For the past week, the University of Warsaw library had been packed with promising young scientists. 110 researchers aged 14 to 20 presented their projects during an intense competition, in the hope of impressing an international jury. They were competing for honours in the 26th European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which concluded with the awards ceremony on Tuestay. Aside from the right to count themselves among the best young scientists in Europe, the winners also divided up a total of €62.500 in prize money, as well as other coveted prizes such as science trips.
The three first prizes of €7000 each were awarded to João Pedro Estácio Gaspar Gonçalves de Araújo from Portugal for “A natural characterization of semilattices of rectangular bands and groups of exponent two”, Mariana De Pinho Garcia and Matilde Gonçalves Moreira da Silva from Portugal for “Smart Snails” and Luboš Vozdecký from the Czech Republic for “Rolling Friction”. This year, second prizes went to projects from Ireland, Bulgaria and Slovenia for original projects in the areas of Mathematics and Chemistry. The three third prizes were given to projects from Lithuania, the United Kingdom and Germany.
– The quality of the entries to this competition continues to amaze me, and I congratulate all the participants. Research and innovation spring from a diversity of ideas, so we must allow young people the freedom to develop their ideas and create. We also have to work harder to increase female participation in science and technology. These are real challenges for our education systems. – said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.
The Warsaw contest brought together 77 projects from 36 countries, including EU Member States and associated and international countries. All entries had already won first prize in their country’s respective national science contests in their specific field. The project topics covered a broad spectrum of scientific areas: biology, physics, chemistry, computing, social sciences, environment, mathematics, materials, engineering and medicine. This year’s jury was chaired by Dr Henrik Aronsson, from the University of Gothenburg and was composed of 18 International scientists in the different scientific fields.
The European Union Contest for Young Scientists was set up by the European Commission in 1989 to encourage co-operation and exchange between young scientists and to give them an opportunity to be guided by some of Europe’s most prominent researchers. The first competition took place in Brussels and has been held in 24 different European cities since then.