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IP/09/1325

Brussels, 16 September 2009

EU Contest for Young Scientists: European young science stars selected to shine in Paris

15 European and non European promising young scientists, aged between 14-20, have been rewarded for their scientific project, of the highest quality, at the EU Contest for Young Scientists. The winners will share € 51 500 in prizes. The event, organised by the European Commission and the French national host organiser, "Sciences à l'Ecole" and the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) took place for the first time in Paris, at the well-known "Palais de la découverte", a place of scientific education for generations. 87 projects were presented. The three first prizes of €7 000 each were awarded to Liam Mc Carthy and John D. O'Callaghan from Ireland for “The Development of a Convenient Test Method for Somatic Cell Count and it's Importance in Milk Production”, Fabian Gafner from Switzerland for “Dikranos - the airplane with reverse gear” and Aleksander Kubica and Wiktor Pilewski from Poland for "Spiral Zone Plates". The three second prizes and third prizes were given to projects from France, Malta, Spain, Hungary, Germany and Israel. At last year's contest, the European Commission launched a Prize for International Cooperation, for the best project from a Third Country 1 team underlining the importance of international scientific cooperation in research. This year, the prize was won by Peter Massey and Shaunak Bakshi from the United States for " Lipoic Acid: Towards a Novel Neuroprotective Treatment for Alzheimer's-Associated Cognitive Dysfunction in a Drosophila Model".

"Science and research needs fresh blood and fresh ideas. Europe needs to encourage the best young talents to take up a career in science and we must make these careers attractive to our future researchers,” says European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik. "The high quality of the projects in competition is a positive signal showing that Europe is a real reservoir of talent. This is a strong incentive for us to quickly make the European Research Area, where they will be able to freely circulate, a reality."

The contestants, all aged between 14 and 20, and coming from 38 countries across Europe – as well as Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA – presented 87 winning projects from national competitions covering a wide range of scientific disciplines from engineering to biology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, computer and social sciences. The projects were evaluated by a distinguished pan-European 17-member scientific jury.

During their stay in Paris, the young researchers had the chance to meet eminent scientists, ensuring that just participating in the European Competition was an experience to be remembered for years to come. For the winners of the various awards, it may also prove to be an important springboard for their future scientific careers. As some of the previous projects have led to scientific breakthroughs or to the creation of new businesses, the event provides a unique showcase of the best European student scientific projects and gives journalists the opportunity to keep their fingers on the pulse of European science of today and tomorrow.

Background

The European Union Contest for Young Scientists is part of the EU's Science in Society programme. Its aim is to encourage young people who have an interest in science and embark on scientific careers. This year, the prizes were presented by Mr Jean-Michel Baer, Director in the Directorate General for Research of the European Commission, together with Mrs Valérie Lefèvre, Representative of the Ministry of Research and High Education, Mrs Claudie Haigneré, President of "La Cité des Sciences" and of "Palais de la Découverte", Yves Quéré, Member of French Academy of Sciences and Professor Chris Phillips, from Imperial College London, the President of the Jury .

More information about the EU Contest for Young Scientists, including photos, success stories, biographical details of the jury and descriptions of all entries can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/youngscientists/index_en.cfm

Prize-winners

21st European Union Contest for Young Scientists

FIRST PRIZES (€7 000 per project)

Country: Ireland

Contestant s: Liam Mc Carthy (14) and John D. O'Callaghan (15)

F ield: Biology

Project title: The Development of a Convenient Test Method for Somatic Cell Count and it's Importance in Milk Production

Country: Switzerland

Contestant: Fabian Gafner (19)

Field: Physics

Project title: Dikranos – the airplane with reverse gear

Country: Poland

Contestant: Aleksander Kubica (20) and Wiktor Pilewski (20)

Field: Physics

Project title: Spiral Zone Plates

SECOND PRIZES (€5 000 per project)

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

France

Elodie Aubanel

Jérémy Dargent

Arnaud De Richecour

18

18

18

Physics

Pick Up a Cosmic Wink

Malta

Philip Cardona

20

Engineering

Cappucino Logo Printer

Spain

Sara Vima Grau

18

Earth Science

From mineral to Romanesque altarpiece: Identification of mineral pigments and reproduction of a Catalan Romanesque altarpiece

THIRD PRIZES (€3 500 per project)

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Hungary

Áron Hunyadi

20

Engineering

Walking through (a piece of) time with a timepiece

Germany

Steffen Strobel

20

IT Science

Development of a near-infrared vein imaging system

Israel

Omri Lesser

17

Physics

The Conplex Potential and Its Application to the Planning of Dams

THE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION PRIZE (€5 000 per project)

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

USA

Peter Massey

Shaunak Bakshi

17

16

Medical Science

Lipoic Acid: Towards a Novel Neuroprotective Treatment for Alzheimer's-Associated Cognitive Dysfunction in a Drosophila Model

HONORARY AWARDS

Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar 2009
to attend the 2009 Nobel Prize ceremonies, meet the Nobel Laureates and take part in a series of other scientific/cultural activities during the week.

