AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The European Union (EU) Contest for Young Scientists, (hereinafter "the Contest") was established in 1989, to promote the ideals of co-operation and interchange between young scientists. Through the contest the European Commission (EC) supports the process of formal and informal science education in schools and reinforces links between science education and scientific careers. The Contest builds on the efforts made in each participating country to attract young people to careers in science and technology.
The Contest is co-funded under the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development and is part of a broader initiative to reinforce the links between science and society, responsible research and innovation, and to further the emergence of a European Research Area. It is managed by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "the Commission").
Participating countries are:
- Member States of the European Union.
- Countries associated to the 7th Framework Programme (FP7).
- Countries with which the Commission has come to an agreement at government level about their participation in the Contest. These countries must have a bilateral Science and Technology Agreement with the EC.
An updated list of eligible countries will be made available by the European Commission at the beginning of each year.
Special guest status can be extended by decision of the European Commission to allow the participation of contestants from other countries, but these countries must have bilateral Science and Technology agreements with the EC.
Projects and participants from the European Schools are also permitted to participate provided that they have not competed in the national contest of the country where the respective school is located.
Participating and guest countries are each entitled to nominate up to 3 projects involving a total of no more than 6 contestants.
The European Schools are entitled to nominate 1 project involving no more than 3 contestants.
LOCATION AND TIMING
The Contest will be organised each year in a different country. The countries eligible to host the Contest are:
Member States of the European Union
Countries associated to FP7
Countries from Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the New Independent States can also apply to host the Contest but preference will normally be given to a Member State of the European Union or one of the Associated States.
Applications to host the event can only be submitted by the approved National Organisers in eligible participating countries and must be endorsed by the appropriate national government ministry.
The Contest normally takes place at the end of September. It consists of:
- an Exhibition where contestants display their projects;
- Opening Ceremony, Awards Ceremony, Press Conference, and Official Reception.
Contestants will be admitted only if they have:
- won first prize in their national competition; and
- are designated by the Jury of the respective national contest to present their project at the EU Contest in accordance with these rules.
- have not previously participated in the EU Contest, even if the project intended for presentation is different.
Contestants must conform to all of the following age and education requirements:
- be less than 21 years of age on the last day of the month of the EU Contest (September) but more than 14 years of age on the first day of the month of the EU Contest (September);
- have not completed more than one year of higher education studies at the time of the Contest;
- have completed their project before entering university.
Contestants can present individual projects or team projects with not more than three individuals per project team (see article 6). Rules concerning age and education requirements are applicable to all members of a project team.
In case of a team project, all members of the team must be present at the Contest. If one or more members of the team are absent, other than on the grounds of ill health, the Commission will decide, on a case by case basis, whether the remaining team members will be admitted to present the project. Normally the EC would require a letter from the contestant, either giving permission for the project to be included without that contestant, or withdrawing the project from the contest.
Contestants shall be available for interviews at the times stated by the Jury, be prepared to explain their projects to visitors, and join in all the events that are organised.
Contestants shall disclose to interviewing Jury members all material and information sources they have used in carrying out their projects and shall identify individuals or organisations that have supported or guided their work.
Where a project has led to publications, patents, trademarks or similar, the relevant documents must be made available to the Jury. Appropriate steps should be taken before the Contest to protect intellectual property rights, etc.
Where, in the opinion of the Jury, contestants:
a) are estimated to have received undue assistance from experts;
b) have benefited from unduly privileged access to resources;
c) have clearly plagiarised ideas from others without indicating the source;
d) are withholding information about the project or themselves;
e) have not acknowledged the use of certain software,
they will be excluded from the competition by the Commission.
Contestants must behave in a manner that is appropriate to someone representing their country abroad at an international event.
Projects are accepted from all fields of scientific endeavour, including the social and economic sciences.
Projects that in any way are deemed to represent a risk to public health and safety shall however not be accepted at the exhibition. In particular experiments that involve radioactive substances, dangerous equipment, toxic and carcinogenic materials are all excluded from public display.
Projects must respect the prevailing codes of ethics (including experimentation on invertebrates and non-invertebrates) in the country of origin as well as any considerations agreed to at the European or international level.
Projects consist of a written report and suitable material for display in a public exhibition.
Projects submitted must be supported by a written affidavit from the President of the Jury of the national young scientist competition to certify that the project has won first prize in the national competition.
The written project report has five parts:
a) A typewritten presentation (or essay). Hand written presentations are not admissible. The presentation should describe the project. It may be accompanied by original illustrations (graphs, drawings and photographs).
- It may consist of up to a maximum of 10 pages of written text (A4 format; single sided; double spaced and unbound in a minimum character size of 10 point);
- It may be accompanied by up to a further 10 pages of illustrations (A4 format; single sided and unbound);
- No extra materials such as video tapes and diskettes can be accepted as part of the typewritten presentation;
- The presentation can be written in any of the official Community languages.
- Contestants are reminded, however, that the working language of the Jury is English.
b) A one page scientific summary in English containing the most important points of the project (aim of project, materials and methods, observations and conclusions).
c) A clear, concise project title in English for the Contest Catalogue. This may be accompanied, if required, by the full scientific title.
d) The full original scientific title, in the original language.
e) A straightforward description of the project of not more than ten lines in simple English for publication in the Contest Catalogue. Contestants, through their National Organiser, must ensure that this brief project description is readily understandable by the reporting press, other media, and interested members of the wider public.
The Project Display is an essential element of the project for the Jury and public to appreciate the quality of the work. It requires:
a) Project displays to be set up by contestants at the Science Exhibition;
b) Projects to be suitable for public display and conform to the strictest safety requirements;
c) Projects shall be presented on a stand, respecting the dimensions as described in the Contest’s annual application brochure. The display is part of the contestant's project and must exhibit the essential parts of the work. The display may consist of working models, DVDs and other demonstration materials. However, any project display that exceeds the stand dimensions will not be admitted.
d) Exceptions can only be admitted under conditions specified in the Contest’s annual application brochure. The Commission reserves the right to refuse the public display of any material which may present a risk to health and safety or which is judged by the Commission to be otherwise unacceptable for public display.
e) Contestants are expected to conform to the Host country’s electricity supply and should find out about this in advance.
f) No commercial logos will be allowed on the Stands used by the Contestants to display their project.
g) Contestants are responsible for bringing and setting up their own equipment. They should ensure that their equipment is insured or, in the case of hired equipment, check that insurance cover is included. Neither the Commission nor the Host Organiser will accept any responsibility for loss or damage.
THE NATIONAL ORGANISERS
National Organisers represent the body/institution that is responsible for the organisation of the national contest in the respective country.
National Organisers are responsible for submitting projects selected by the respective national Jury and for all subsequent communication with the Commission and the Host Organiser. They ensure that the rules concerning the number of projects per country and the eligibility criteria for their contestants are fully respected.
If, following submission to the Commission, a project is withdrawn, National Organisers shall inform the Commission immediately.
National Organisers must ensure that all applications from their contestants arrive by the specified deadline: the first Tuesday in June of the year concerned. Late entries will not be admitted.
National Organisers should ensure, when their contestants are aged between 14-17 years old, that they are accompanied throughout the duration of the Contest. (See Art. 50)
National Organisers may delegate the responsibility to accompany contestants under 18 years old (see article 29) to an escort. The escort shall not be less than 21 years old. His or her duties shall be the same as those of the responsible National Organiser.
In the case where contestants are under 18 years old, National Organisers shall arrange for contestants to travel as a group and under supervision, both from and back to their country of origin.
National Organisers must select one international train station or airport from which their contestants will depart and return to their country. The departure point shall be chosen so that it will provide the easiest and most convenient direct routing to the Contest venue.
National Organisers or escort(s) assigned by them constitute together with their contestants the respective country’s official delegation and are the only ones that can enjoy access to all public and private events associated with the Contest.
National Organisers shall, through their organisation, meet the costs of any travel to and from the point of international departure in the given country, from where the respective delegation travels to the Contest.
National Organisers shall keep their contestants informed as to the travel arrangements, on the basis of information to be provided by the Host Organiser of the Contest.
National Organisers shall advise their contestants about all the travel documentation that may be required and shall request the assistance of the Commission at the time of the deadline for applications if such assistance is needed.
National Organisers undertake:
a) to deal with any import/export procedures that may be required for material that is needed for the display of their projects;
b) to ensure that all display material arrives on time for the Contest and that it is duly exported back to their own country at the end of the Contest;
c) to cover all expenses related to the transport of any extra material that may be needed for the display of projects;
d) to send to the Commission, as soon as possible after the Contest, details of any media coverage that their contestants have received.
National Organisers assume responsibility for the well-being and behaviour of their delegation. This requires them:
a) to ensure that their delegation travels with adequate health, accident and travel insurance that covers them for the travel and the duration of the Contest;
b) to handle any linguistic or other problems that may arise during the Contest or in relation to associated activities;
c) to ensure that they have their own measures in place to assure their delegation’s behaviour remains beyond reproach.
Where there are grounds to believe that a National Organiser or its nominated escort is failing in their duties in respect of the Contest, the Commission reserves the right to inform the appropriate authorities and ask for remedial action. If no satisfactory solution is then forthcoming, the Commission may cancel its association with the body in question and ask the country concerned to review arrangements at national level.
The National Organisers must ensure that only one team is entered into the contest per subject discipline for any country thus guaranteeing the legitimacy of the contest as an event where only first prize winners compete against each other. If any NO is found to have entered 2 teams from the same subject discipline, one of the teams will be eliminated or moved to another discipline.
THE HOST ORGANISER
The Host Organiser, in association with the Commission, selects the venue for the Contest where all projects can be displayed in an equitable fashion.
The Host Organiser takes care of local sponsoring, which is expected to cover at least 25 % of the total budget.
The Host Organiser draws up with the Commission the Contest programme and arranges for the event to be open and attractive to members of the public, such as schools, teachers, the media, etc. In doing so, the Host Organiser takes the necessary precautions to ensure that the work of the Jury will not be impeded. Thus, the Host Organiser will make sure that nobody else but the members of the EU Contest Jury and European Commission staff are present during the interviewing. National Organisers and Escorts will be asked to leave during interviews.
The Host Organiser’s responsibilities include:
a) Setting up a local web site that will be used solely for the contest.
b) Preparation of the Application forms in conjunction with the EC.
c) Printing and distribution of all Contest literature (catalogue, prize certificates, posters etc.).
d) Travel arrangements for all official parties as identified during the negotiation of the grant agreement (article 48) whose expenses will be covered by the European Commission.
e) Accommodation arrangements for all official parties as identified during the negotiation of the grant agreement (article 48).
f) The provision of suitable rooms at the venue for the Jury, Commission staff, Press and National Organisers/Escorts.
g) The briefing of the host country’s media about the Contest.
h) The payment of prize money into bank accounts of contestant, their parents or guardians within 45 days after the event.
i) Paying the Jury within 45 days of the event.
The Host Organiser shall appoint at least 20 local student helpers to assist with the Contest or care for similar arrangements. In selecting student helpers, the age and experience of candidates will be taken into consideration.
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Under its overall policy and managerial responsibilities referred to in Article 2 above, the Commission will work towards the future development of the Contest and the promotion of youth science.
The Commission will call an annual meeting of National Organisers, during the contest, to discuss with them issues of general importance or practical matters in relation to the Contest.
The Commission will convene an annual Steering Group meeting comprising past, present and future contest hosts to discuss important matters relating to past, present and future contests.
Under the rules of the respective research programme, the European Commission will provide the essential funding for the organisation of the Contest. To this end the Commission will sign a grant agreement with the Host Organiser.
On the basis of the grant agreement with the Host Organiser the Commission shall cover the following expenses:
- The renting of the venue for the Science exhibition including suitable rooms for the Jury, Commission staff, Press and National Organisers/ Escorts.
- Production of printed material.
- Travel and accommodation expenses of contestants as specified in Article 6.
- Travel and accommodation expenses of one adult escorting person per country (either the national organiser or a nominated escort).
- The costs will be granted when the contestants to be accompanied are aged 18 or over) travel and accommodation expenses of Official parties if agreed during negotiation of the grant agreement.
- Prizes and awards.
- Facilities for the Commission, Host Organiser and Jury.
- Conception, assembly and dismantling of the stands for contestants including electrical connections, etc.
- Further expenses related to organisational arrangements such as student helpers, souvenirs, badges, etc.
The Commission may decide to cover other expenses insofar as they contribute to the quality of the organisation of the event or to its media impact.
Under the grant agreement mentioned in Article 47 the Commission will not accept to cover expenses incurred by any of the participants that are not referred to in Articles 48 and 49.
The Jury is composed of scientists from the different participating countries and covers the broadest spectrum of scientific disciplines. Jury members carry out their duties as individuals and not as representatives of an institution or country. Their ways of working are laid down in separate rules and regulations which are assimilated to those of other Commission evaluation panels.
Following the evaluation of all competing projects the Jury shall select outstanding projects to receive prizes. The decision of the Jury is final.
Prizes can take the form of monetary awards or non-monetary awards. The level and description of prizes will be publicised by the European Commission well in advance before every Contest.
Monetary prizes will be paid into the bank account of the contestant/prize winner(s) or by cheque. Where a prize-winner has no bank account, the Commission will only authorise payment into the bank account of the contestants’ parents or guardians.
Guest entries will not be eligible for the EU Contest main prizes, but might be eligible for special prizes (the conditions of which will be made known at the time of the contest); all entries will, however, be evaluated and publicly commented upon by the Jury.
An international prize to the value of €5000 may be awarded by the Jury to the best project submitted by a Guest Country.