Distinguished Guest Scientist’s Programme of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

In the frame of this programme, which aims to foster the global competitiveness of research groups operating in Hungary, further seven Guest Scientists can take part in the work of the research centres and research institutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Following the publication of the call for proposals, ten applications were submitted this year. The applicants covered all three major fields of science (social sciences and humanities, life sciences, mathematics and natural sciences).

The decision was made by a five-member jury made up of experts from the relevant disciplines, after a thorough assessment and comparison of the received application materials.

According to the decision of the jury, the winners receive a grant amount from 3,744 million HUF to 8,96 million HUF out of the total of 50 million HUF.

Name of the Applicant

Field of Science

Guest Scientist

Host Institution

Duration (Months)

Grant Amount (M HUF)

Demény Attila

Mathematics and Science

Silvia Frisia

MTA CSFK Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research



Kiss Viktória

Social Sciences and Humanities

Claudio Cavazzuti

MTA BTK Institute of Archaeology, Momentum Mobility Research Group



Kovács István János

Mathematics and Science

Sierd Auke Cloetingh

MTA CSFK Geodetic and Geophysical Institute, Pannon LitH2Oscope Momentum Research Group



Pirger Zsolt

Life Sciences

Vértes Ákos

MTA ÖK Balaton Limnological Institute



Szabó Róbert

Mathematics and Science

Hiromoto Shibahashi

MTA CSFK Konkoly Thege Miklós Astronomical Research Institute



Szathmáry Eörs

Life Sciences

Mauro Santos

MTA ÖK Division of Evolution



Trócsányi Zoltán

Mathematics and Science

Sven-Olaf Moch

MTA-DE Particle Physics Research Group



Professor Silvia Frisia from the Newcastle University of Australia is one of the leading experts in genetic research on carbonate formation, and the most well-known researcher of microscopic texture characteristics and genetic interpretation. During her research work at the Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research she will apply the institute's speciality, the vacuum-based laser spectroscope developed for stable isotope analyses of mineral-hosted fluid inclusions, as well as the new electron microscope facility of the Pannon University. The main aim of the research work is the analyses of formation processes of tropical cave-hosted carbonates and the determination of stable isotope compositions of past precipitation waters. The planned research can lead to novel results in the detection and interpretation of past changes in precipitation amounts and in the investigation of carbonate formation processes at the nanometre scale.

Professor Claudio Cavazzuti is an anthropologist at the Italian Ministry of Culture. The joint work is expected to complement the work of the MTA BTK Institute of Archaeology, Momentum Mobility Research Group with new methods and results. Following the initial spread of farming in the Neolithic and the great innovations of the Copper Age, the Bronze Age was of huge importance in Europe. The permeation of the production technique of the eponymous material, bronze, was explained by smaller or greater migrations, by the arrival of new population groups from the east and from the west to the Carpathian Basin. Most recent stable isotope and archaeogenetic data provided by the Momentum Mobility Research Group (RCH HAS) give evidence of mobility in Central Europe during the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC. These analyses, however, concerned human remains from inhumation burials from the first thousand years of the Bronze Age in Hungary (2500–1500 BC). Burnt bones, as a significant proportion of the burials from the period, were so far not studied by the research group. This grant provides a possibility to conduct stable isotope analyses of cremated bone remains, completing the data of human mobility in Central European Bronze Age.

Sierd Auke Cloetingh, professor at the University of Utrecht aims to conduct his research in cooperation with the Pannon LitH2Oscope Momentum Research Group of the MTA CSFK Geodetic and Geophysical Institute in the field of geodynamics and lithosphere deformation. Earth is a unique planet and the discovery of its surface and the near-Earth space has experienced remarkable advances, yet, relatively little known about its interior. Plate tectonics implies that the Earth’ rigid outer shell, the lithosphere, ‘floats’ on the underlying less viscous asthenosphere. The reasons for their contrasting behaviours are still highly speculative. The everyday effects of plate tectonic activity (earthquakes, volcanism) obviously have great societal importance, however, the more precise appreciation of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system remained an ultimate endeavour for Earth Sciences. Our home, the Carpathian-Pannonian region is an outstanding natural laboratory to test the new generation of thermo-mechanical models for deep interior of the Earth and surface processes, because all known geodynamical processes are active within the lithospheric plate, and the processes are concentrated in a reasonably limited area.

