You are here at the 24th European Union Contest for Young Scientists because you have won national science competitions and are representing your countries. Congratulations, this is a wonderful achievement and you should be very proud!
Every year the contest moves to a city in a different host country and this year it is the turn of Slovakia in Bratislava. You will be in excellent hands and I’m sure that you will have a most memorable experience and hopefully make new friends and lasting contacts.
The economies of European countries are currently under great strain. Governments across Europe are being forced to scrutinise every aspect of expenditure to reduce their debt. Fortunately, Europe’s leaders are committed to doing everything they can to make sure that investment in research and innovation is protected as far as possible from cuts. This is because research and innovation are essential to generate the new growth and jobs that will lead to economic recovery. As the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science it is my job to ensure that scientific research and innovation stay at the top of the European political agenda.
In a sense, therefore, the economic crisis has really highlighted the importance of research and innovation for the future of Europe. Not only does research lead to new innovative products and services, it is also essential for addressing the key challenges that face us today. For example, we need to find ways of combatting climate change and reducing the carbon footprint of our energy sources. We need to do more to protect the environment and find ways of using our natural resources sustainably. And we need more research on better medicine and treatments especially for debilitating illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease which is affecting more and more people in later life.
DEAR PARTICIPANTS OF THE EUCYS
Education is one of basic preconditions for growth of each country, and Slovakia realizes that it may not stand aside in this way; on the contrary, we must endeavor to keep pace with other countries of Europe and worldwide, we must support education and scientific activity of young people. That is also one of the reasons why I am glad that the Contest for Young Scientists takes place in the Slovak Republic this year.
I consider it to be a great opportunity to exchange experience and compare the level of single European countries in this area. I believe that such positive confrontation of young scientists is of major importance for the future of the European science, creating conditions for the future growth of the European Union.
Let me greet all participants of this interesting and beneficial contest, and wish a pleasant and enriching stay in Slovakia to all foreign participants. I believe that you will absorb a lot of new inspiration in our capital. I will keep my fingers crossed for you to be successful in the Contest, and I wish you, young European scientists, to be successful in your future scientific work in favor of all of us.
There is no greater wealth for a country than wise, well informed and well educated young people. The competiveness of modern economy and the well being of the society depends directly on scientific and technological progress which in turn depends on the quality of the country’s human potential. In the Slovak Republic, just like in other European Union member states, the number of people graduating from higher educational institutions is growing. Knowledge alone, however, is not enough. If not applied to serve the purpose of developing the community, it remains a pile of data that has no effect. Recasting knowledge into wisdom and using such wisdom to make innovations for the progress of human civilizations are the imperatives of the twenty-first century. This is also the case of the young people who, due to their unconventional thinking and enthusiasm, often manage to build up the acquired knowledge in a non-traditional manner, creatively seeking the most unexpected solutions. This has been proved also by the experience and history of over twenty years of the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).
In this field, education, research and science play the essential role. Only excellent secondary schools and institutions of higher education afford the opportunities to get first rate education or to identify talents that will later lead the young people to amazing discoveries. Out of about one hundred thousand secondary school students in Slovakia, approximately just one percent is willing to build-up their outstanding abilities in various branches of science and research. We have almost two hundred top scientists and researchers of international reputation, and among them there are many young people eager to find new medication, to assist in sending probes to explore other planets, to study the quantum world, or write our history. Slovak researchers were the first in the world to discover a gene and a protein serving today to detect malignant tumours. Approximately 40 percent of our scientists and researchers fall in the age category of 46 to 64 years. Although this number is not far from the European average, we do realize it is necessary to enhance the attractiveness of careers in science for the young people, and clarify for them the mission of science in dealing with the greatest challenges of our present time.
Research and development are the most important factors of further advancement of Slovakia also at the time of financial and economic crises. To be able to deal with the crises, we need highly educated people. But it is not only in this country that their absence is truly felt. By 2012, the European Union will need another million of research workers. Therefore, some effort is made to improve the mutual information and communication of research and scientific institutions in the European Union, along with Slovakia continuing to participate in the Commission Programme Horizon 2012.
This June, the Youth Policy Action Plan 2012 – 2013 was adopted in Slovakia. Its main points are to connect education with the job market situation, to promote young people’s mobility, and to create the conditions for the implementation of development programmes and projects in the field of education. Another objective is to support vocational and career counselling in schools, and to develop cooperation of the institutions operating in this field. We are providing for the continuation and promotion of the programs aimed at the starting-up entrepreneurial activities, such as „Student Business of the Year” or „Young Innovative Entrepreneur”.
A number of promising, talented young Slovaks choosing careers in science headed also for the universities and research institutions outside Slovakia. Scientific activity truly has no national borders. Clearly just the strong international teams of scientists can make new discoveries and bring new solutions for the well-being of the entire humankind. Also thank to the new strategic instrument prepared by the European Commission called ESFRI (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures). The basic research should not be dispersed into national laboratories in which it is often conducted in duplicity. Young people should be prepared for scientific activities in large scientific networks. Primarily, they need to be able to communicate efficiently in multicultural environment, to be open to the ideas of others, to tolerate other procedures and forms of behaviour, and to link up with the others to achieve the common goal.
