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Research and innovation
News article17 September 2019SofiaDirectorate-General for Research and Innovation2 min read

31st EU Contest for Young Scientists: and the winner is…

This year, the European Union’s top prizes for young scientists were awarded to:

  • Adam Kelly from Ireland for “Optimised Simulation of General Quantum Circuits”;
  • Magnus Quaade Oddershede from Denmark for “The wingtip's influence on the efficiency of airplane wings”;
  • Alex Korocencev and Felix Christian Sewing from Germany for “Hoverboard - a Magnetically Levitated Vehicle”;
  • Leo Li Takemaru and Poojan Pandya from USA for “Investigating the Role of the Novel ESCRT-III Recruiter CCDC11 in HIV Budding: Identifying a Potential Target for Antiviral Therapy”.

The winners receive €7000 for each of the four outstanding projects.

The four second prizes and four third prizes were awarded to projects from Georgia, Spain, Finland, South Korea, Switzerland, Belarus, Austria, Poland. A detailed list is available online. The winners were picked from among 154 promising young scientists aged 14 to 20 from schools in 40 countries, including European schools. Overall, they presented one hundred projects at the 31st edition of the EU Contest for Young Scientists during the last few days in Sofia, Bulgaria in the hope of impressing an international jury. The winners shared a total of €62 000 in prize money, as well as other prizes such as science trips.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:

I warmly congratulate the winners of this year’s contest on their outstanding achievement. I am convinced that we will see many of the 154 participants hitting the headlines in the coming years with breakthrough discoveries and innovations. We need all the bright minds in Europe to change the world!

The winners received their prizes from the Bulgarian Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev, and Signe Ratso, the European Commission's Deputy Director General for Research, Science and Innovation. The jury was chaired by Dr Attila Borics from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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.

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. They also consist of educational 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. The food industry donated three awards and the Bio-based industry also awarded a prize. Other awards were donated by EuChemS, the Bulgarian Mathematics Summer School, the Bulgarian workshop in coding theory award, the International students of history association prize, as well as participation at the Swiss talent Forum and Expo-sciences Luxembourg.  


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 an average of 150 a year.

Female participation in the contest reflects the broader issue of underrepresentation of women in STEM. This year, 43% of the participants were female (66 girls vs. 88 boys).


Publication date
17 September 2019
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation