Grant from the MJJ foundation and the VU Foundation for young researchers

Vilnius University (VU) Foundation, together with the support of philanthropist’s Marius Jakulis Jason foundation provided funding for talented and internationally experienced young researchers Dr. Mantas Šimėnas and Dr. Thomas Peak.

The young researchers were selected from nine applications submitted to the co-financing competition to attract talents, organized by the VU Foundation. The competition winners each will be provided with 30 thousand euros additional financing to their provided salaries, for two years. The researchers will begin their academic activities at VU starting this autumn. Dr. M. Šimėnas will join the Faculty of Physics, while Dr. T. Peak will join the team of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science (TSPMI).

According to VU Vice-Rector of Science, Professor Edita Sužiedėlienė, attracting talented and internationally experienced researchers is strategically important for the development and strengthening of science at the university. “It is very delightful that young researchers from various fields of science will have the possibility to realize their ideas and to develop scientific research at Vilnius University,” says Professor E. Sužiedėlienė.

“One of the main priorities of the VU Foundation is to encourage talented and internationally experienced young researchers to link their careers with VU by providing additional funding. As VU Rector prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas mentions, universities have always been a place where scientists from different countries and different research traditions could discover new perspectives together. We hope that the addition of Dr. M. Šimėnas and Dr. T. Peak to the Faculty of Physics and TSPMI will increase the international competitiveness of VU. We would like to thank the philanthropic MJJ foundation for its contribution to the funding of talented academics,” says Justinas Noreika, Director of the VU Foundation.

A young researcher from the University of Cambridge at VU TSPMI 

Starting this autumn, Dr. Thomas Peak, a young researcher of Irish descent and the winner of the co-financing competition, will share his significant experience with the community of VU TSPMI. His resume includes studies and work at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Queen Mary in the United Kingdom and at the University of Central Europe (CEU) in Hungary.

Dr. Peak’s main research interests include international relations, particularly international intervention and peacekeeping missions, the responsibility to protect civilians, regional security arrangements, international security and global history. Perhaps the most important publication of the young scientist is the book “Westphalia From Below. Humanitarian Intervention and the Myth of 1648”, published in London this year. In this book, the author examines the significance of the legendary and problematic Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 and its importance for contemporary international politics and humanitarian protection.

While working at TSPMI, the young researcher will prepare international publications and applications for Marie Curie and ERA projects funded by Horizon Europe. Dr. T. Peak’s experience and acquaintance gained through the establishment and administration of the Center for Geopolitical Studies at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, will significantly contribute to the internationalization of science at VU and the creation of new international scientific networks.

A talented quantum technology researcher joins the VU Faculty of Physics

The next winner of the co-financing competition, Dr. Mantas Šimėnas, is an active participant and speaker at international scientific conferences and has listed over 60 scientific publications in his resume. This young researcher has accumulated experience from the Joseph Stefan Institute in Slovenia, University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom and the University of Leipzig in Switzerland. During the autumn, he will start his work at Vilnius University, where he will research the future of electron-spinning qubits in quantum materials.

According to the representatives of the Faculty of Physics, the European Union credits quantum technologies to be the key technologies of the future, which will significantly contribute to the revolution of computing, secure communication, quantum internet, cryptography, quantum sensors and medicine. With the addition of M. Šimėnas, the VU Faculty of Physics will start the experimental development of quantum technologies for the first time.

The main goal of M. Šimėnas’ future research is to conduct quantum technology research in Lithuania using the experience gained in foreign institutions and established contacts with leading scientists in this field, including John Morton (UCL, United Kingdom), Andrei Faraon (California Institute of Technology, USA) and Patrice Bertet (Saclay University of Paris, France). The successful implementation of the project will put VU on the map of quantum technology centres, which will allow the development of international research and participation in EU-funded quantum technology consortia, such as Quantum Flagship and other international projects.

Noreika, the Director of the VU Foundation, hopes that by attracting more philanthropists who value the importance of Lithuanian science to the sponsoring community and by consistently increasing the return on endowment capital investments, tens of scientific talents will be provided financing in the near future. It is expected that the addition of Dr. M. Šimėnas, Dr. T. Peak and other talented researchers to VU will increase the international competitiveness of the university.


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