Today, the European Union’s top prizes for young scientists were announced during the award ceremony in the University of Salamanca in Spain, following a two-day hybrid competition among 158 promising young scientists aged 14 to 20, coming from 34 countries.
The first prize winning projects that receive €7000 each are:
- Viktor Stilianov Kolev from Bulgaria, for his project ‘Neural Abstract Reasoner’.
- Marik Müller from Germany, for his research into Enzymatic inactivation of the veterinary antibiotic Florfenicol.
- Carla Caro Villanova from Spain, for her work on a support vector machine on D-Wave's quantum annealer.
- Illia Nalyvaiko from Ukraine, for his exploration of properties of possible counterexamples to the Seymour's Second Neighbourhood Conjecture.
- Cormac Thomas Harris and Alan Thomas O’Sullivan from Ireland, for their statistical investigation into gender stereotyping in 5-7 year olds.
- Feridun Balaban from Turkey, for his research on multi-junction solar cells.
The second and third prizes went to projects from Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechia, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Turkey. A detailed list of all winners is available online. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event brought together contestants from 2020 and 2021.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
Congratulations to all winners of this year’s contest on their outstanding achievement. The last year has shown us the importance of excellent research and innovation in overcoming crises that affect all of us. This competition celebrates a new generation of talents whose discoveries and innovations will be essential to shape the future we want to live in. I'm really proud of our youth's exceptional work.
The students presented 114 different projects to an international jury of renowned scientists, chaired by Dr Attila Borics from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The winning projects shared a total of €93 000 in prize money, as well as other prizes such as visits to some of the most innovative research organisations and companies in Europe.
The recovery from the pandemic and the green and digital transitions have further increased the need for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills in Europe. The contest seeks to promote young people to study STEM and pursue a career in science.
Due to COVID-19 safety measures, students participated remotely from their homes. A special virtual venue was setup where they could present their projects and debate with each other and the jury. The two-day event also featured a talk by Dr William D. Phillips, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1997 and a roundtable discussion with recognised scientists on challenges that young scientists are facing today.
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 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, 37% of the participants were young women. Next year’s event will be organised in Leiden in the Netherlands, which will be the European City of Science in 2022.
- Publication date
- 19 September 2021
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation