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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.