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Brussels, 12 September 2000

Brilliant brains for Europe's future
12th European Union Contest for Young Scientists
Amsterdam (NL) 20 - 23 September 2000

Keywords: Youth, research, science and technology

NEMO - New Metropolis science and technology centre in Amsterdam - will provide the setting for the 12th 1 European Union Contest for Young Scientists. For three days, 85 young science students from 35 countries will be presenting their scientific findings and innovations at a science exhibition in the heart of Amsterdam. The event culminates in the award ceremony on Saturday, 23 September 2000. The award ceremony will be attended by Achilleas Mitsos, Director-General for DG research, Dick Benschop, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and five Nobel laureates.

The European Union Contest for Young Scientists is an annual showcase of the best of European student scientific achievement. Projects that have won a top prize in a national young scientist competition compete at EU level. Every year, the Contest represents the ultimate goal for more than 30 000 students, aged 15-20, who participate in the national contests.

The EU Contest for Young Scientists is part of the EU's Improving Human Potential (IHP) Programme (1998-2002) managed by the Research Directorate-General. Commissioner responsible for research, Philippe Busquin, believes that fostering young talent is one of the keys to Europe's future excellence in the scientific field and has therefore taken a political initiative aimed at young researchers in the framework of his idea to create a European Research Area.

An international jury of 12 scientific personalities will assess the quality of the projects and decide the allocating of the various prizes. The members of the jury represent different scientific disciplines, they are well distinguished members of the scientific community and come from both academia and industry. Reflecting the special link the EU Contest enjoys with both the European Patent Office and USA's INTEL/International Science and Engineering Fair, two guest Jury member places are occupied by a Director of Intel and the Vice President of the European Patent Office.

There will be three first prizes each worth 5000, three second prizes worth 3000 and three third prizes worth 1500. In addition, the Jury can designate deserving prize-winners to represent the EU at the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar - where they will attend the Nobel Prize ceremonies and meet the Nobel Laureates - and to join the International Youth Science Forum in London. In addition, there are special awards where the young scientists can be chosen to join distinguished research scientists to work on projects organised by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (Ispra, Italy), the European Northern Observatories (Canary Islands), the European Space Research and Technology Centre (Noordwijk, The Netherlands) and the Royal Geographical Society (Seychelles). This year for the first time, the European Patent Office will also be awarding a prize for originality. Plus there is the former Contest prize winners award - the alumni prizes for projects that in their opinion merit them.

The 12th EU Contest for Young Scientists involves the 15 Member States of the European Union, and a number of associated countries, candidate countries and other eastern European countries including Russia. The winners of the USA's Science and Engineering Fair, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun Young Scientist Contest and the Republic of Korea's National Contest for Students' Scientific Invention will attend as special guests.

The award ceremony of the 12th EU Contest for Young Scientists will take place in the Mozes en Aaron Church in Amsterdam, 23 September at 14.00. Before the award ceremony, at 13.00, there will be a press briefing in the crypt of the church, where press will have the opportunity to be briefed on the results and to meet Achilleas Mitsos, Director-General for DG research, and the Dutch Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Dick Benschop.

Projects competing at this year's Contest cover a wide range of scientific topics. Astronomy has inspired a number of studies dealing with the monitoring of planetary orbits, scanning extrasolar worlds suitable for colonisation, following stellar evolution and setting out to prove that there has been life on Mars. Budding biologists have produced bat protection plans and fought malaria with the help of fish as well as analysed water pollution, studied photosynthesis and mapped species' distribution. Computing has attracted many, and easier Internet access has been a target of a few studies. On a more traditional front, fossils have fascinated students who have worked with dinosaur tracks and sea urchin remains. On the applied side, there are projects dealing with environmental issues - turning waste into profit or recycling drinks cartons for example.

The project descriptions can be found at:

More information on the conference can be found at:

For further information, please contact:

Graham Blythe, EU Contest for Young Scientists, DG RTD,
fax: +32-2-296.30.24,

Piia Huusela, Press Officer, Research DG
fax: +32-2-295.82.20,

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PRESS RELEASES | 22.09.2000