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Poland

Aleksander Kubica

Wiktor Pilewski

20

20

Physics

Spiral Zone Plates

London International Youth Science Forum 2010
to meet young scientists from around the world and take part in the annual two-week intensive summer science festival during July-August 2010 .

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Ireland

Liam Mc Carthy

John D. O'Callaghan

14

15

Biology

The Development of a Convenient Test Method for Somatic Cell Count and it's Importance in Milk Production

SPECIAL DONATED PRIZES

There are 25 special donated prizes: a five-day visit of a technical and cultural nature to the European Patent Office in Munich and a one-week stay at each of the seven members of EIROforum [1] :

  • CERN: The European Laboratory for Particle Physics

  • EFDA: The European Fusion Development Agreement

  • EMBL: The European Molecular Biology Laboratory

  • ESA: The European Space Agency

  • ESO: The European Southern Observatory

  • ESRF: The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

  • ILL: The Institut Laue-Langevin

The European Patent Office, Munich, Germany
A five-day visit of a technical and cultural nature to the European Patent Office in Munich

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Switzerland

Fabian Gafner

19

Physics

Dikranos – the airplane with reverse gear

Germany

Steffen Strobel

20

IT Science

Development of a near-infrared vein imaging system

Austria

Martin Brezowar

Michael Tobias König

Iris Schmidt

19

19

19

Medical Science

Flexible Alligator Forceps

EIROfORUM PRIZES

CERN: The European Laboratory for Particle Physics

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

UK

Courtney Williams

18

Physics

Listening For Ghost Particles: The Acoustic Cosmic Ray Neutrino Experiment (ACoRNE)

EFDA: The European Fusion Development Agreement

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

New Zealand

Jake Martin

18

Chemistry

The Discovery Model Gasifier and Biocarbon Research

EMBL: The European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Estonia

Kristina Aare

18

Environment

Factors influencing the phenol tolerance of soil bacteria Pseudomonas putida

ESA: The European Space Agency

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Russia

Ana Shvetsova

17

Engineering

Developing of alternative ways of movement of autonomous lowered vehicle on Venus

ESO: The European Southern Observatory

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Germany

Julian Petrasch

17

Physics

SAMS - improved determination of minor planet positions

ILL: The Institut Laue-Langevin - ESRF: The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Switzerland

Damian Steiger

19

Physics

On the trail of the first cyclotron pioneers

HOST ORGANIZATION SPECIAL DONATED PRIZES

The Region Ile-de-France Prize

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Slovakia

Jakub Jenča

Peter Rabatin

18

18

Physics

Two-Dimensional Melting Transition observed in system of magnets

The EADS Foundation Prize

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Switzerland

Fabian Gafner

19

Physics

Dikranos - the airplane with reverse gear

The Total Prize

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Turkey

Betsi Levi

Reysi Rodikli

15

16

Earth Science

AN ALTERNATIVE METHOD OF GENERATING ELECTRICAL ENERGY FROM GEOTHERMAL SOURCES

The EDF Prize

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Latvia

Gunars Kisis

Martins Zeps

19

19

Physics

Development and optimisation of electrolysis cell to improve engine operation

The CNRS Prize

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

Switzerland

Thomas Steinacher

19

IT Science

Multi-Touch. Building a multi-touch screen and creating supporting software.

Hungary

Máté Kajtár

20

Engineering

WHERE IS THE LEAK? High-precision leak detection in underground storage tanks

Norway

Carl Andreas Lindstrom

19

Physics

The physics of Medieval Trebuchets

Spain

Alejandro Rivero de Aguila

19

Biology

The microcosmos of water bears: first study of Tardigrada in Galicia (NW Spain)

The CEA Prize

Country

Name of contestant

Age

Field

Title

France

Alexandre Crespy

Andréi Galindo

Stéphane Ruffe

17

18

18

Physics

The Ferrofluid Dance: Studies and interests for magnetic colloïds.

1 :

Third countries: Canada, China, Japan, New-Zealand, South Korea and USA.


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