ZMAI started as the aspiration of seven statistics master’s students who wanted to bring about positive societal changes through evidence-based policies and research. In the beginning, when our ambitions were grand but our resources were limited, when every small success felt like a significant leap, and when our determination was tested not by the magnitude of our achievements but by the strength of our will to persevere, loyal supporters and dedicated partners, donors, and members stood by our side. We thank everyone for these years of successful collaboration.

Since our foundation on October 20, 2014, we have continuously pursued our mission to encourage the spirit of research among young people through research that brings positive changes to society. For this purpose, starting this year, awards for the “Competition for Young Quantitative Minds – Slavica Todorovska” will be presented every birthday. The award bears the name Slavica Todorovska – Caci, one of our founders who left us too soon. Her desire for research and providing solutions to the problems faced by young people continues to guide ZMAI.

Ten papers, rich in data and analyses on various topics, were submitted to the competition. It was a genuine pleasure and honor to evaluate the works of these talented young researchers by the expert committee. We are grateful to have such young, quantitative minds who are eager to make a societal change based on facts and data.

At the celebration, we awarded the prizes to the first-place winner, Slobodancho Gjorgjiev, who presented the paper “Dynamics and Determinants of Inflation in Developed and Developing Countries – A Comparative Analysis Using the VECM Approach,” and the second-place winner, Kristijan Fidanovski, for the paper “What Policy Functions Are Reflected in the Variation in Child Benefits by Child Age and Birth Order? An Analysis of 27 European Countries.”

Through our dedicated work, ZMAI will continue to contribute to a better tomorrow for all, and through our activities, we will motivate future generations to advocate for policies that improve their position in society. Therefore, we celebrate not only the years behind us but also the journey ahead, with a desire for continuous innovation, unwavering dedication, and collective success. We are grateful for these nine years of existence and look forward to many more to come.