The Scientific advisory board is helping to assure the high quality of scientific methods used by DEKK researchers. The members of the Scientific advisory board are not members of the Institute, but sympathize with its mission, and have committed to provide at least 2 hours of their time per month for expert consultation. They also represent an important link between DEKK and the international scientific community.

Without the members of the Scientific advisory board, the work of the institute would be almost impossible.

Justin E. Lane, DPhil (Oxon)

Justin E. Lane is currently the technical director of ALAN Analytics, s.r.o., a Slovak company dealing with AI-assisted simulation and focused on the creation and analysis of social AI and "digital twin" technology. He received his PhD from the University of Oxford, where he developed and validated an AI system for predicting and analyzing the digital twins of social groups. He held positions at universities in Great Britain and Singapore and worked for the Asia Research Institute, NUS and at LEVYN at Masaryk University in Brno. He is currently a research associate at the Center for Mind and Culture at Boston University, and at the NORCE Center for Modeling Social Systems in Bergen, Norway.

His research interests include artificial intelligence and computer simulation, behavioral economics, and the formation process of new religious movements. His work has been discussed by the BBC, The Telegraph, Vice News, New Scientist and The Atlantic. He is also engaged in consulting in the field of business development and innovation for start-ups and investment companies in Central and Eastern Europe. His book Understanding Religion through Artificial Intelligence: Bonding and Belief is available through Bloomsbury.

Mária Friedmannová, DPhil (Oxon)

Mária Friedmannová has been fascinated by how people function since she was a child. At the University of Oxford, she first studied "Human Sciences", which combined anthropology and biology, then specialized in a master's and a doctorate in experimental psychology. During her PhD, Mária researched how the understanding of written language works. After her PhD, she did four years of applied psychological and anthropological research at Google, where she studied how people interact with new technologies, with an emphasis on the YouTube environment - and she knows all the famous YouTubers.

She is currently engaged in user research for the start-up Blueheart, which brings couple and sexual therapy in digital form. In her free time, Mária is involved in activities in the field of education, mental health, interdisciplinary methods of understanding human behavior and baking sourdough!

Suzanne Newcombe, PhD

Suzanne Newcombe is the director of the Inform Institute (based at King's College London) and a specialist lecturer in religious studies at the Open University (UK). Inform was founded in 1988 to research and provide information on minority religious movements, acting as a bridge between academic research and the information needs of the media and the general public. It also maintains the largest database of religious societies and spiritual movements in the world.

Suzanne studied sociology of religion at the London School of Economics with prof. Eileen Barker, founder of Inform, and received her PhD. in history from the University of Cambridge. Her research interests lie primarily in sociology and the social history of religion in general. She specializes in new and minority religious movements in modern and contemporary Britain and the assessment of security threats that may be posed by minority religions and conspiracy theories. Her recent publication, co-edited with Karen O'Brien-Kop, is the Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation (2021). She is particularly interested in the interface between religion, health and healing.

Martin Lukáč, PhD

Martin Lukáč is a Fellow of the Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics in the field of computational social sciences and a collaborator of the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the University of Oxford. He received his doctorate in sociology from KU Leuven, where he previously studied master's programs in statistics and social policy. Before starting his PhD, Martin worked as a Data Scientist at IBM.

Martin's expertise is computational social sciences. His methodological research interests focus on latent variable modeling, causal inference with observational and experimental data, social network analysis, multiagent modeling, and survey methodology.

His applied research revolves around labor market inequalities, online labor market platforms and skills utilization – especially in the context of digitization and automation. His interest is in using tools from the science of complex systems to gain new knowledge and understanding of ongoing processes on the labor market. In the past, Martin also worked on attitudes towards social care in Europe.

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Michaela Sotáková

Research intern

Michaela is currently finishing her bachelor's degree in psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Comenius University in Bratislava. In psychology, neurocognitive topics, psychosomatics, identity building and community building are close to her heart. While still in grammar school, she was mentored by neuroscientist Dominika Fričová, who is dedicated to researching neurodegenerative diseases - in this topic, Michaela continues today in her current work under the guidance of neuropsychologist Petra Brandoburová in the Neuropsy laboratory.

Together with our research intern Filip, they managed to succeed at the international level of the ŠVOK (Student Scientific and Professional Conference).

At DEKK, she is currently processing statistics on the family behavior of the Slovak population. She is fascinated byobserving the life of diverse communities and their impact on the individual - from the Roma community, which is at the margins of society, where she volunteered, to the community of purposeful young people who yearn for knowledge at the Anton Neuwirth College, where Michaela completed her university program.

She likes to devote her free time to organizing events that contribute to a better society. She also enjoys a good psychology book, English classics, or time with friends.

