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Media invitation

15th European Union Contest for Young Scientists

Budapest, 20-26 September 2003

'Science, our future'

 

Brussels, 9 September 2003

From 20 to 26 September 2003, Europe's most promising young scientific talent will be competing in the Hungarian city of Budapest to win prizes worth €28 500 in the 15th edition of the EU's Contest for Young Scientists. Held for the first time in a New Member State, this year's contest will bring together 113 young people (aged 15-20), representing 37 countries across Europe - as well as China, Japan, Korea and the USA - to present 75 winning projects from national competitions covering a wide range of scientific disciplines (see Annex 2). An exhibition of the students’ projects will be set up in Budapest's Millenary Park and journalists attending the event will have the opportunity to see all the competing entries and discuss them with the students concerned.

Part of the EU's Science and Society programme, the aim of this annual event is to encourage young people to pursue their interest in science and embark on scientific careers. Indeed, in today's knowledge-based society, it is vital for Europe's future that we continue to build a dynamic European research community. In the words of European Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin, 'More than ever before, Europe needs its scientists, and the contest plays an important role in stimulating the imagination of young people, many of whom will go on to become world class researchers.'

The 75 competing projects cover a wide range of scientific disciplines - from social sciences and astrophysics, to environmental investigation and mathematical modelling. The standard of entrants is high and several past projects have led to scientific breakthroughs or the setting up of new businesses (see Annex 1 for examples). The event, therefore, provides a unique showcase of the best of European student scientific achievement giving journalists the opportunity to keep their fingers on the pulse of European science today and possible future developments.

The nine top prizes - worth a total of €28,500 - will be selected by an international jury of 12 eminent and independent scientists. In addition, three past winners will select three projects which they consider to be particularly well presented, awarding prizes of up to €1200 in total. A number of 'special' prizes will also be awarded (see Annex 1).

The Award Ceremony itself will take place on Thursday, 25 September 2003 in the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest (12:00) and will be attended by Achilleas Mitsos, Director-General of Research (European Commission), high-level representatives of the Hungarian Government, the EU and many internationally renowned scientists. Dr. Ferenc Mádl, the President of Hungary, Dr. Bálint Magyar, the Minister of Education and Dr. József Hámori, the Vice-President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences will take part in Monday's Opening Ceremony. Also present will be the President of Hungarian Parliament, the Economics and Transport Minister, and the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The contest provides an invaluable opportunity for science students to meet with other like-minded young people, exchange ideas and experience the stimulation of an international environment. It also gives them the opportunity to discuss their scientific ideas with some of the best experts in the world, including, this year, Nobel laureates Ivar Giaever and Sir Harry Kroto. A full programme of events and activities over the week will ensure that just participating in the European Competition will be an experience to be remembered for years to come. For the winners of the various awards, it will also provide an important springboard for future scientific careers.

The enthusiasm for science communicated by the contestants in the Young Scientists Contest is unparalleled and projects clearly demonstrate the passion for discovery that is at the root of all scientific research. A love of windsurfing, for example, was the motivation for one past winner to develop an effective wind measuring instrument. The message from the Contest should be that science is about pushing the boundaries of knowledge and understanding - and that it can and should be fun as well as useful.


Media Programme

Wednesday 24 September

Day 5 of the contest - Day 1 for media

Morning Travel to Budapest

9h00 - 17h00   Opportunity to visit the exhibition and interact with contestants

18h00 - 20h00   Visit the Houses of Parliament with the contestants (optional)

20h30 - 22h30   Dinner on the Danube (evening sightseeing and dinner on board the Táncsics ship)

Thursday 25 September

Day 6 of the contest - Day 2 for media

9h00 - 10h30    Round table with Nobel Prize Winners
Moderator: Itsvan Palugyai, Népszabadság science editor and vice president of the European Union of Science Journalists' Association

11h30 – 13h30   Award ceremony and press conference

13h30 - 14h45   Reception and interview time (partly in parallel with the press
conference)

15h00  Free time and return to newsroom

Further information

Further information about the EU Young Scientists Contest in general may be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/youngscientists/

For details of this year's contest, contestants and projects visit: http://www.eucontest.hu/ or click on the country of your choice in the table of projects below or the contest web site's projects by country page.

If you would like more information on this year's contest, on past winners of if you are interested in an interview with project coordinators, members of the jury or the organising committee, please contact:

Stephen P. Gosden, Directorate-General for Research, European Commission

Tel: +32.2.2960079, Fax: +32.2.2958220, E-mail: stephen.gosden@ec.europa.eu

Interested media are kindly requested to register using the form below.

Participating media will receive assistance in advance logistical planning and complete practical details prior to the event.


Media Registration Form

15th European Union Contest for Young Scientists

20-26 September 2003 - Budapest, Hungary

Millenary Park and Hungarian Parliament

 

__ I will participate in the 15th European Young Scientist Contest

I will be arriving at ……………………. on ………………………………

I would like to participate in the following:

Wednesday 24 September

Day 5 of the contest - Day 1 for media

__ 9h00 - 17h00 Opportunity to visit the exhibition and interact with contestants

__ 18h00 - 20h00   Visit the Houses of Parliament with the contestants (optional)

__ 20h30 - 22h30   Dinner on the Danube (evening sightseeing and dinner on board the Táncsics)

Thursday 25 September

Day 6 of the contest - Day 2 for media

__ 9h30 - 11h00    Round table with Nobel Prize Winners
Moderator: Istvan Palugyai, Népszabadság science editor and Vice President of the European Union of Science Journalists' Association

__ 12h00 - 14h   Award ceremony and press conference

__ 14h00   Reception and interview time

 

__ I would like to interview key participants. Please indicate your preferences:

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

__ I will not attend the conference but wish to receive further information on the Young Science Contest and the projects presented. I am particularly interested in .....................................................................................................................
[please specify one or more countries and/or a particular project]

Contact Details

Title:   Dr.   Mr.   Ms.

Name:

First Name:

Organisation:

Position:

Specialisation:

Address:

Postal Code:

City & Country:

Direct line & mobile:

Mobile phone during the conference:

Fax:

E-mail

 

Notes for editors: Journalists wishing to attend should register with:

* For printed press: Ana Aguilar, Hill & Knowlton - working under contract to the European Commission for this event.
Tel: +32.2.7379514, Fax: +32.2.7379501, Mobile: +32.476.219344,
E-mail: aaguilar@hillandknowlton.com

* For audiovisual media: Gérald Alary, DDB Focus-Europe - working under contract to the European Commission for this event.
Tel: +32.2.7612029, Fax: +32.2.7611906, E-mail: Gerald.alary@ddb.be

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Annex I

15th EUROPEAN UNION CONTEST FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Prizes

The contestants compete on the basis of their work and interviews with the Jury for nine 'core' prizes. In addition to this, a limited number of honorary and special prizes are also awarded to the contestants where, in the judgement of the jury, they would benefit from the specific experiences that these prizes offer. The core prizes are:

  • Three 1st Prizes worth €5000 each

  • Three 2nd Prizes worth €3000 each

  • Three 3rd Prizes worth €1500 each

Honorary prizes include all-expenses paid trips to: the London International Youth Science Forum, the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar; the International Aeronautical Federation Congress in Vancouver (sponsored by the European Space Agency); the Ny-Alesund Large-Scale Facility (LSF) for Arctic Environmental Research (8-day study trip); the European Patent Office (sponsored by the EPO).

The Hungarian sponsors have also offered a number of special prizes that will be presented at the Awards ceremony by the heads of these organisations. Special prizes will be offered by: Hewlett Packard Hungary Ltd.; Paks Nuclear Power Plant Co.; the Hungarian Patent Office; EGIS Ltd.; and Gedeon Richter Ltd.

The Jury

Chairman - Dr. Ulf Merbold, European Space Agency (ESA) / European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk, The Netherlands. Physicist and ESA Astronaut, he was the first ESA astronaut to fly into space and the first non-American to fly on the Space Shuttle.

Dr. Elettra Ronchi-Blum, OECD Biotechnology Unit, Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, Paris, France. Coordinator of Health and Biotechnology activities at the OECD. Has lectured and published extensively on topics linked to new developments in molecular genetics and biotechnology and their impact on healthcare systems. Expert and OECD representative on a number of committees, including the UN Interagency Committee on Bioethics and the Bioethics Committee of the Council of Europe.

