This year’s European Union’s top prizes for young scientists were awarded to siblings Adrian Fleck and Anna Amelie Fleck from Germany for “FleckProtec – Body Protection Made From Starch”, Nicolas Fedrigo from Canada for “Improving Spinal Fusions: Redesigning the Pedicle Probe to Prevent Vertebral Breaches”, and Brendon Matusch from Canada for “Development of a Level 2 Autonomous Vehicle Using Convolutional Neural Networks and Reinforcement Learning”. The winning young scientists will receive €7000 for each of the three outstanding projects.
The current BT Young Scientist and Technologist, Simon Meehan, aged 17, has taken home the Expo Sciences Luxembourg prize for his project entitled “Investigation of the antimicrobial effects of both aerial and root parts of selected plants against Staphylococcus aureus.” The prizes were presented to the winners this afternoon in Dublin Castle by Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Wolfgang Burtscher, and Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.
The three second prizes and three third prizes were awarded to projects from France, Estonia, Portugal, Georgia, South Korea, China.
The winners were among 135 young scientists aged between 14 to 20 from 38 countries who competed at the Contest in Dublin, Ireland. The winners shared a total of €57.500 in prize money, as well as other prizes such as science trips.
Speaking at the event, Minister Mitchell O’Connor, said, “I’m delighted to be here at the 30th European Union Contest for Young Scientists being held in Dublin. It is inspirational to see so many young people from across the world engaged and excelling in the STEM subjects and representing their countries with such pride and determination. I feel particularly honoured that Ireland is hosting the EUCYS, especially as we have such a strong track record in the Contest. Initiatives such as this are very important to raise awareness of and engagement with STEM among young people both nationally and globally.
I particularly want to extend my congratulations to Ireland’s representative, Simon Meehan, and commend him on his success here at the Contest. Ireland has exceeded all expectations with the level and standard of our past-participants, and Simon has continued this strong record here today.
Initiatives such as EUCYS are very important to raise awareness of and engagement with STEM among young people. As one of the most highly-regarded international student science competitions, it is a fantastic demonstration of student STEM achievement and a wonderful platform for the future STEM leaders for tomorrow.”
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “I warmly congratulate the winners of this year’s contest on their fantastic achievement. It’s encouraging to see so much talent in these young researchers and innovators. They are Europe’s future – with their ground-breaking discoveries and innovations that are no doubt to come, we will be able to better tackle the great challenges and ensure Europe’s prosperity and well-being.”
Chair of the EUCYS Jury, Professor Tony Fagan, commented; “This year we had an exceptional line up of projects across the 10 categories. All participants demonstrated a high degree of insight and are a credit to their countries. I hope the students who participated in this year’s Contest will continue their research in their respective fields and inspire the next generation of STEM students.”
The EUCYS is an initiative of the European Commission under the Science and Society programme. It is the annual showcase of the best of European student scientific achievement. The 88 projects presented at the EUCYS in Dublin covered a broad spectrum of scientific areas, including biology, physics, chemistry, computing, social sciences, environment, mathematics, materials, engineering and medicine.
Next year, the EU Contest for Young Scientists 2019 will be hosted by Bulgaria.