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29th EU Contest for Young Scientists: and the winner is...

Brussels, 26 September 2017

This year's European Commission top prizes for young scientists were awarded to Karina Movsesjan from the Czech Republic for "The role of RAD51 mutations in cancer development", Adam Jan Alexander Ohnesorge from Switzerland for "The forgotten prisoners – Civilian prisoners of the Great War in Corsica" and Danish Mahmood from Canada for "W.I.N.I.T.S. (Wireless Interconnected Non-Invasive Triage System)".

The three second prizes and three third prizes were given to projects from Poland, Canada, Ukraine, Austria, Bulgaria and Germany. A detailed list is available online.

The three first prizes for outstanding science projects were €7000 each.

The winners were among 146 promising young scientists aged 14 to 20 who presented their projects at the 29th edition of the EU Contest for Young Scientists over the last days in Tallinn, Estonia. The winners shared a total of €53.500 in prize money, as well as other prizes such as science trips.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "This year, 89 brilliant projects from 38 countries were presented. It's encouraging to see so many bright young minds and so much talent. Europe's economic capacity to deal with major challenges will depend on this next generation of researchers and innovators."

This year's winners received their prizes from the President of the Republic of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid and Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission's Director General for Research and Innovation. The participants had all previously won first prizes in their home countries' national science competitions in their specific fields. The projects covered a broad spectrum of scientific areas, including biology, physics, chemistry, computing, social sciences, environment, mathematics, materials, engineering and medicine. This year's jury was chaired by Dr Attila Borics from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The food industry donated four awards and the Bio-based industry also awarded a prize. Non-cash prizes included trips to the London International Youth Science Forum and the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar as well as prizes from corporate sponsors including trips to Intel ISEF in the US. They also comprise visits to the European Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre, and the eight organisations making up the pan-European research group Eiroforum.

Background

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 contest seeks to support national efforts to attract young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and to eventually choose careers in science and research. The number of participating young scientists has grown from 53 in the first competition in 1989 to 146 this year.

Female participation in the contest reflects the broader issue of underrepresentation of women in STEM. This year, 38% of the participants were female (56 participants vs. 90 male participants). Over the 29 years, from the 3014 participants of the contest 313 young women and 916 young men have won prizes in this contest.