Our Projects.

Slovakia in Data

The long-term vision of the DEKK Institute is to understand the erosion and regeneration of social cohesion in Slovakia and Europe. The first step is a high-quality and comprehensive mapping of the social situation thanks to the availability of high-quality data and sharing the given data with the academic community, state administration, and civil society in an easily accessible and intuitive way.

This is also why the project Slovakia in data is the flagship project of the DEKK Institute for the coming years.

The goal of the project is to build a database of complex social scientific data, which will be a one stop shop on the Internet for people studying society in Slovakia. The primary customers are scientists and scientific institutions, but the database will also be open to government analysts, students, experts and the general public.

We are aware that working with data is not a standard skill. That is also why we decided to make available not only the collected or downloaded datasets, but also to design a set of analytical tools available through a simple and intuitive user interface, where even a person without IT or data analytical skills can perform basic analytical and statistical tasks within a minute, whether it is simple visualization of data on the map of Slovakia, supplementing qualitative research with quantitative datasets or searching for data correlations that can be used to obtain data for further research.

Basic access to the analytical tool is free, as it is part of the mission of the DEKK Institute and we perceive it as our contribution to the development of science and the quality of professional discussion by simplifying the access of the general public and students to high-quality and complex social science data.

We would also like to encourage any user to contact us with possible constructive criticism or, conversely, with the results of research that our data has contributed to. We will be happy to hear both.

In 2021, the implementation of the Slovakia in Data project was supported as a project entitled "Slovakia in data: support of civil society and democratic institutions through data analysis" from the ACF - Slovakia program, which is financed by the EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021.

World Values Survey

Since its inception, the DEKK Institute has been implementing the World Values Survey (WVS) project as an integral part of its mission to better understand Slovak society. We needed enough data to fulfill this mission. The WVS, as the largest scientific survey focused on the values and beliefs of people in almost 100 countries of the world, is the ideal framework for collecting this data. It thus generates a comprehensive and complex dataset for the needs of the DEKK Institute and at the same time contributes to international scientific cooperation through a contribution to the WVS comparative database, where the general and professional public can access these data.

The WVS project in Slovakia also synergistically contributes to the flagship program of the DEKK Institute Slovakia in Data and is the most in-depth survey of Slovak society of its kind. In-depth surveys of a similar nature are the necessary framework of any complex social science analysis at the national level and are often absent in Slovakia.

The 7th wave of the WVS was collected by the FOCUS agency on a sample of 1,200 respondents using the random walk method collected using "Face to Face" structured interviews. It is one of the most representative methods, which bypasses the methodological problems of internet panels and the limits of call centers, while adhering to strict international standards of post-survey checking according to the methodological requirements of the World Values Survey Association.

The WVS collects standard socio-demographic and economic data, data related to religious and political beliefs, relation to institutions and the state establishment, moral values, the impact of globalization, attitudes to the environment, work, family, national identity, cultural issues, diversity and overall life satisfaction.

Joining the WVS helps put Slovakia back on the data map of the world. Data from the survey in Slovakia are available on the World Values Survey Association website in the "Data and Documentation" section.

Social Values and Attitudes Team (CEDMO)

Our society has been optimized to promote and protect the rights of the individual, bringing about unprecedented personal freedom and well-being and unlocking the creative potential of individuals in science, art, and other fields of human endeavor. However, this success has had undesirable side effects. It led to a general decline in social cohesion, specifically to the erosion of communities, to a decline in the sense of belonging to the country of origin, to the development of a lifestyle that undermines the willingness to sacrifice for the community, including a decline in the willingness to defend the country. Especially vulnerable are the post-communist countries, which are just getting used to these value shifts.

DEKK Institute has been working on the phenomenon of shifting values since its inception, which is why it became a partner of Charles University within the Central European Digital Media Observatory (CEDMO), a project supported by the European Commission. Charles University chairs the Central European consortium of universities, research institutes and partner organizations from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, France and Greece.