Michaela Sotáková

Výskumná stážistka

Michaela je aktuálne v závere bakalárskeho stupňa v odbore psychológia na Filozofickej fakulte UK. Z psychológie sú jej blízke neurokognitívne témy, psychosomatika, budovanie identity a budovanie komunít. Ešte v čase gymnázia ju mentorovala neurovedkyňa Dominika Fričová, ktorá sa venuje výskumu neurodegeneratívnych ochorení - v tejto téme Michaela pokračuje aj dnes vo svojej súčasnej práci pod vedením neuropsychologičky Petry Brandoburovej v laboratóriu Neuropsy.

Spolu s našim výskumným stážistom Filipom sa im podarilo uspieť na medzinárodnej úrovni študentskej súťaže ŠVOK (Študentská vedecká a odborná konferencia).

V DEKKu sa v súčasnosti venuje spracovaniu štatistiky o rodinnom správaní slovenskej populácie. Fascinuje ju sledovať život rôznorodých komunít a ich vplyv na jednotlivca - od rómskej komunity, ktorá je na chvoste spoločnosti, kde dobrovoľníčila, až po komunitu cieľavedomých mladých v Kolégiu Antona Neuwirtha, ktorí túžia po poznaní, kde Michaela absolvovala vysokoškolský program.

Voľný čas rada venuje organizácii podujatí, ktoré prispievajú k lepšej spoločnosti, knihe od dobrého psychológa, či anglickej klasike alebo ho rada strávi s priateľmi.

Filip Janči

Research intern

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

After completing his undergraduate studies in psychology at Comenius University, he went to Utrecht University to gain study experience, but left after a period of time due to unfulfilled expectations. At the same time, he is a graduate of the two-year programme of the Anton Neuwirth College. It was there that he first encountered Aristotle and his idea that everything living in the world has a natural goal towards which it is directed: to prosper.

So he began to ask himself the question: if all beings have a goal deeply rooted in their nature, why do humans go against it and engage in destructive behavior? He sees in DEKK the hope of exploring part of this question, i.e., why societies fall apart. In addition, he is also interested in the individual dimension of this question: why do some individuals' lives fall apart? For this reason he has been involved in social assistance to homeless people in various low threshold centres in Bratislava or Brno.

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

In his free time he likes to read newspapers, listen to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers or sit in the city for a coffee.

Paulína Boleková

Research intern

Paulína is studying at the Bratislava International School of Liberal Studies on a bachelor's degree and at the same time she is studying 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.

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 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.

She graduated from King's College London, gaining BA in philosophy, where at the end of her studies she researched the connections between philosophy and public policy. Her master's degree was in public policy, at Sciences Po in Paris. Veronika currently works as an assistant to a deputy of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (NR SR).

In the past, Veronika founded and 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. For example, she founded and led Nexteria Global HUB for two years. She also worked as a project manager at SuperScale. Before joining NR SR, she worked at the OECD as an analyst on the topic of public trust.

She is passionate about 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 in.

Hugo Gloss


Hugo Gloss works at the DEKK Institute as Chief Operating Officer (COO), who is responsible for the smooth functioning of the administration, and the preparation and successful implementation of DEKK's projects.

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 Neuwrith College. He was an intern 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 later coordinated humanitarian projects of the Slovak Catholic Charity in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Ukraine. As part of his work, he has visited countries where social cohesion is severely damaged, and he is therefore concerned that Slovakia does not follow a similar path.

He is currently preparing for his PhD. study, which will be focused on researching the theory of social cohesion and the development of an experimental model of measurement and strengthening the social cohesion in Slovak society. He is married, has four children.

Pavol Kosnáč


Pavol Kosnáč is the Scientific Director of the DEKK Institute and the Principal Investigator of the World Values Survey (WVS) program in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which is covered by DEKK. He represents the DEKK Institute in the UNDP project analyzing social cohesion in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is also the author of the program Slovakia in data, the aim of which is to accumulate and make available a database of complex social science data to the general and expert public.

During DEKK Institute's cooperation with Charles University in 2022-2023, he led a team of 9 scientists investigating the impact of social changes on the generational shift in values and social cohesion, applied for example in the analysis of the development of trust in governments in the V4 countries, the growing (un)willingness to defend the country or the impact of war on Ukrainian culture. During the same period, he was also a member of the advisory board of the Forgiveness and Future Building project at the University of Cambridge.

He studied comparative religious studies in Bratislava, Islam and philosophy of science at Oxford, and completed academic placements at the London School of Economics in London and Mahidol University in Bangkok. He received his doctorate in political science at Masaryk University in Brno.

He is interested in 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 projects 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 scientific workplaces in Great Britain, Ukraine, Iraq and Thailand. He is a registered (forensic) expert in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities in matters of religion at the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic and represents the Slovak Republic in the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) and the World Values Survey Association (WVSA). He is a member of the Slovak Society for the Study of Religions (SSŠN) in Bratislava, the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) in Great Britain, and a member of the advisory board of the Inform Institute at King's College London.