Europe's best young scientific minds met in Bratislava on Tuesday 25 September 2012 for the 24th annual Awards Ceremony for the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). The top three prizes went to teams from Ireland, Poland and Austria for projects in Physics, Chemistry and Engineering.
Four prizes were also awarded by the JRC to young scientists from the Czech Republic, Italy, Ukraine and Norway. The prizes were presented by JRC Director, Prof. Krzysztof Maruszewski, and the winning scientists will be hosted in the JRC institutes in Ispra, Italy and Geel, Belgium.
The prize to visit the JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) was awarded to Eliška Zlámalová from the Czech Republic, for her project "Monitoring of the molecular basis of drug abuse".
European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "I congratulate all participants in this year's contest. The quality of entries is as always very high, and encouraging for the future of research in Europe. Past winners have gone on to prestigious careers in research, for instance at the European Space Agency and CERN. Europe must continue to nurture its best brains if it wants to lead in the 21st century."
The projects were assessed by an international jury chaired by Maria Ana Viana-Baptista, professor of geophysics at Lisbon Engineering Institute (ISEL), and the panel included two past EUCYS winners. All entries had already won first prize in their country's respective national science contests in their specific field. The topics covered a broad spectrum of scientific areas: biology, physics, chemistry, computing, social sciences, environment, mathematics, materials, engineering and medicine.
The European Union Contest for Young Scientists was set up by the European Commission in 1989 to encourage co-operation and interchange between young scientists and to give them an opportunity to be guided by some of Europe's most prominent researchers.
Through the contest, the EC seeks to strengthen efforts made in participating countries to attract young people to careers in science and research.
Full details of this year's contest can be found at: http://www.media.eucys2012.eu/. All three first prize winning teams were awarded €7,000; second and third-placed teams received €5,000 and €3,500 respectively. Other prizes included trips to the London International Youth Science Forum and the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar, prizes from corporate sponsors as well as awards from the European Commission's in house science service, the Joint Research Centre, pan-European research organisation group Eiroforum and the European Patent Office.
As well as the awards ceremony, the young scientists were able to display their projects at a four-day exhibition and take part in a number of workshops and side conferences.
More information about the contest and past winners can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/youngscientists/index_en.cfm
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) Prizes
Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM):
Eliška Zlámalová, Czech Republic (19), in Chemistry: Monitoring of the molecular basis of drug abuse.
Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP):
Ilaria Furlan (19) Sebastian Gregoricchio (19) Anastasia Moravskaya, Italy (20) in Biology: A new protocol for the diagnosis of GastroIntestinal Stromal Tumours (GISTs) and non GISTs.
Institute for Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC):
Oleksandr Guryanov, Ukraine (16) in Mathematics: Digital signature systems on elliptic curves in the Edwards form.
Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES):
Elise Marguerite Damstra, Norway (18) in Biology: How forest degradation affects reptiles in a Madagascan spiny forest.