Munich, 5 December 2002
The EU Archimedes Prize - the
EU's science prize for undergraduate students - was awarded today,
December 5, in Munich to 20 projects carried out by young European
scientists. The winners come from Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
Iceland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United
Kingdom. The EU Archimedes Prize gives public recognition to the
research achievements of Europe's undergraduates and aims to stimulate
the interest of young people in science and research. Laureates
receive monetary awards of between €44,000 and €34,000 which are
to be used to help kick-start their scientific careers.
Launched by the European Commission in 2000, the EU Archimedes Prize
promotes research amongst university or higher-education students
in Europe, bridging the gap between the EU Young Scientists Contest
for secondary school students and the Descartes Prize for senior
researchers (see webpages). Prizes are awarded to the students who
come up with the best original scientific idea or concept related
to Certain interdisciplinary themes. A jury of high-level personalities
from academic, industry and public life selected the winning projects.
From wheel chairs to novel drugs
- students prove their impact…
This year's ceremony, celebrated
in the European Patent Office (EPO), Munich, brought together the
prizewinners from 2001 and 2002. The projects awarded focus on research
such as wheelchair route planning and safety devices, work on the
development of a prototype prosthetic hand, research on the conversion
of solar energy into storable chemical energy and the use of wasp
toxins for the development of novel drugs for the treatment of neurological
disorders. Other winning projects deal, for example, with climate
change, medicine, mathematics or tourism and all of them have tangible
applications (see annex).
… and the winners are …
awards were given to 25 undergraduates, participating in the 20
winning projects. Placed under the theme of intellectual property,
the ceremony was held in the presence of Mr. Otto Wiesheu, Bavarian
Minister for Economy, Transport and Technology, Mr. Rainer Gerold,
Director of the Science and Society Directorate of the European
Commission and Mr. Pantelis Kyriakides, Vice-President of EPO. Coinciding
with the awards for the EU's Descartes Prize, the ceremony also
provided the young students with the opportunity to exchange ideas
with experienced scientists working at the cutting-edge of their
respective fields of research and to discuss questions of intellectual
Commenting on the awards, Mr Rainer Gerold drew attention to the practical nature of the projects, in line with the themes set each year by the Commission: "The projects rewarded have focused on topics benefiting society and applicable to everyday life." He also highlighted the participation of many young scientists from the Candidate Countries in the projects received and amongst the winning proposals.
The Archimedes prize rewards the best scientific projects in accordance to a number of selected themes that were published by the European Commission. In a two-stage selection process a jury of high-level personalities selected the projects on the basis of scientific merit and its European added value.
For further media information concerning the Archimedes Prize and projects:
Should you like more information on this year's Descartes Prize, on past projects or if you are interested in an interview with project co-ordinators or the Commission officers involved, please contact:
- Stéphane Hogan, Press Officer, Research DG, European Commission
Tel: +32.2.296.29.65, Fax: +32.2.295.82.20 , E-mail: Research Contact
- Georges Vlandas, Research DG, Directorate C - Science and Society, European Commission,
Tel: +32.2.295.55.40, Fax: +32.2.296.70.24 , E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Manuel Carmona, Research DG, Directorate C - Science and Society, European Commission,
Tel: +32 2 295 12 56 - Fax: +32 2 296 70 24, E-mail: email@example.com
TThe Archimedes Prize is a part of the Research Directorate General's Improving the Human Research Potential Programme (1998-2002): http://cordis.europa.eu/improving/home.html
The Archimedes Prize website: http://cordis.europa.eu/improving/awards/archimedes.htm
Further Scientific Prizes:
Contest for secondary school students
Descartes Prize for senior
The Archimedes Prize - Winners 2002
Theme: Structure and function in macromolecules
Study of the structure-function relationships in nucleobase
Areti, Sofia, Konstantinos and Stella studied nucleobase transporters
at the molecular level using a model microbial system. Now
they look forward to PhDs and scientific careers building
on this valuable work.
