I. Jurkonytė, Š. Šavėla and M. Norkūnaitė Have Won the Co-financing Competition of the VU Foundation

2023 09 07

I. Jurkonytė, Š. Šavėla and M. Norkūnaitė Have Won the Co-financing Competition of the VU Foundation

This year, the winners of the annual Vilnius University (VU) Foundation competition held to attract young researchers are Dr. Ilona Jurkonytė and doctoral student Marija Norkūnaitė, candidates nominated by the VU Institute of International Relations and Political Science (VU IIRPS), and Dr. Šarūnas Šavėla, nominated by the VU Faculty of Philology.

Over a period of two years, the promising young researchers with international experience will receive up to €30,000 of funding in addition to the remuneration granted by their academic units. The allocated money constitutes the return on investment from the VU Endowment Fund.

 

The cultural and audiovisual media researcher and film curator Dr. Ilona Jurkonytė from VU IIRPS is to continue with the media research that she embarked on in Canada

Dr. Ilona Jurkonytė graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and defended her postgraduate theses on communication and art theory and criticism in Lithuania; she also completed an internship at the University of Copenhagen. In 2022, at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, she defended her doctoral thesis analysing the relationship between audiovisual media and atomic weapons (From Temperature of War to Descending Clouds: US Bomb Archive and the Marshall Islands).

 

In 2015, while in Canada, Dr. I. Jurkonytė took part in the competition for the most prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and was announced the winner. Now, the young researcher has returned to Lithuania to share her experience here. At VU IIRPS, Dr. I. Jurkonytė will continue researching the relationship between atomic weapon imaging, the global Cold War and its long-term impact, and she will delve into the relevance of decolonial methodologies in the context of Eastern Europe.

 

At VU IIRPS, Marija Norkūnaitė will continue the research that she started at Oxford University on the relationship between the state and society

Researcher Marija Norkūnaitė graduated from VU Institute of International Relations and Political Science with a Bachelor's degree with honours in Political Science. At Oxford University, she attained her Master's degree with honours in East European and Russian Studies. In September this year, the researcher will defend her doctoral thesis on the topic of social contracts in the Baltic States. The title of her doctoral thesis is (Re-)Claiming the Social Contract: State-Society Relations in Three Former Socialist Towns in the Baltics.

 

At VU Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Norkūnaitė plans to continue the research that she embarked on in the United Kingdom in the field of political and economic anthropology by exploring the relationship between state and society in the East European region, looking at citizenship, taxation, labour, and other topics. She envisions publishing the results in recognised international scientific journals and cooperating with a publishing house. M. Norkūnaitė is a member of various international academic organisations and networks; she will also continue to be active as a member of the VU Institute of International Relations and Political Science community.

 

Dr. Šarūnas Šavėla's arrival at the Faculty of Philology of VU will help to strengthen VU ties with the Italian academic community

Following his studies at VU, Dr. Šarūnas Šavėla graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Lithuanian Philology with minor studies in Philosophy and Classical Philology. He defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Bologna, Italy, on the topic of The Conceptualisation of Music in Ancient Greek Thought (V century BC–II century BC). While undertaking his doctoral studies, the researcher cooperated with VU under an international cooperation agreement (cotutelle).

 

Dr. Š. Šavėla's arrival at the Faculty of Philology of VU will allow common research interests both with the University of Bologna and their Italian and foreign partners to be developed. It will also enable him to participate in the activities of international research associations and to strengthen the ties of VU with the Italian academic community.

 

Funding for researchers will increase as the VU Endowment Fund grows stronger

In addition to the new group of researchers, the VU Foundation, which manages a portfolio of almost €4,000,000, has previously co-financed five researchers out of the return on investment of the Endowment Fund:

→ In 2020, the economist Dr. Guillermo Hausmann-Guil joined the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of VU, where he still continues his academic activities, even though the period of co-funding from the VU Foundation has ended.

→ In 2021, Dr. Thomas Peak joined VU Institute of International Relations and Political Science, and Dr. Mantas Šimėnas carried out research at the Faculty of Physics of VU (in 2021, the researchers also received targeted support from the Marius Jakulis Jason Foundation). Both researchers are continuing their academic activities at VU.

→ In 2022, Dr. Aistė Kiltinavičiūtė joined the VU Faculty of Philology, and Dr. Vytautas Klimavičius became part of the team of the VU Faculty of Physics.

According to Justinas Noreika, Director of the VU Foundation, in the foreseeable future, the return on investment of the Endowment Fund raised by education and research patrons will be used to fund, attract, and encourage more and more promising young researchers with strong international experience to return to Lithuania.

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