Slovak citizenship to a foreign SAS scholarship holder

MMedSc. Eliyahu Dremencov, PhD., who received a SAS scholarship to work in what are now the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Genetics, Centre of Biosciences SAS and the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Centre of Biomedical Sciences SAS, received Slovak citizenship.

The scientific community as well as decision makers are beginning to realize that one of the limiting factors of Slovak research is the lack of quality scientific personalities and the continuing brain drain to Western Europe and the US. Therefore, several schemes have been initiated, e.g. the program Homecoming (Návrat domov) for Slovak citizens living abroad, as well as the SAS Scholarship and program SASPRO, open to both Slovak and foreign citizens. There are no support schemes for the foreigners after completion of the scholarship programs. It is therefore gratifying that one of the foreign SAS scholarship holders decided to stay in Slovakia after the end of the program.
Slovak citizenship as a rule is granted only after 8 years of continuous residence in Slovakia. Exceptions may be awarded to persons „that significantly contributed to the benefit of the Slovak Republic in the fields of economy, science, technology, culture, social or sports, or if it is in the interest of the Slovak Republic for another reason“ (§ 7, sect. 2b of the Act of the National Council SR no. 40/1993 Coll.). MMedSc. Eliyahu Dremencov, PhD gained Slovak citizenship after three and a half years of stay in Slovakia.
„From my perspective, Slovakia is a young, promising and dynamic country (one of the youngest independent countries in the EU), which seeks to develop a competitive research and development infrastructure. Therefore, I was honoured and pleased when I was invited to Slovakia to build an in vivo neuropharmacology and neurophysiology laboratory as an SAS Scholar,“ says E. Dremencov. „After my arrival here, I found my workplace at SAS a very warm and welcoming place. My colleagues did the best to assist me not only in job-related, but also in general issues, such as housing and immigration formalities. I also found Slovak culture pretty close to my own, and the similarities between Russian and Slovak languages helped me to learn Slovak relatively fast. Cultural and linguistic similarities, as well as the general warmness and openness of Slovak people, helped me, in a relatively short time, to find friends and socialization circles, also outside of my workplace.“ He adds: „Back to the workplace, I got an opportunity to mentor Slovak bachelor, master, and doctorate students, whom I found very intelligent and highly motivated. Moreover, I have the opportunity to further develop scientifically (e.g in primary neuronal cultures and patch-clamp electrophysiology) and acquire complementary skills (e.g., mentorship of young scientists and laboratory management). To summarize, Slovakia become for me a place where I can both to contribute-and to develop myself; that why I decided to make this country my new home. With a kind letter of recommendation from doc. Lacinová, at that time an Acting Director of the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Genetics, I applied for Slovak citizenship under § 7, sect. 2b of the Citizenship Law of Slovak Republic. My citizenship was granted by the decision of the Minister of Interior, JUDr. Robert Kaliňák, based on the recommendation of the Minister of Education, Science, Research, Development and Sports, prof. Ing. Peter Plavčan, CSc. I deeply acknowledge my supervisors, prof. Ježová and doc. Lacinová, my colleagues, and promise to do my best to fulfill the trust vested in me and to contribute to the future scientific excellence of this country.“