Prof. Pal Ormos, Director of the Institute of Biophysics Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Szeged, Hungary. Also President of the Hungarian Biophysical Society, vice-President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and Chair of its Commission on Biological Physics.

Prof. Jane Grimson, Vice Provost, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Specialised in engineering and computer science. Previously President of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and of the Irish Academy of Engineering. Currently President of the Irish Computer Society and of the Healthcare Informatics Society of Ireland. Member of the European Research Advisory Board and of the Executive Board of the European Science Foundation.

Mr. Johannes Steenbakker, European Patent Office, Munich, Germany. Principal Director of the European Patent Office. Background in mechanical engineering with extensive experience of assessing inventions across a range of technical fields.

Dr. Colin Osborne, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. Accomplished chemist responsible for the management of the Royal Society of Chemistry's education programme for schools.

Dr. Dominique Fonteyn, BIRA-IASB, Brussels, Belgium. Research at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy. Expert in the field of modelling of atmospheric chemistry. Involved in many international collaborations and is co-Principal investigator of SPICAM Light onboard the ESA/Mars Express probe.

Prof. Helena Maria De Oliveira Freitas, Departamento de Botanica, Universidad de Botanica, Coimbra, Portugal. Associate Professor of Plant Ecology at the Department of Botany. Responsible for the co-ordination of an interdisciplinary unit involved in several national and international projects on Mediterranean ecosystems, bio-diversity, plant soil interactions and nature conservation. President of Portuguese NGO for nature conservation 1999-2002.

Prof. Vagn Lundsgaard Hansen, Department of Mathematics, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark. Prof. of Mathematics at the Technical University of Denmark and Chairman of the Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics committee of the European mathematical Society. Author of numerous research papers and several books on topology, geometry and global analysis.

Prof. Nadezhda Bagdasaryan, member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Moscow, Russia, is the first social scientist to be invited as a jury member. She has published extensively in the areas of university education, sociology and philosophy of culture, and cross-cultural communications and has worked in collaboration with UNESCO. Since 1969 she has held a post at the Bauman Moscow Technical University where currently she is the Dean of the Social Sciences and Humanities Department, and senior professor for sociology and cultural sciences.

Michele Peron, European Northern Observatory, Garching, Germany - accomplished mathematician and software engineer involved in the development of MIDAS, a data analysis system used widely by the astronomical community to process observational data, and in the design and implementation of software for the Very Large Telescope, the World's largest and most technologically advanced ground-based astronomical facility.

Dr. Elisabeth Stiller-Erdpresser, Planning - Audio and Video Systems, Interactive Media Systems, Siemens Austria, Vienna. Responsible for the development of cutting -edge technologies for media content management systems with Siemens Austria. One of the founding members of the University of Applied Sciences for Telecommunication and Media, St. Poelten.

* * * * *

In addition, three past winners of the Young Scientists Contest have been invited to take part in the Alumni Jury as a way of reinforcing links between the past and the present. The Alumni can award modest prizes (up to €400) to those projects they believe to be best in terms of visual display and quality of the oral explanation. This year's Alumni Jury includes:

Eike Gerhard-Hubner (Germany), who won first prize in Milan in 1997 for his work on permanent self-conducting polymers.

Emil Laslo (Hungary), who was awarded second prize at the YSC in Helsinki in 1996 for his innovative Braille Display project.

Lorraine Ruzie (France), who obtained second prize in Thessaloniki in 1999 for her submarine volcano emergence forecasting device.

Success stories

Since the beginning of the EUCYS in 1989, more than a thousand young students from all over Europe have competed for the European Award. Many of these, winners or not, have gone on to establish themselves as highly successful professional scientists in their own right. To mark the 15th Edition of the Contest, the Commission has published 'Science, our future: 15 years of the EU Contest for Young Scientists', which reveals where the past winners are today and gives an insight into the influence of the Contest on the development of their careers. It also shows how studying science can open up opportunities for further development in areas that the contestants would never have guessed at beforehand. This publication is available on request from the European Commission. A couple of examples of success stories are presented below. Many more are included in the book.