Within the CEDMO project, there are several teams dedicated to various research topics related to contemporary social dynamics: from the group focused on the information environment and fact-checking, through the expert group of epidemiologists and addictologists to the team assembled by the DEKK Institute, called CEDMO Social Values and Attitudes Team, whose principal investigator is Pavol Kosnáč, director of the DEKK Institute.

CEDMO-SVA, in which nine researchers from the DEKK Institute, Charles University and other institutions from five different countries join forces, has focused on several key topics of contemporary social development since 1990 to the present, specifically:

  • Social cohesion, interpersonal and institutional trust
  • Impacts of the development of values on the societies of the V4 countries
  • Causes of the drop in the willingness of the population to defend the country (indicator of social cohesion)
  • Effects of the war in Ukraine on Ukrainian and European culture and collective identity
  • ... and other related topics

The given topics are investigated by the research team using interdisciplinary tools of social and cognitive sciences, data analysis and scientific opinion polls.

Particularly valuable is the cooperation of Charles University and the DEKK Institute in the collection of the Slovak and Czech World Values Survey (the 7th wave was published at the end of 2022, the 8th wave will be published at the end of 2024) and the Czech longitudinal survey 2023-2025, which monitors the development of opinions of the Czech population almost every month for a period of three years. For now, Slovakia can only dream of such an in-depth insight into our society. We are proud to be there when the Czech Republic embarks on a similar project.

The outputs of the work of the CEDMO-SVA team can be regularly accessed in the form of popular scientific microblogs (so-called "Coffee Beans"), research and policy papers with recommendations for state analysts and officials, and, of course, papers in scientific journals. Our work can be accessed on the CEDMO project website.

Forgiveness and Future Building

DEKK Institute is a member of the advisory board of the Forgiveness and Future Building project at the Woolf Institute at the University of Cambridge in Great Britain.

Colleagues from the Woolf Institute decided to study how forgiveness works in (post)conflict societies, both at the interpersonal and group level, taking into account cultural and religious differences. The selected case studies are Northern Ireland, the Balkans and South Sudan. From 2023, Ukraine was also added.

The project will develop FORCAST (Forgiveness and Conflict Analysis Simulation Tool) – a system that uses multi-agent artificial intelligence designed to study the escalation and de-escalation of conflict between different groups, especially when it comes to complex religious and ethnic identities. This artificial intelligence system will enable public policy makers to better analyze the potential impacts of laws and government actions before they are implemented in the real world. It can thus help to avoid possible serious problems that the makers of public policies did not took into account due to the complexity of the current social dynamics.

We stood at the birth of the project and helped supplement the methodology of data analysis by providing qualitative expertise from the environment of military conflicts, with which the founding members of DEKK have experience from the period of humanitarian work and research in the Middle East and Africa, and later also in Ukraine. We also helped design polls and data collection methods that underpinned both the data analysis and the FORCAST system itself.

The preliminary results of the analyses show that mutual forgiveness among individual actors does not play a very significant role in ending conflicts. Sometimes the result of the research is that the primary hypothesis fails. The preliminary results were also presented in a popular-scientific form during our participation in the Forgiveness and the Future conference on February 22, 2023 in Belfast, on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of the peace agreements in Northern Ireland.

We expect that the project will be extended in 2025 and that DEKK Institute will enter it in an even more active role.

DEKK Data Hackathon

The DATA Hackathon was held under the auspices of:

President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová
and Institute for Strategies and Analyses (ISA) of the Slovak Government Office.

  • The goal of the event was to make working with data easier for experts who do not have data-science and IT skills.
  • The participants of the hackathon could propose their solution or participate in the solution in a team - with the possibility to consult their ideas with experienced experts.
  • The program included a lecture on how society holds together, when it falls apart and what troubles our countries the most in this regard - such as (non)cooperation, war and (mis)trust.
  • Long-term sustainable, modular and scalable solutions were preferred.

Challenge 1:

Design ways to visualize data - clearly and intuitively. The datasets World Values Survey, European Values Study, Eurobarometer and the series of datasets “Ako se máte, Slovensko?” from Slovak Academy of Sciences will be available.

Challenge 1 has three objectives:

  • data visualization on the map
  • visualization of the correlation of two indicators
  • visualization in time

During this challenge, you can also bring your own creative processings to visualize the data - there are no limits to creativity!

