Aims and objectives

The European Union (EU) Contest for Young Scientists, an initiative of the European Commission, was set up to promote the ideals of co-operation and interchange between young scientists. The Contest is the annual showcase of the best of European student scientific achievement and as such attracts widespread media interest. The EU Contest gives students the opportunity to compete with the best of their contemporaries at European level. The young scientists also have the chance to meet others with similar abilities and interests and to be guided by some of the most prominent scientists in Europe. In this way, the Commission seeks to strengthen the efforts made in each participating country to attract young people to careers in science and technology. Only projects which have won a top prize at a national young scientist competition, can participate in the EU Contest. Thus, it represents the ultimate goal for more than 30,000 young scientists who compete annually in their national contests.

The Contest is part of the EU's Improving Human Potential (IHP) Programme (1998-2002), the successor to the Training and Mobility of Researchers (TMR) Programme. Within the European Commission, the IHP Programme is managed by the Directorate-General for Science, Research and Development.


Development of the EU Contest

The EU Contest is the successor to the Philips contest, which ran from1968-88 and brought together the winners from National Contests. The then President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, was approached in 1987 about the European Commission taking on the running of the Contest. After consulting with the competent bodies and Committees, the Commission decided to support the Contest.

The 1st EU Contest Finals took place in Brussels in 1989. Since then, the event has been hosted in Copenhagen, Zurich, Seville, Berlin, Luxembourg, Newcastle upon Tyne, Helsinki, Milan, Porto, Thessaloniki, Amsterdam, Bergen, Vienna.

Under the management of the Commission a number of important developments have occurred. In 1992, at the 4th EU Contest for Young Scientists in Seville, contestants from Hungary were invited to attend. In the following years the Contest has welcomed contestants from Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and the Ukraine. After the 6th EU Contest took place in Luxembourg in 1994 it was decided that contestants from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe should enter the Contest as "full contestants" in their own right and be eligible for prizes in exactly the same way as the other contestants. At last year's Contest in Bergen Belarus, Estonia, and Turkey were represented and will compete at the 14th EU Contest in Austria.

Regulation / Participation

Only young people born between 01.01.1983 and 20.09.1988 (dates for 2003 Contest, to be adapted each year) who have been designated by their respective national jury can participate in the EU Contest. In each coutry, the National Organizer is responsible for nominating the projects, and therefore the contestants, which are entered for the EU Contest.

Projects may have been worked upon by individual participants or by teams of not more than three people. Contestants had to complete their project before entering university. The rules concerning age and education requirements are applicable to all members of a project team.

Where a team is involved all members of the team must be represented at the Contest so the Jury can conduct a thorough evaluation of their combined efforts.