Sarah Flannery (Ireland) - 1st Prize Winner in Thessaloniki, Greece 1999

At the young age of 16, Sarah Flannery was awarded one of the three first place prizes at the 1999 EU Young Scientists Contest in Thessaloniki for her project 'Cryptography-A New Algorithm Versus the RSA.' Along with her European Young Scientist Award, Sarah was given an invitation to attend the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm. Sarah was awarded first place despite the discovery of a crucial flaw in her proposed algorithm which meant that it was not secure after all - a fact which Sarah disclosed fully in the contest and integrated into her project. Despite this, Sarah's impressive grasp of the subject and her work on the Cayley-Purser algorithm led to intensive media attention and she was invited to lecture internationally on mathematics, puzzle solving, and on her projects. She has now published a book, in collaboration with her father, David Flannery, entitled In Code: A Mathematical Journey which traces the development of her project from the early beginnings to the international attention it ended up attracting. She is presently following a theoretical computer science course at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Gabor Bernath (Hungary) - First Prize Winner in Porto, Portugal 1998

Pushed by his father, Gabor started working on a project for the Young Scientist Contest in 1997. His goal was to develop a 3D scanning tool at a reasonable price without compromising the quality of the product. The result was ScanGuru, his own 3D scanner, which won him first prize at the 10th EU Young Scientist Contest and at the 50th Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The project has enabled Gabor to travel extensively and opened his eyes to the international science scene. It also attracted the attention of a enterprising businessman who has helped Gabor set up a small company, EasyScan Ltd., and start the application procedure for a patent. Since then, the company has developed the 3D scanner for different purposes. Their biggest project at the moment is the production of made-to-measure shoes utilising a ScanGuru based 3D system.

Quotes

'Science is often an invisible part of our life. However, being the basis of a great part of our knowledge today, it is important for everyone to pay more attention to scientific work.' Claudia Ambrosch-Draxi, former jury member.

'There is a sense of awe that people so young can do such deep work! I vividly remember the French student working on cosmology whose depth of understanding at 15 years old had all our "sophisticated" judges spellbound - and this was not a singular incident.' Eugene Meieran, former jury member.

'I have certainly benefited from the European perspective that participation in the EU Contest gave me. In European businesses today, managers who focus on their own national interests at the expense of European co-operation will flounder.' Graham Miller, former winner.

'Doing research is a marvellous adventure and one should be principally motivated by passion and curiosity. The EU Contest has clearly helped me to find what were my real passions and strengths.' Christof Teuscher, former winner.

'We do have a number of problems in today's world, which may - to a certain extent - be caused by the misuse of the wrong technologies. It is the next generation of scientists who will be confronting the improvement of these technologies and their use.' Gisele Anton, former Jury member.

'It is refreshing and encouraging to be surrounded by young people working on science and technology that will ultimately change the world for the better - There is a common cause of expanding understanding and pushing science and technology to the limits, in the interests of peace and improved standards of living.' Eugene Meieran, former Jury member

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Annex II

LIST OF PROJECTS TO BE PRESENTED IN BUDAPEST

15th EUROPEAN UNION CONTEST FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS

(click on a country for all the project and contestant details for that country )

Engineering

Intelligent Accident Warning System

  • AUSTRIA

Engineering

Online Measurement of the oil content of Emulsions used in rolling mills

Computer

Combining adaptive contextual modelling and entropy coding in compression software

  • BELARUS

Physics

Dirty drops or how to walk neatly

Social

Are astrology and numerology sciences?

  • BELGIUM

Biology

Shampoos and the strength of hair

Mathematics

On two problems connected with the rectification of polyominoes

  • BULGARIA

Mathematics

Original results on the sequences of Fibonacci & Lucas

Computer

Math studio - a computer algebra system

  • CZECH REPUBLIC

Physics

Globalisation versus catering

Biology

The diacetyl concentration in beer depending on temperature and yeast strain

  • DENMARK

Biology

Creatine supplementation, nutritional supplementation or doping?

