Press Release No. 19 | May 31, 2021

Europa Prize DFG Presents Awards to Selected Jugend forscht Winners

Mentoring award prepares young researchers for European competition round in Salamanca/Spain

Mentoring award prepares young researchers for European competition round in Salamanca/Spain

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has awarded its Europa Prize to selected winners of the national Jugend forscht competition. Four young researchers recently received the award at the virtual Jugend forscht finals in Heilbronn in various competition categories, in addition to their national prize. The focus of the DFG Europa Prize is on preparing the winners for the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) in Salamanca in September. No Europa Prize 2020 was awarded because of the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide youth research competition Jugend forscht likewise had to be cancelled.

This year the DFG Europa Prize goes to two research teams and one individual researcher.

Two young researchers from Baden-Württemberg, Leonard Münchenbach (17) and Leo Neff (17), received the Europa Prize in addition to their national prize in the field of physics. They carried out investigations and modelling to look into how fast differently shaped strips of paper of a certain shape and size rotate when they fall, for which they developed a formula. They managed to do this by using a specially developed experimental set-up including a confetti cannon they built themselves.

In the field of earth and space science, Lukas Weghs (17) from North Rhine-Westphalia impressed the juries of both Jugend forscht and the Europa Prize. Weghs wrote an intelligent programme for a high-performance computer that helps identify the moons of exoplanets based on their brightness variations – something astronomers have not yet succeeded in doing for any of the approximately 4,000 known exoplanets.

Another individual researcher who achieved success in the Europa Prize awards was Marik Müller (17) from Brandenburg who carried out research in the field of biology. Based on the methods of molecular biology, he developed an inexpensive procedure to cleave the antibiotic florfenicol, which promotes the development of resistant germs, before it is released into the environment. Florfenicol is widely used in aquaculture and agriculture.

The DFG’s Europa Prize was “presented” at a virtual event to the four Jugend forscht winners by DFG Vice President Professor Dr. Kerstin Schill, with each team/individual researcher receiving €1,000.

The DFG established the prize in 2010 with the aim of highlighting the importance of internationalisation for a successful research career. For this reason, the young researchers will enter the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which this year is due to be held virtually from 16 to 19 September in Salamanca. In preparation, they will receive supervision and support from mentors. The latter are selected by the DFG from among the early-career researchers it provides funding for, such as those financed under the Emmy Noether Programme. Another aim here is to promote lasting links among the different generations of researchers.

Further Information

Media contact:

  • DFG Press and Public Relations
    Tel. +49 228 885-2109

Further information on the 2021 prizewinners will soon be available on the DFG’s Europa Prize web page:

For details of this year’s Jugend forscht winners, see: