Responsibility for the talent

2022. február 21.

It is a talented person, they used to say of outstanding talent, no matter what they are outstanding at. Anett Schwarcz Ph.D. student is also talented, firstly because of her talent, but also because she won the Richter Gedeon Nyrt. Talent Scholarship.

Fashion also applies to words and expressions and the use of the old word "talentum" (talent) is no exception. Today, it is mostly used in the name of talent foundations, it has disappeared from the public discourse in Hungary and is no longer used as a unit of measurement or money in Iraq or Kuwait, countries that are located in the territory of ancient Mesopotamia, from where it spread to the ancient Greek city-states and Rome. For the Sumerians, it was the weight of a cubic foot (28.317 liters) of water or 28.3 kg. In the successor states, talents made of gold or silver weighed 40-60 kg, while the most common Greek talent, the Attic, weighed only 26.2 kg, but it was certainly of great value as money. So much so that many people could not get it with a lifetime's work. The daily pay of a Roman soldier was one silver denarius, so even if he was always fit for duty, if he actually received his pay every day, he would have had to serve for more than 26 years to earn a total of one silver talent. This is why it became such a famous unit of money, which is also recorded in the Bible, which may have contributed greatly to its being remembered along with the cube. And the parable of the talents in the Bible, which is even easier to understand in the case of people with outstanding talents, is that those who are given talents must use them, use them, spin them so that they can profit so that they can make more of them.

A foundation that chooses Talent as its name would certainly agree. It helps its award winners to focus on the activities and work they do best so that they can achieve the most for their talents.
Gedeon Richter, the creator of the modern Hungarian pharmaceutical industry and founder of the first pharmaceutical company in Hungary, was an outstandingly talented man, both as a pharmacist and as a businessman. It is very likely that he would approve of the aim of the "Talentum Foundation", established by Richter Gedeon Plc, which has announced the Richter Talentum Excellence Ph.D. Scholarship from 2020, open to young people with outstanding achievements who are in receipt of a state scholarship. And everyone at our institute who knows Anette Schwarcz will agree that it was the right decision to choose her as one of the recipients.

- How did you hear about this opportunity?

- My thesis supervisors, Dr. Ádám Dénes, Dr. Csaba Cserép, and Dr. Balázs Pósfai drew my attention to the scholarship opportunity offered by the Talentum Foundation of Richter Gedeon NyRt., and I am very grateful to them for helping me with the application. The fellowship supports the research work of students in publicly funded Ph.D. courses for a minimum of 2 years, but the support can be extended until the end of the Ph.D. course, as decided by the Board of Trustees.

- When do you start to benefit from being a "talented" Ph.D. student?

- In 2021, as a recent Ph.D. student, I had the honor of being one of the students who received this award. It was a great pleasure for me to be considered worthy!

- Apart from the fact that the winner will receive a scholarship at the same level as a state scholarship, which will give them more financial security, are there any other services or benefits?

- Yes, because it supports not only the Ph.D. student but also the research he/she is doing, with the same amount as the state scholarship. In my case, this means that we can use it to buy the antibodies we need for our research or the equipment we need for small lab work. For this reason, I would recommend it to all Ph.D. students because it is a very good opportunity.

- Yes, more similar applications are needed, not only for excellent Ph.D. students but also for undergraduate students doing research in a laboratory.

- The Richter Talentum Foundation supports both undergraduate and postgraduate students! This shows that Richter really cares about finding and nurturing talented young people. So it is worthwhile for our TDK students to apply!

- An old, well-known company with foreign subsidiaries, extensive international contacts, and success - how was the awards ceremony there?

- After the evaluation and the decision, the members of the Board of Trustees wanted to organize a ceremony to get to know the applicants better. I was very sympathetic to this idea, but unfortunately, the COVID situation made it impossible. In the end, we managed to hold the award ceremony online in January 2022, without missing the discussions! There were about fifteen of us, and we all got a few minutes to talk about ourselves, our research careers, and our hobbies. The conversations were very convivial, as the members of the Board of Trustees were very interested and kind. In addition, we heard very interesting and exciting presentations on the different research areas.

- Are so many award winners too many or too few?

- According to the Trustees, last year's call attracted a very large number of applications with a wide range of research projects. For me, it is a particular pleasure to feel that I have won this grant in a very competitive environment.

- I can believe that for an outstanding athlete like you! Just answer me, please, what was your winning research topic!

- In 2020 we made a big breakthrough with our research team. The significance of this achievement is that our research results on the microglia-neuron somatic connectivity we identified were published in Science.
I applied for the grant with our research to explore the role of this somatic connection in neurogenesis.