Areti PANTAZOPOULO, Sofia GOUDELA, Konstantinos KAGIAS
and Stella TOURNAVITI, University of Athens Faculty of Biology,
Study of breast milk is just the beginning
Maria Cristina studied the anti-bacterial properties (xanthine
oxidoreductase) found in human and bovine milk. Her research
interests now extend to the central nervous system and she
plans to do a PhD on the subject of macromolecules and their
impact on optic nerve cells.
Maria Cristina OVERJERO-BOGLIONE, University of the West
of England (UWE), United Kingdom
On the cancer therapy trail
Jacopo's undergraduate work on poly(amidoamine) non-viral
vectors and conjugates for applications in cancer therapy
will continue into his PhD. He wants to understand the correlation
between therapeutic efficiency and molecular architecture.
Jacopo FRANCHINI, Università Degli Studi di Milano,
Study of 'myasthenia gravis'
As a medical student, Konstantinos, studied the current treatments
for 'myasthenia gravis' (MG), a neurological autoimmune disease.
Now he plans to investigate alternatives with less severe
Konstantinos POULAS, National and Kapodistrian University
of Athens, Medical School, Greece
DNA analysis of mood disorder treatments
Adele's research showed that more needs to be known about
the genetic predisposition for the efficacy of antidepressants.
She now plans to focus on the molecular basis (DNA analysis)
of the response to antidepressant treatments in mood disorders,
especially to serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Adele PIROVANO, Università Degli Studi di Milano/Ospedale
San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
Study of new treatments for bacterial infections
Grzegorz did a masters thesis on bacterial (Staphylococcal)
proteases and their inhibitors. The recent discovery of a
new class of natural, specific inhibitors at his lab provides
a promising base to engineer new compounds for the treatment
of bacterial infections.
Grzegorz DUBIN, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology,
Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
|Theme: Energy devices
Making hydrogen from photocatalytic water decomposition
Maciej's and Michal's research on the conversion of solar energy
into storable chemical energy was a stepping stone for finding
more efficient, environmentally sustainable photocatalysts to
generate hydrogen. They hope to develop a simple photoreactor
operating under solar irradiation.
Maciej ZALAS and Michal WOJTOWSKI, Adam Mickiewicz University,
Faculty of Chemistry, Poznan, Poland
|Theme: Water resources modelling and management
Model of 'hybrid systems' for studying water management
Sorin's research applied a real world scenario - agricultural
water management of three irrigation lakes - to the theoretical
field of 'mixed logical dynamical' (MLD) systems. He developed
a model for the chosen configuration and adopted predictive
techniques for the management strategy. For his PhD, he plans
to continue the research into 'hybrid systems' and MLD, focusing
on the optimisation problems.
Sorin OLARU, University 'Politehnica', Bucharest, Romania
|Theme: Societal and economic implications of demographic change in the EU
Study of traffic in the city: a case study of a European
region's aging and shrinking cities
Christiane's project examined past and future traffic conditions
in cities in light of demographic changes. She provided a case
study examining an urban region in Europe facing rapid demographic
change. She plans to further investigate the issue of sustainable
urban transportation, focusing on the role of public transportation,
in cities worldwide.
Christiane JUST, Technical University
of Dresden, Germany
|Theme: Implications of tourism on natural and human ecosystems
Study of Iceland's highland and nature tourists
Gunnpóra's proposal, 'The nature tourist; analysis of tourists'
needs and views towards nature in the highlands of Iceland and
implications for planning nature tourist destinations', attempted
to answer questions such as: Are nature tourists in Iceland,
local or foreign, a homogenous group in terms of their needs
and views? What attitudes do travelers have towards the highland
wilderness of Iceland and what are the objectives of their trips?
