« Make your application stand out »: The National Scholarship Program of the Slovak Republic, an exclusive account
By Viktor Kichera, Uzhhorod National University (Ukraine), scholarship holder at the Greek and Catholic Theological Faculty of Prešov University (2016) and at the Catholic University in Ruzomberok (2017)
The National Scholarship Program of the Slovak Republic is an open funding program for all disciplines including historical and social topics. Citizens of all countries can apply for a fellowship in scientific and educational institutions in Slovakia. These institutions are defined on the program website, which is rather convenient and operates in various languages including French.
Somewhere since 2015, despite permanently widespread populism not only in Europe, but also in the world, I was interested in the subject of social activity of the church in the eastern suburbs of Slovakia and Subcarpathia / Transcarpathia, because historically these suburban regions presented a favourable ground for modern ideologies of the ХІХ-ХХ centuries. I wanted to continue the research on history of the Church in the social sphere : how did the Church resolve and prevent social problems among the population and its own clergy?
The letter of invitation: one of the requirements of the program
The Greek and Catholic Theological Faculty of Prešov University (GTFPU) in the Slovak Republic has a long tradition of historical research, including social topics such as church schooling in Eastern Slovakia and Subcarpathia / Transcarpathia, given that traditionally the Church was engaged in the education of the rural population living in mountainous and boundary territories.
In 2015 I first got in touch with professor Peter Shturak and doctor Yaroslav Tsoranich, the dean and pro-dean respectively of GTFPU, having published an article in the faculty magazine Theologos on one of the most prominent bishops of Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite, Pavlo Hoidych (OSBM). At the same time, together with the pro-dean Yaroslav Tsoranich, an expert on the history of the Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite between the world wars, we decided to further deepen this subject. To receive funding for this project I suggested the National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Republic, about which I learned from a university colleague. The requested letter of invitation has to state why your project is useful for your desired scientific or educational host institution.
A straightforward submission and acceptance process
The only main requirement for receiving a grant is to be a professional, full-time academic. It is desirable to have publications in the SCOPUS or Web of Knowledge databases and to prepare 4 documents – the letter of invitation, a research plan, a CV and a list of publications. All these requirements can be found on the program website.
Concerning the research plan it should be accurate and clear, desirably executed in the form of a table with the planned schedule of scientific work in archives, libraries, holding scientific seminars, lectures and so forth. The research plan has to be drawn up on two to three pages or slightly more (but not less), stating the term and amount of the planned work. You should include all your publications in the list of publications – both monographs, and articles. Requirements to the CV are standard – provide your career path, professional skills, teaching activity, and the main awards and scientific achievements.
Enhance your application’s competitiveness
The success of our application depends directly on us. When preparing a certain subject, it is necessary to show through the list of publications that you are the specialist in this subject. Besides data from SCOPUS and Web of Knowledge bases it is good to have publications in Slovakian journals or publishing houses, which would also confirm your scientific contacts with Slovakian institutions (though this isn’t compulsory). The main thing is to develop your proposed topic in a long-term perspective: to not only plan lectures and work in scientific institutions, but also to conduct practical researches, trying to process and present your results for a more general public. It is therefore recommendable to include pratical elements, such as questionaries, in your research plan.
Thus, beginning from the first idea and before obtaining the positive decision from the grantors, it is necessary to carry out four stages: to organize a letter of invitation from the desired Slovak scientific or educational host institution, to write the research plan, to prepare the bibliography and to submit the CV. Furthermore, renowned publications and timeliness of your project will make your application stand out.
The call for applications of the National Scholarship Program of the Slovak Republic is accepting applications until 31st October, 2017.