The Neuron Fund for the support of science was established in 2010, first named the Karel Janeček Foundation.

Its main mission is to foster philanthropy in this field and support the work of outstanding scientists who pursue research in the Czech Republic.

The Fund started by supporting mathematics simply because its founder Karel Janeček is a mathematician. Even his initial impulse was rather spontaneous - he wanted to support a project at the Institute of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, that focused on increasing fuel efficiency in air transport.

It all started in 2009, at a time when government subsidies for science were slashed. We decided to help young scientists to get stronger backing in the Czech Republic and support their return from abroad. At the same time, we wanted to celebrate these outstanding researchers so that the public could learn more about the inspiring individuals among us. We also wanted to recognize established scientists who pass on their expertise and inspiration to others. Scientists usually resist publicity and their work is often hard to understand for laymen. This is also a part of our mission.

At first, we selected three categories to support - mathematics, medicine and economics - and later included physics, chemistry, biology and computer science. We established a science board made up of leading scientists that decides on the awards. To ensure high professional standards, the board operates separately from the benefactors.

The first awards were presented in 2010. Awards are handed out to excellent scientists for significant research results.

After eight years, we conducted a survey to determine how beneficial our work really is. We found out that great scientists no longer struggle to secure a grant for a remarkable project, yet they still lack money for personal use. That's why we are opening a new chapter in Neuron's history. Starting in 2018, we are changing our strategy to hand out only awards that come with a high cash prize, to be used at the recipients' discretion. Each year, the awards amount to a total of CZK 10 million, donated entirely by Neuron's benefactors.

Monika Vondráková
Neuron Fund Co-founder