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Photo: ESET Science Award 2020 (www.esetscienceaward.sk)

The voice of scientists in dealing with global problems should not be ignored

ESET Science Award is a private initiative that recognises exceptional individuals of Slovak science – an ambitious project run by global cybersecurity company ESET that hopes to make a difference on a global scale. The aim of the ESET Science Award is to highlight personalities within Slovak science whose contribution is significant not only for Slovakia but also in the international scientific research arena.


On 14 October 2020, The ESET Science Award recognised its new winners. They were selected by an international commission, headed by Nobel prize winner Kip Thorne, on the basis of a demanding evaluation process.

Fedor Šimkovic was named laureate in the category Outstanding Personality of Slovak Science, Tamás Csanádi was named winner in the Outstanding Young Scientist under 35 category, and Ivan Varga became the Outstanding University Teacher laureate. The winners were selected by an international commission and based on demanding criteria, such as current scientific research results and publications, measurable scientometric data, involvement in international scientific projects, communication and popularisation, cooperation with other scientific disciplines, the principles of scientific ethics, the potential impact of scientific work on other areas of life, and its use as a touchstone reference by close collaborators and students.

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Photo: ESET Science Award 2020 (www.esetscienceaward.sk)

The importance of listening to scientists

Science is key to solving global problems such as pandemics and climate change, but we need leaders who listen to science.

The International Commission was chaired by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Professor Kip Thorne, one of three awarded scientists involved in the first direct detection and observation of gravitational waves. Professor Thorne is one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s theory of relativity. In his latest speech as the ESET Science Award international jury chair, Professor Thorne pointed out the importance of listening to scientists and respecting scientific knowledge.

“Science and technology based on scientific research are key to solving problems such as pandemics or global warming – they can save the world,” Professor Thorne stated during his speech to the scientific community in Slovakia. “I consider it equally important to encourage respect among both politicians and the public in science, and in the views of scientists. We also need a new generation of world leaders who will lead the world to responsible and science-based solutions. The key benefit of the ESET Science Award is this inspiration, and its approach to highlighting the importance of science for society.”

Professor Thorne reiterated that viral diseases are one of humanity’s most serious problems today. “Many countries have ignored the voice of scientists in dealing with the pandemic. Slovakia can be a positive example for the world, on how scientific solutions can save many lives,”

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Photo: ESET Science Award 2020 (www.esetscienceaward.sk)

Original Slovak research on the coronavirus

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COVID-19 drive-in testing in Bratislava. (Source: Sme, spectator.sme.sk)

Funded by the ESET Foundation, a team of Slovak scientists developed their own internationally validated COVID-19 tests. In a rapid response to the pandemic, the team donated 100,000 kits for routine testing to the Slovak Republic and has made the tests available to other countries.

Read more about the research in Kongres Magazine’s article here.

The ESET Science Award is held under the auspices of Zuzana Čaputová, President of the Slovak Republic, and has received praise from international personalities such as Sir Roger Penrose, who is one the recipients of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics.

“I believe that the authority of science and scientists should be taken into account in the public discourse too. Because not only do we live in an era with a global pandemic, but also an infodemic, one which is defined by the systematic production of misinformation,” Mrs. Čaputová said in her opening address.