Martin, as a successful, award-winning student, what convinced you to apply for the MMD programme? What was the decisive benefit for you?
It was an excellent opportunity to differentiate myself on the job market from other PhD graduates and to get something extra on top of my diploma. As I had been taking part in various courses, workshops and internships abroad during my studies anyway, I realised when I started filling out applications for the MMD that I had already fulfilled most of the requirements. So I thought it would be a sin not to take advantage of this opportunity and get the MMD International certificate and the European Doctorate, with almost no extra work.
You are the first student in the MMD programme to defend the European Doctorate. How do you look back on the differences that this entails?
(Note: At least one opponent and one committee member must be from a European country other than the Czech Republic. Both the defence and the dissertation itself must be in English.)
I would have written my dissertation in English in any case, and I was actually glad for the necessity to conduct the defence in English. I have gotten so used to English over the years of working with foreign colleagues in my research group and presenting at conferences abroad that sometimes some terms don't even jump out at me in Czech anymore. Moreover, occasionally Czech equivalents of specific scientific methods do not even exist, so presenting in Czech would paradoxically be more challenging for me.
The necessity of having foreign opponents was also a great experience because it was possible to choose experts in the field who fully understood the issues of the thesis being defended. Thanks to this, their questions were not too general, and an interesting discussion was held entirely on the topic, which I enjoyed myself. Since only a small number of research groups worldwide are involved in my research area, selecting opponents from the Czech Republic only and maintaining this quality of discussion would have been considerably more difficult.
Perhaps the most significant "difference" was the logistics associated with having an opponent from abroad - pick them up the day before the defence, or help with accommodation assistance.
On the day of the defence, we also travelled to the university together, and after the defence, we had lunch together.
I don't think that would have happened with my opponent from the Czech Republic :-)