- Success stories - Copenhagen 1990
First Prize for the project titled "Drinking Water Examination
with Special Consideration of Corrosional Aspects".
Copenhagen 1990 he remembers the many social events taking
place and the satisfactory results of the award: "my project
definitely helped to understand the source of problems and
design measures for improvement within my community. After
the EU Contest, a number of other communities inquired about
water analyses, and finally even companies turned to me and
asked for advice. I then established my own "official" laboratory,
which I first set up in the cellar of my parent's house. Clients
included local companies but eventually people from Germany,
Japan and Syria also. I still receive e-mails and messages
inquiring about corrosion analysis today"
He assures that, amongst others, the EU Contest has definitely
helped him to pursue a career in science and to obtain two
prestigious fellowships such as Schweizerische Studienstiftung
and the Miller Fellowship.
his participation in the EU Contest he kept on running the
Water Analysis Laboratory he had founded in 1986. As he did
in the project he presented at the EU Contest, Marco studied
the effect of corrosion in drinking water pipes. He consulted
companies and local communities in order to help identify
and solve corrosion problems in those pipes. And this not
only in Switzerland, but in some areas of Germany and Japan
as well. He sold his laboratory in 1996 and completed his
degree and, afterwards, his PhD at the University of Fribourg
(Switzerland), specifically in the Institute of Inorganic
and Analytical Chemistry. He completed it with a "cum laude"
mention in July 1998). Having finished that, he then succeeded
in his application for a Miller Postdoctoral Fellowship at
the University of California, Berkeley (1998-2000), where
he is currently investigating and studying supra-molecular
chemistry and combinatorial methods.
the Second Prize at Copenhagen 1990, alongside with Ian Thompson.
Their project was titled: "Investigation of oils used in soap
manufacture". He remembers that "there was lots of interesting
science at the Copenhagen event, from laser-based acupuncture,
through to seaweed found in the coast of Ireland and the various
activities in the week". These activities included a trip
to Hamlet's castle and a trip to "probably one of the best
breweries in the world -Carlsberg". He considers, though,
that "the best bit of the competition was surely the people.
For many, like myself, it was our first time away from our
home countries on anything other than a summer holiday. The
chance to meet such a fun loving, diverse, but like minded
group of people helped to break down a lot of prejudices,
and forge valuable friendships".
Second Prize in Copenhagen "really boosted my self confidence
and helped me to gain sponsorship through University by Unilever
Research. The EU Contest is a prestigious event and is held
in high esteem by employers. He is sure that he has "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".
no patents were forthcoming from the project he presented,
his investigation on soap manufacture was utilised by Unilever
Research's Port Sunlight Laboratories, which is one of the
premier research organisations on the subject of detergent
Following University he went on to gain a place on Unilever's
management training scheme, where he has had the opportunity
to work throughout Europe and also on a one year secondment
to China. He works now as a Project Manager on a Europe-wide
systems project working alongside team members from Spain,
Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
a First Prixe at Copenhagen 1990 with a project on "The Effect
of Assimilatory Starch for The Growth of Arabidopsis Thaliana".
She remembers that "when I took part in the EU Contest in
Copenhagen, I was still a high school student. I was glad
about any event that could give me a few days off from school,
especially if it was something official like a science contest.
Apart from having a week off from school, it was extremely
interesting to meet other students from all over Europe. The
diversity of interesting people and projects was amazing".
She assures that she is always fond of looking back to her
memories from Copenhagen 1990, and she is still in touch with
two of her fellow contestants from that edition.
Concerning her project, she mentions that two years after
the EU Contest, she completed a more extended version using
the same mutant plants, trying always to answer some of the
questions that had been posed at Copenhagen. This revision
allowed her to win the German National Contest for Young Scientists
(Jugend Forscht) and she was awarded a six-week practical
course with the Organisation of Tropical Studies in Costa
that "even now, as I am working on sucrose transport, my old
research project on storage of starch is still of some importance
to the understanding of these mechanisms. I learnt from this
early project how to approach, in general, a scientific investigation:
how to evaluate data, how to set up an experiment, and finally
how to write it up. I am still enjoying the great advantages
of having learnt all that so early in my life".
in the EU Contest made her, in her own words, "feel like a
real scientist at some kind of very important meeting. There
was a wonderful atmosphere there, and I guess it helped me
to confirm my decision to become a scientist". Waltraud is
currently working as a graduate student at the Centre for
Molecular Biology of Plants in Tübingen, specifically within
Prof. Dr. Wolf Frommer's team. Her research group has focused
on the physiology of plants, and particularly on genes involved
in sucrose transport and sucrose sensing. She explains that
"I am now in the second year of my PhD research project on
the regulation of sucrose transport, but before I started
that, I did my diploma-thesis on transports for nitrogenous
compounds expressed in the capturing organs of the carnivorous
plant called Nepenthes". Carnivorous plants, such as Nepenthes,
are adapted to a nutrient poor environment and supplement
their nitrogen budget by the capture and digestion of insects.
The contribution of insect nitrogen can amount up to 70% of
the plant's nitrogen content. At the same time the plant invests
a substantial amount of resources into the development of
special trapping organs and digestive system. Both the uptakes
of nutrients from the pitcher fluid and the transport to other
plant organs are important steps in the nitrogen acquisition
from pitchers. However, very little is known about the molecular
mechanisms involved. Some of Waltraud's findings were published
in 1999, and she has contributed as well to specialist journals
such as The Plant Journal, Oecologia, and Plant Physiology.
in the same field of investigation, she is now developing
independent research projects such as the analysis of the
nitrogen status of various carnivorous plants by using stable
nitrogen isotopes. She explains that "I am actually writing
a research paper about the amount of nitrogen derived from
the insect prey in the Venus Flytrap species".
she has undertaken many different tasks: "I joined a few international
expeditions to Siberia I order to analyse the boreal pine
forest's CO² budget. I had to manage to do it during the semester
breaks I had while taking courses as an undergraduate student".
One of her hobbies consists of exploring remote places of
the world by bike: "in the last few years I have visited Patagonia,
Mongolia, Namibia, etc.".
S. Papaspyrou (GR)
in the EU Contest at Copenhagen 1990, with a project titled
"DGRAPH. Drawings for Dot-matrix Printers".
current situation can be summarised like this: "I finished
my PhD at the National Technical University of Athens in February
1998. The research area was the Semantics of Programming Languages.
Right after that, I had to do my military service. I have
now applied for a teaching position at the Technical University
of Chania and I am most likely to be employed there for a
few semesters. I am interested in continuing my research and
I am looking for an academic position in Greece".
now researching on the field of "executable intentional languages
and intelligent applications of multimedia, hypermedia and