Euro Info | Wednesday, 23 September 2009

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 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.
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:


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23 September 2009


Malta Today


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