For these reasons I do welcome the opportunity for the talented and capable young people to join international scientific projects, educational activities and contests. And I consider the 24th EU Contest for the Young Scientists – EUCYS 2012 - to be one of such projects. The Slovak Republic would like to follow up with the previous EUCYS events at which several contestants from Slovakia won significant awards. This is a very prestigious event and a great commitment for Bratislava. We do wish to show that the Slovak Republic, although a country smaller in size, is able to organize a contest of young scientists at a superior international level and to prepare a creative, open-minded atmosphere typical for scientific activities. It would be a great pleasure for me if you, the future world scientists, will remember the beginnings of your scientific careers, including also Slovakia and the 24th EUCYS, I do believe, right here in Bratislava, in the environment of hospitability and friendship, you will make and build new friendships that may grow into the future world-famous teams of scientists. I am confident this goal will be successfully achieved. Welcome to Slovakia!
WELCOME TO BRATISLAVA!
As Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic it is a pleasure for me to welcome so many talented young people, contestants, jury members, officials and all of the participants to the 24th European Union Contest for Young Scientists in the Bratislava, Slovakia. This 24th Contest is an excellent opportunity for the young people from all over the world to meet and to exchange ideas and experiences in all different fields of science and share the challenges that science and our societies are facing today.
Science and technology are one of the cornerstones of a successful development of the knowledge society. One of the priorities of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic is primarily to attract young people about the options for their future careers in science and technology. Lack of qualified human resources in science and technology is one of the main problems of several European Union countries. Trend aging of experts in R&D is alarming therefor ensuring the continuity of human recourses is one of the major challenge in these days. The EU Contest for Young Scientists contributes strongly to this goal by motivating students to pursue their interests in science and technology. I would like to thank all those of you who have made the 24th European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Bratislava possible with your huge efforts. I hope, you will enjoy your stay in Slovakia and I wish all participants the best of luck and an unforgettable competition.
I am very glad to be part of a project that develops the relationship of youth to science. I am more than happy that many talented scientists achieve valuable results right at our institutions. Much has been written and said about the young scientists working abroad where they bring credit to Slovak science. Nevertheless, many talented young researchers remain in Slovakia and achieve top level results that are without any doubt comparable and sometimes even better than those from abroad. These results can be successfully transferred into practice. Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS) is able to provide genuine help to the domestic industry to be competitive not only in Europe.
Attracting secondary school students to science and technology is motivating. Slovak Academy of Sciences wants to help in searching for those talented students. A suitable form to achieve that is trough creation of environment of professional guidance for students who work on their research projects.
A long-term goal of SAS is to educate, promote and support top scientists with the aim that, after having finished their studies, they will preferentially continue to work here, in Slovakia.
For us, science is not just a work, but a life-long mission.
DEAR YOUNG SCIENTISTS
Firstly, congratulations to all participants in the Finals of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. You have all proven yourselves well on the way towards being the best of the best. All of you have done your utmost to become leaders of the young scientific generation in your countries.
At Volkswagen Slovakia we place intense emphasis on education and training. Our company fully understands how necessary it is to support young scientists and their need for practical experience. We created the IngA – Engineer in automotive industry project in which more than 2 500 students have already participated and together with the Engineering Faculty of the Slovak Technical University we introduced a new Automobile Production study program.
Young generations of technicians are crucial to us. Volkswagen Slovakia is the only car factory in the world to produce five brands of cars under one roof and we deliver them to customers in 148 countries worldwide. We use the most modern and ecological technologies for the production of hi-tech cars. With a view to the future, young people with a love for science and technology are very important for us.
Technology and science play a dominant part in our world. No day passes without our being in contact with technology. If we want to progress, we will need young people like you. Passionate for science. Looking into the future. Reaching for goals. Being part of the age of science and technology, you are the next generations to create the future of mankind.
I wish you good luck on your chosen path of science and technology and I hope you will enjoy your stay in the heart of Europe, Bratislava.
WELCOME TO EUCYS 2012, BRATISLAVA!
It is a great pleasure that the Young Scientists of Slovakia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, is hosting the 24th Edition of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists – EUCYS 2012 in Bratislava.
The Young Scientists of Slovakia is pleased to join the contest that brings together 123 young scientists from 36 countries, promoting the ideas of cooperation, friendship and the exchange of knowledge and experience, as well as increasing the interest of gifted young people about science and science education.
The 24th Edition of EUCYS presents 83 high quality scientific projects, which were selected from more than 50 000 projects judged at the national level. The 24th Edition of EUCYS presents a reach scientific and educational programme. It is the first time in the history of EUCYS that two high quality scientific and educational parallel programs are being carried out – the Intel Educator Academy in cooperation with Intel Corporation, USA, and the Scientix/inGenius workshop in cooperation with European Schoolnet. Moreover, we have prepared an interesting exposition dealing with the popularisation of science particularly for school groups from Slovakia as well as neighbouring countries. The exposition is inside the contest venue, and represents an opportunity for contestants and visitors to debate projects as well as the contestants’ motivation to realize the scientific projects.
This year’s EUCYS in Bratislava is the result of the best example of effective cooperation with all the partners - European Commission, EIROforum, Joint Research Centre, European Patent Office, and our partners in Slovakia – Volkswagen Slovakia, Incheba Expo Bratislava, Ekofond SPP, Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information, and other partners and sponsors. I express my sincere thanks to all our partners!
This year’s EUCYS marks collaboration, networking, gaining experience, and friendship. I hope that you all enjoy your stay in beautiful Bratislava. To all participants of EUCYS 2012, best wishes for a memorable competition.