Gunnpóra OLAFSDOTTIR, Department of Geology and Geography,
University of Iceland
The Archimedes Prize - Winners 2001
Theme: New medicines from natural sources
Wasp toxins in the development of new medical treatments
Petrine examined the chemical structure of natural wasp toxins
and their potential use as drugs for the treatment of neurological
disorders. She managed to synthesize analogues of these toxins,
using stereochemical pathways, for their eventual use in pharmacological
Petrine WELLENDORPH, The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy,
Study of the therapeutic potential of Aloe Vera
Fiona looked at the therapeutic potential of Aloe Vera, a
plant widely distributed in several countries. Her study examined
how this plant can be used for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
activities, using sound scientific controlled studies, literature
review and research methods.
Fiona BRADBURY, Strathclyde University, United Kingdom
|Theme: Desertification and drought
Model of wheat yields and climatic change
Giovanna examined yield variations in two varieties of durum
wheat in Sicily as a consequence of climate change. The idea
was to validate an existing computational model on the basis
of experimental data, then use it to predict variations in
yield due to changes in temperature and precipitation calculated
by a regional circulation model.
Giovanna FONTANA, Università agli studi di Palermo,
|Theme: Concepts to aid disabled people
Software for wheelchair route planning
Carsten's project used fast prototyping to develop software
to support wheelchair users in planning routes to suit their
individual mobility requirements. He envisages the application,
which is written in JAVA, being used on PDAs or other mobile
platforms. The study was a systematic analysis of the problem
and is an example of technology well applied.
- Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster,
Prototype prosthetic hand
Chris's study describes a fully working prototype gripper,
which could be used as the basis for developing a prosthetic
'hand' or as a tool for use by disabled or elderly people
with grip or fine motor difficulties. Working on the toroidal
principle, the device developed is versatile, efficient and
low cost, with real-world potential.
Chris KING, Southbank University, London, United Kingdom
Safety simulations for wheelchairs on the road
Krystian's project used computer simulation to test the safety
of wheelchair users in a road traffic accident. Different
types of systems for securing wheelchairs in a vehicle, including
seat belts, were tested. Computer simulation with MADYMO software
and the HYBRID II crash test dummy were used. The results
were clearly presented and discussed in the light of international
Krystian KONARZEWSKI, Warsaw University of Technology,
New approach to cognitive rehabilitation
Vicky used a computer-based interactive environment to test
the value of sonic experience on developing kinesthetic perception.
Her paper discusses the relevance of this method of cognitive
rehabilitation for children with attention difficulties, suggesting
that auditory feedback promotes transfer of learning in a
kinesthetic task. The study contributes to the development
of new approaches to cognitive rehabilitation.
Vicky TARNANA, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki,
|Theme: Mathematical modeling for social and economic sciences
Model for predicting currency movements
Peter addressed the important question of currency crises.
Based on the 'Bayesian equilibrium' and game theory, his model
predicts and explains "humps" already observed in
the currency crisis of the early 90s, adding a new element
to the theory: the modeling of herding effects. Computer simulations
add to the understanding and evaluation of the model, which,
if correctly understood, may have an impact on political decisions
Péter KONDOR, Budapest University of Economic Sciences
and Public Administration, Hungary
Model on trading of emission permits
Gergely's model on the trading of emission permits addresses
an issue of international importance - and is of particular
relevance for EU countries in the context of enlargement.
It applies the deep math technique of game theory with success
to an internationally important problem. The model is clear
and innovative and provides scientific arguments which could
help support the resolution of global environmental problems.
Gergely UJHELYI, Budapest University of Economic Sciences
and Public Administration, Hungary
Model for duality of prices between tradable and non-tradable
Sofia and Mitja addressed a very original and interesting
question: the duality of prices and allocations in State-provided
non-tradable goods as compared to markets for tradable ones.
The model developed applies the general equilibrium theory.
Their work shows power and vision and, based on a partnership
between a Swede and a Slovenian, also addresses the integration
of East European Countries to the EU. Understanding of their
results may have impact on EU policies.
Mitja PIRC, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
and Sofia NILSSON, Lulea University of Technology, Lulea,