Ákos Vértes, senior professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the George Washington University (USA) will be hosted by the Adaptive Neuroethological Research Group supported by the National Brain Research Program at the MTA ÖK Balaton Limnological Institute. Because of the convenience they offer, countless synthetic chemicals are used in modern life. Pharmaceuticals constitute a group of compounds among these synthetic chemicals. Numerous active ingredients of these pharmaceuticals are excreted from the human body in biologically active form and enter the sewage system, continuing to surface waters, rivers and lakes. These pharmaceutical residues of human origin affect the invertebrate and vertebrate animals of the aquatic ecosystem. The main objective of the planned research is to study the physiological effects of previously detected active pharmaceutical ingredients on identified cells of an aquatic invertebrate model organism by exploring their molecular profiles using modern analytical approaches. Based on the results, researchers might identify certain molecules that can help in assessing unforeseen ecological hazards.

Professor Hiromoto Shibahashi (University of Tokyo) is a leading figure in the field of stellar oscillations. His deep knowledge and theoretical insights will make a perfect match with the ongoing projects in the MTA CSFK CSI, namely the exploitation of space photometric missions and large sky surveys in the Big Data era of astronomy. This unique constellation is rare anywhere in the world and will place Konkoly Observatory at the forefront of astronomical research giving a huge boost on the visibility and impact of the Institute. During this project the latest research methods will be applied in innovative research topics enabled by the revolutionary data provided by space mission (Kepler/K2, TESS, and Gaia). The joint project will shed new light on the enigmatic Blazhko (modulation) effect and the binarity of old classical pulsating variable stars, i.e. RR Lyrae, while the FM/PM method developed by Prof. Shibahashi will be applied to find stellarmass black holes lurking in binary systems. The outcome of these sub-projects will shed new light on such stellar evolutionary stages that are hard to access and study by conventional methods. All the proposed investigations will be part of the preparatory work in the international Large Synoptic Survey Telescope collaboration. Prof. Shibahashi will give a series of lectures on stellar oscillations to students at multiple universities to inspire the youngest generation to pursue astronomical research and STEM activities. The three month visit of Prof. Shibahashi will have additional benefits for young researchers, including strong ERC- and Momentum-candidates in the Astronomical Institute, who will be closely involved in these projects and who plan to submit their grant applications in the near future.

Professor Mauro Santos arrives from the Autonomous University of Barcelona to the Centre for Ecological Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The origin of life and the sustained continuity of the information-processing system that generates the amazing diversity of past and present temporarily living organisms is the hallmark of biology. The researchers will provide a comprehensive and realistic scenario of the initial steps in the transition from replicating molecules to the first ribo-organisms − the stage just preceding the advent of cells with genetically encoded protein synthesis. A side-effect of evolvability (the capacity of a system for adaptive evolution) is that, according to mainstream views, immortality would not be possible. But, in contrast to what happens with humans that show a measurable functional decline with age, there are organisms that show negative aging and others that do not age. We will model the evolution of aging by focussing on a deleterious allele embedded in a genomic region under directional selection.

Sven-Olaf Moch, a highly acknowledged and active researcher in the field of particle physics phenomenology arrives from the University of Hamburg to the University of Debrecen. The Large Hadron Collider accelerates and smashes protons to study the fundamental interactions and the deep structure of matter. In order to properly analyze the data collected by the experiments at the LHC a precise knowledge of the structure of the proton is indispensable. Prof. Sven-Olaf Moch is an internationally renowned expert of the computations that are necessary to extract the structure of the proton at high precision from the collider data. Those techniques, which he uses for his computations, are also essential to compute the probability of various final states in proton-proton collisions also with high precision, which has been the main research topic of the MTA-DE Particle Physics Research Group lead by Prof. Zoltán Trócsányi. The main goal of the proposed visit and collaboration is to join their forces in order to advance the state of the art of such computations. As applications they plan to increase the precision of the theoretical predictions for benchmark processes at the LHC, for instance jet event shapes, lepton pair production, jet production and production of heavy quark pairs.