Talented scientist headed to Cambridge University to pursue her dream
Physical chemist Veronika Šedajová is heading to the University of Cambridge at the end of April. She will spend the next two years at the prestigious Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry doing materials research in close contact with industry. The young scientist has gained experience in this field thanks to her involvement in international projects of the European Research Council or the European Innovation Council of the principal investigator Michal Otyepka. Thanks to this, she can now fulfil her dream.
“At my new workplace, I will be involved in various projects. The main task will be to study the mechanisms of (de)lithiation or degradation of a range of materials, including cathode materials with high nickel content and anode materials using mainly operando experimental techniques. The position also involves collaboration with the commercial sector,” said Šedajová, who recently completed her PhD in Physical Chemistry at the Faculty of Science. Her mentors were mainly Aristeidis Bakandritsos and Michal Otyepka.
Already during her studies, she has been involved in prestigious projects, won major awards including the Jean-Marie Lehn Prize for Chemistry 2022, and gained experience in scientific work at major institutions abroad, including Drexel University in the USA. She is also passionate about promoting science to the general public.
“Veronika is a young scientist with extraordinary talent, and the fact that she has achieved a number of significant successes already during her studies reflects her incredible diligence and dedication to science. It is a great honor to have been able to support her on her journey to obtain a position at a prestigious university. I believe that her achievements will inspire and motivate other students,” said Otyepka.
To get a position at the university, which according to the QS 2023 rankings is the best in Europe, Veronika had to put in considerable effort and demonstrate her perseverance and determination. “I was looking at open positions at different universities around the world and this one caught my eye. I applied, sent my CV and a cover letter. Subsequently, our wonderful supervisors wrote letters of recommendation on my behalf. I had three interviews and finally got an offer. It’s an incredible honor and still feels like I’m dreaming. I guess it will hit me when I get there. I appreciate it very much and have a lot of respect at the same time,” the scientist revealed.
She appreciates the fact that in her new position, which also focuses significantly on collaboration with industry, she will be able to benefit from the experience she has gained at CATRIN. “Thanks to my involvement in Professor Otyepka´s ERC Proof of Concept grant and currently in the EIC project, I have gained not only a lot of experience, but also insight and new perspectives on scientific work. The fact that I already have experience in materials chemistry, electrochemistry and collaboration with industry helped me to get a position in Cambridge. However, I realize that I will have to learn a lot of new things. But I am looking forward to it because I love learning new things,” Veronika concluded.
There are other young scientists who have recently headed to prestigious foreign workplaces. “I am pleased that a number of Palacký University graduates who have worked with us have found employment abroad, for example at Cornell University in the USA and Imperial College in London. Since last year, Tomáš Malina has been working at the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Sweden in one of the world’s top groups in the field of nanotoxicity. Michal Langer, a computational chemist, works at the Centre for New Technologies at the University of Warsaw. Fresh graduate Lukáš Zdražil is now working at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen in Professor Guldi’s lab. These young people are becoming the best ambassadors of our research,” added Otyepka.