratory (University of Szeged Teacher Training Secondary and Primary School) and the József Gyulai Natural Science (Németh László Secondary and Primary School in Hódmezővásárhely) which were originally created in the framework of an EU tender. The aim of the Academy was to establish close cooperation with these institutions during the implementation of the program. Accordingly, the government support granted to the program made it possible to supplement and renovate laboratories and equipment that also serve the purposes of the program in all three central schools.
Thanks to these investments, a new laboratory enabling bioinformatics-based experiments was established at the Németh László Secondary and Primary School in Hódmezővásárhely.
The basement of the separate laboratory building at the Radnóti Miklós Experimental Grammar School in Szeged was renovated. Two smaller laboratories for molecular biology experiments were designed, as well as two additional micro-laboratories, which are to be used to house and operate the modern imaging devices that are yet to be purchased.
The university students are trained in 4 cities (Budapest, Debrecen, Pécs, Szeged), in six Scientific Laboratories, at the best-equipped laboratories in the country, under the professional supervision of the best mentors (the so-called Szent-Györgyi Mentors). In each laboratory, a group of mentors awaits the students, who will also start research work along with their university studies. On the educational side, the university students are helped with an individual curriculum, so students can independently plan being in the laboratory when necessary for their research work. Of course, high-quality research activity cannot come at the expense of educational obligations.
The work of the Szent-Györgyi Mentors is supported by an International Mentor Team of nearly 60 members including outstanding researchers, including several Nobel Laureates.
The National Academy of Scientists Education’s first dormitory was opened in Szeged, which students can use from the 2022/23 academic year.
THE BERT SAKMANN DORMITORY
The aim of the Academy is to ensure that the program’s conditions meet high professional expectations, and that those participating in the program are placed in a highly motivating, quality environment.
This idea has already been realized in Szeged when the NASE’s first dormitory – the Bert Sakmann Dormitory – was opened in the spring of 2022. In addition to several student rooms, there is also an international mentor room, where Nobel Laureates and other internationally renowned mentors can comfortably spend time in the company of young people. In addition to these rooms, a community and educational space has been created, where cultural programs, professional forums and trainings are organized for the students of the Academy.
The aim of the Academy is to educate broad-minded, educated intellectuals who, in addition to their excellent professional knowledge, will be useful members of society.