  • DENMARK

Physics

Determining the speed of light from movement of Jupiter

Physics

Lens as an optical parallel processor performing Fourier transform

  • ESTONIA

Biology

The relationship between diurnal variation in height and physical activity

Biology

Production of Sauerkraut, 'classic versus biodynamic'

Chemistry

Determination of vibrational parameters B and X of iodine molecule

  • FINLAND

Chemistry

Analysis of the mass distribution of paper coatings

Physics

Study of a very strange oscillator

Biology

Some aspects of goitered gazelle conservation in Georgian Azerbaijan trans-boundary zone

  • GEORGIA

Medical

Helping kids gazing to the right

Physics

Low cost scanning tunnelling microscope

  • GERMANY

Computer

Alcatraz - Dynamic high security system

  • GERMANY

Biology

pH sensitive GFP mutant

Computer

Electronic secure key lock in co-operation with a central information system

Physics

Efficiency enhancement of plasma loudspeakers

  • HUNGARY

Biology

Phytocenology and environment protection of the central great Hungarian plain through a mycologist's eye

  • HUNGARY

Biology

What happens with the stressed stress proteins

  • HUNGARY

Engineering

Buildings assembled from skeleton elements and transportable in stock

Environment

The Icelandic hydrogen house

Computer

Advancement of the internet browser - XWEBSÔ

Computer

Advanced graphical 3D system for hardware accelerated environments

Environment

OPALE - on-time photosynthesis activity level examiner

  • ITALY

Computer

A low complexity algorithm - developing and testing

  • ITALY

Mathematics

Following the anchovies to the discovery of Lugurian Sea

Mathematics

Compatibility of tetraiamonds, pentiamonds and hexiamonds

  • LATVIA

Chemistry

Dihydropyridines nowadays

  • LATVIA

Engineering

Performance of a vehicle determined using hand-made pendulum

Environment

The common juniper employment possibilities to improve cities ecological conditions

  • LITHUANIA

Environment

The influence of works performed on islands for breeding waterfowls

  • LITHUANIA

Chemistry

Catalytic properties of lipase

Mathematics

The calculation of Pi - a teaching aid

Computer

A new compact operating system

  • NETHERLANDS

Biology

Fast beer brewing with a new technology

Chemistry

A metallographic and chemical analysis of a Viking sword from Telemark in Norway

Chemistry

Design and synthesis of two new inmuno-suppressants

  • POLAND

Physics

Can life exist outside the solar system?

Biology

Germination of the asphodelus bento-rainhae under different conditions - contribution to its preservation

  • PORTUGAL

Environment

An environment-friendly fuel

Mathematics

The key to the mystery of the stone book

  • RUSSIA

Engineering

New method for cold welding of parts by plastic deformation

  • RUSSIA

Environment

Sludge as a gift of nature - original method of bioutilisation

Biology

Induction of nuclear and mitochondrial mutants in yeast williopsis suaveolens

  • SLOVAKIA

Engineering

Thermal conductivity of liquids

Physics

Star spectrometry

  • SLOVENIA

Medical

Cytological analysis of cervical smears in teenagers

  • SLOVENIA

Earth Sciences

Dinosaur traces and remains in Slovenia and Croatia

Biology

Field guide of the orchids of Sierra de Mijas (Benalmadena)

  • SPAIN

Environment

The public lighting of Igualada. Light pollution

Computer

TI Print

  • SWEDEN

Chemistry

Plastic - a brilliant material

Physics

The influence of the quill shape on the harpsichord sound

  • SWITZERLAND

Biology

Effects of electric and magnetic fields

Chemistry

The extraction of chromium from leather wastes and protein recovery using enzymes

  • TURKEY

Earth Science

An investigation to improve the productivity of agricultural products using pumice

Environment

Oil products and bacteria oil destroyers in the Dnipro river

Physics

A study of magnetic thin films

  • UNITED KINGDOM

Zoology

Introduction of gum Arabic into the diet of callitrichids

  • UNITED KINGDOM

Environment

Classification of compression wood in Sitka Spruce

Special Guests

Biology

Effect of folic acid on the growth of flammulinavelutipes

  • CHINA

Engineering

The associated toxicity between Eu and Cd in green algue

  • CHINA

Engineering

Intelligent surface garbage hunting and collecting device

Computer

Chime system - chime management using personal computer

Chemistry

Hairdying with natural materials

Computer

Beacon - Analytical instrumentation software for identifying fluorescent oligonucleotides in encoded microbeads

              

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