Supporting scholarship in the Western Balkans

Kondic prize submissions

Ivan Kraus, Earthquake Engineering (Croatia, 2014):

‘The memory of the summer of 2013 never fails to make me feel good. Instead of enjoying a warm breeze at the Adriatic Coast somewhere in Croatia, I spent that summer at the University of Dundee. During my stay in the UK I met notable scholars, gained new knowledge of experiment preparation, learned how to interpret and prepare earthquake signals for structural analyses, and was also enriched with know-how to better prepare exams and high-quality lectures for students. Dr. Jonathan Knappett was my mentor and supervisor during my stay at the University of Dundee. His always positive approach gave me additional encouragement and even stronger motivation for my research. From him I learned about geotechnical centrifuge technology and modelling of complex geotechnical problems. Moreover, he introduced me to his colleagues whose research papers and books I always admired and read with great interest. I brought this knowledge of centrifuge technology back to Osijek where I started building a small educational centrifuge. My wish was to provide my colleagues and students with a tool that would allow them to acquire new and expand their existing knowledge. I was elated to receive the Voya Kondic Memorial Prize because I knew that this would enable me to finish and upgrade the educational centrifuge at my home university.  Nowadays it is used by my colleagues to enhance their classes, but it also supports my students in their masters thesis research. The British Scholarship Trust provided me with an opportunity to feel the pulse of a highly-ranked multicultural university and also to see how a state-of-the-art laboratory breathes.

As I write this I am sure that the British Scholarship Trust grant was my springboard to academic and personal success. After returning back home from my visit to the University of Dundee, I earned my PhD in earthquake engineering, I received the Best Lecturer award presented by the Association of the Faculty of Civil Engineering Students in Osijek and also, I received the Charter of the Community of Technical Culture of the City of Osijek for achievements and contribution of importance for the development of technical culture in the City of Osijek. Today I safeguard the deeply embedded memory of the summer spent in Dundee. And I will always be happy to share my know-how with prospective scholars interested in the British Scholarship Trust grants and to assist them in searching for placement at a UK university.’   

Milena Mazalovska, Biological Chemistry (Macedonia, 2014):

‘For a researcher from Macedonia finding scholarship opportunities to do scientific research outside of my country is scarce at best. The British Scholarship Trust came at the right moment in my scientific career. I was in my second year of my PhD program when I applied and received a BST grant for my research project that was completed at the John Innes Center (JIC), UK under the supervision of prof. George Lomonossoff. Upon my return, I was also awarded the Voya Kondic Memorial prize for the best use of time during my study visit. BST was my very first scholarship and it changed my perspective of where my scientific career could go, igniting my desire for travelling. So much so that I received a few other grants and managed to go back to the same laboratory twice more that led to the completion of my PhD.  Fast forward today, I am currently residing in the USA working as a postdoctoral associate at University of Louisville, KY, continuing my passion for learning and research, something that I thought was unattainable at the time.

All things considered, winning the BST scholarship was a stepping-stone to my scientific career that showed me that everything is attainable if I set my mind to it.’

Vedrana Tokić, Nuclear Astrophysics (Croatia, 2015):

‘My main motivation for applying for this scholarship was to work on my PhD thesis with Professor Freer’s Nuclear Physics group at the University of Birmingham. The guidance and constructive advice from members of Professor Freer’s group were most helpful. I managed to analyse the data and get the final spectra needed for finishing my PhD thesis. The detailed steps of this analysis are described in my thesis and serve as a guideline for other PhD students at my home Institute.’  

Irena Pavela Banai, Evolutionary Psychology (Croatia, 2017):

‘As a grantee of the British Scholarship Trust I had an amazing opportunity to spend three months at the University of Stirling in Scotland. I worked with Professor S. Craig Roberts, who has an international reputation for ground-breaking discoveries in the field of human ethology and evolutionary psychology. Working under his supervision has had a great impact on my career and the skills I acquired are transferable to my colleagues and students at the University of Zadar. Finally and perhaps most importantly, I have established international and inter-disciplinary collaboration. This collaboration resulted in hosting biannual ISHE scientific meeting in 2019 in Zadar, with more than 130 attendees from around the world. Thank you British Scholarship Trust for that!’ 

Dora Filipović, Film Studies (Serbia, 2018):

‘Without this grant and prize my PhD project would not have the profundity it has. During my stay in London in 2017, I had access to the enormous collection of books from the British Film Institute and I also collaborated with the Royal Society for Blind Children and delivered sound workshops to blind people which was of utmost importance for my PhD thesis and research. I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given.’