The EU Archimedes prize: Supporting the next generation of scientists

The EU Archimedes Prize – the EU’s science prize for undergraduate students – was awarded today, December 5, in Munich to 20 projects carried out by young European scientists. The winners come from Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The EU Archimedes Prize gives public recognition to the research achievements of Europe’s undergraduates and aims to stimulate the interest of young people in science and research. Laureates receive monetary awards of between EUR44,000 and EUR34,000 which are to be used to help kick-start their scientific careers.

Launched by the European Commission in 2000, the EU Archimedes Prize promotes research amongst university or higher-education students in Europe, bridging the gap between the EU Young Scientists Contest for secondary school students and the Descartes Prize for senior researchers (see webpages). Prizes are awarded to the students who come up with the best original scientific idea or concept related to Certain interdisciplinary themes. A jury of high-level personalities from academic, industry and public life selected the winning projects.

From wheel chairs to novel drugs – students prove their impact… This year’s ceremony, celebrated in the European Patent Office (EPO), Munich, brought together the prizewinners from 2001 and 2002. The projects awarded focus on research such as wheelchair route planning and safety devices, work on the development of a prototype prosthetic hand, research on the conversion of solar energy into storable chemical energy and the use of wasp toxins for the development of novel drugs for the treatment of neurological disorders. Other winning projects deal, for example, with climate change, medicine, mathematics or tourism and all of them have tangible applications (see annex).

… and the winners are … The awards were given to 25 undergraduates, participating in the 20 winning projects. Placed under the theme of intellectual property, the ceremony was held in the presence of Mr. Otto Wiesheu, Bavarian Minister for Economy, Transport and Technology, Mr. Rainer Gerold, Director of the Science and Society Directorate of the European Commission and Mr. Pantelis Kyriakides, Vice-President of EPO. Coinciding with the awards for the EU’s Descartes Prize, the ceremony also provided the young students with the opportunity to exchange ideas with experienced scientists working at the cutting-edge of their respective fields of research and to discuss questions of intellectual property.

Commenting on the awards, Mr Rainer Gerold drew attention to the practical nature of the projects, in line with the themes set each year by the Commission: „The projects rewarded have focused on topics benefiting society and applicable to everyday life.“ He also highlighted the participation of many young scientists from the Candidate Countries in the projects received and amongst the winning proposals.

The Archimedes prize rewards the best scientific projects in accordance to a number of selected themes that were published by the European Commission. In a two-stage selection process a jury of high-level personalities selected the projects on the basis of scientific merit and its European added value.

For further media information concerning the Archimedes Prize and projects:
Georges Vlandas, Research DG, Directorate C – Science and Society, European Commission
Tel: +32.2.296.55.40, Fax: +32.2.296.70.24 –
E-mail: georges.vlandas@cec.eu.int
Manuel Carmona, Research DG, Directorate C – Science and Society, European Commission
Tel: +32 2 295 12 56 – Fax: +32 2 296 70 24 –
E-mail: manuel.carmona-yebra@cec.eu.int

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