Challenge 2:

Design a way to make the datasets described above work together,

  • so that the data in them can be compared with each other,
  • be well searchable.

For both challenges, it was important to remember that the goal of the task is for anyone to be able to use the solution even without technical education/skills (including a student, a civil servant, academic, journalist or anyone interested in social cohesion).

The Cohesion Mosaic

There is no expert consensus and definitive list of factors that influence social cohesion. At the same time, there are large differences in how cohesion is understood by scholars and how it is understood by the various analytical institutes that help to prepare public policies, from the UN and EU to the national and municipal levels. Scholars focus on the mechanisms that influence cohesion, while applied analysis for public policies is more concerned with the outcomes of cohesion, sometimes unfortunately confusing the cause and effect. This contradiction can be solved by a stronger connection between scientific and applied analyzes and by summarizing their conclusions under one (virtual) roof. At the DEKK Institute, we have the ambition to describe and connect these spheres, as the given approaches are compatible, but require cooperation. Our goal is to compile the most complete interdisciplinary meta-analysis of social cohesion in the world and subsequently a practical list of areas and recommendations that need to be taken into account when designing public policies, which will subsequently create conditions for strengthening interpersonal trust, same as the trust between citizens and the state.

Part of the Cohesion Mosaic project will also be an edition of books on cohesion, trust, cooperation and patriotism, which will examine these topics from the point of view of various scientific fields in combination with probes into the issue from experts from practice. You can find more information about the edition in the "Publications" section.

The guarantors of the project are the Scientific advisory board of the DEKK Institute and prof. LeRon Shults of the University of Agder in Norway. In the future, the quantification of these factors in the form of the Cohesion Index will be added within the Mosaic. We expect the first more complex practical results in 2025.

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Filip Janči

Research intern

Filip is in charge of working with psychological resources at DEKK.

He has obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology at the Comenius University, while he is also a graduate of the Anton Neuwirth College's two-year program. It was there that he first encountered Aristotle and his idea that everything alive in the world has a natural goal towards which it is moving: prosperity.

So he began to ask the question: if all beings have a purpose deeply rooted in their nature, why do people go against it and engage in destructive behavior? In DEKK, he sees hope for investigating part of this question, that is, why societies fall apart. In addition, he is also interested in the individual dimension of this question: why do the lives of some individuals fall apart? For this reason, he participates in social assistance to homeless people in a low-threshold daily center.

In the past, he organized several discussions with public figures, journalists and statesmen, and also won the Slovakian ŠVOK competition in the Psychology category with his research.

In his free time, he likes to read the newspaper, listen to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers or hang out in the city with a good cup of coffee.

Paulína Boleková

Research intern

Paulína is studying at the Bratislava International School of Liberal Studies (BISLA) for a bachelor's degree and in the Nexteria Leadership Academy 3-year development program, where she develops her soft skills and organizes community activities.

In the past, she worked on projects for Microsoft, Tatra banka, Slido and the city of Trenčín.

She likes to think about why society is the way it is. Her passion is psychology, informal education and self-development.

Ján Pastorek


Ján Pastorek is one of the founding members of the DEKK Institute.

He graduated from the bachelor's program in computer science at the Comenius University in Bratislava and liberal arts at the Anton Neuwirth College. During his studies, he completed a research internship at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, where he devoted himself to the application of reinforcement learning and genetic algorithms in solving non-local games, i.e. games where connected pairs of qubits are used in order to maximize the winnings of the given game, for which he received the Dean's Prize.

He also joined the Comenius College selection program, where he and other students meet and discuss issues related to science and philosophy. He graduated from St. John's College in the USA, Master of Arts in Liberal Arts, majoring in mathematics, science, philosophy and theology. He is currently finishing the international interdisciplinary Joint Master's program in cognitive science MEi:CogSci at the Comenius University in Bratislava and the University of Vienna, starting his PhD. in neural networks soon. 

He is devoted to philosophy, data science, artificial intelligence (especially machine learning) and quantum computing. He works as a data scientist at CulturePulse, Inc., where he mainly develops an agent-based model of information dissemination based on scientific theories.

He likes to ask questions. In order to share this passion, he taught computer science at the St. Uršula high school in Bratislava and led seminars on art as part of the Academy of Great Works program.

Michal Gačko

Technology specialist

Michal Gačko is a graduate of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics at the Slovak Technical University in the field of applied informatics. He studied for one semester in Norway at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology as part of the Erasmus program. He also spent some time studying psychology, before definitely opting for information technology. He has experience in the design, implementation and management of various types of database systems, as well as in the design and implementation of architectural patterns and structures in software systems. In addition, it deals with data analysis and data visualization.

Veronika Cigáneková

Analyst for Public Policies

Veronika Cigáneková works as an analyst focusing on public policies, translating the DEKK team research into practice.

She graduated from King's College London, BA in philosophy, where at the end of her studies she explored the links between philosophy and public policy. She is currently studying for a master's degree in public policy at Sciences Po in Paris (Institut d'études politiques de Paris).

Her experience is primarily from the non-profit sector, where she founded or led several projects and organizations. Thematically, she was interested in youth civic participation, the development of social entrepreneurship or the topic of Slovak brain drain abroad. Her last experience is from the Nexteria Global HUB project, which she founded and led for two years. She previously worked as a project manager and later as a salesperson at SuperScale.

Her passion is topics related to society and a positive impact on it. This is what she looks for in all the activities in which she is involved.

Hugo Gloss


At DEKK Hugo Gloss is responsible for the preparation and successful implementation of projects. He serves as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) responsible for the smooth running of the organization and its research.

He studied international relations and diplomacy at the University of Bologna and Roma Tre University in Rome and completed a one-year training course at the Anton Neuwirth College. He interned at the Representative Office of the Slovak Republic at the Holy See and at the Department of Communication and Prevention of the Presidium of the Slovak Police Force. He worked at Accenture and coordinated humanitarian projects of Caritas Slovakia in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Ukraine. As part of his work, he visited countries where social cohesion has been severely damaged, which is the reason why he cares that Slovakia does not follow a similar path.

He currently works as a researcher at Charles University in Prague and is preparing for his PhD. study, which will be focused on the development of a system for measuring and strengthening social cohesion in Slovakia according to the successful models in other states, with focus on Estonia. He is married, has four children.

Pavol Kosnáč


Pavol Kosnáč holds the position of scientific director of the institute and leading researcher (PI) of the World Value Survey (WVS) program in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which is covered by DEKK. He is the author of the program “Slovakia in data”, the goal of which is to accumulate and make available a database of complex social scientific data to the general and professional public.

As part of the DEKK Institute's cooperation with Charles University in the CEDMO project, he leads a team of 9 scientists studying the impact of social changes on the generational shift in values and social cohesion, applied for example in the analysis of the information environment, the growing (un)willingness to defend the country or the impact of war on Ukrainian culture.

He studied comparative religious studies in Bratislava, Islam and philosophy of science at Oxford, and completed scientific internships at the London School of Economics in London and Mahidol University in Bangkok. He is currently completing his PhD. in political science at Masaryk University in Brno.

It deals with the possibilities of interdisciplinary research and the integration of field research methods, psychological and cognitive research tools, public opinion polls and big data. He specializes in the overlap between ideology, religion, violence and war. Experience from humanitarian and research work in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India led him to try to understand the issues of complex systems, social cohesion and social stability.

He works as a consultant for humanitarian organizations and universities in Great Britain, Ukraine, Iraq and Thailand. He is a registered expert witness in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities in matters of religion at the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic and is a representative of Slovakia with voting rights in the World Value Survey Association (WVSA) and the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR). He is a member of the Slovak Society for the Study of Religions in Bratislava, the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) of Great Britain, a member of the advisory board of the Inform Institute at King's College London and the advisory board of the Forgiveness project at the Woolf Institute at the University of Cambridge. 

He has received Peter B. Clarke Memorial Prize in 2013 from British Sociological Association and is co-author and editor of two books studying cohesion and development of belief systems.