Press Release No. 38 | September 27, 2013

Young German Researchers Honoured at European Level

Three Winners of DFG Europa-Preis Honoured in Prague / Mentoring Programme in Preparation for the European Union Contest for Young Scientists

Success in Prague: Recipients of the Europa-Preis awarded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) are once again among the winners of the 2013 European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), an event which ran from 20 - 25 September. The three young men are also previous winners in Germany's national "Jugend forscht" competition.

The youngest German prizewinner in Prague was 15-year-old Lennart Kleinwort from Zell near Würzburg, who had received the German President's Award for Outstanding Work in the national competition. At EUCYS he was awarded one of the second prizes, worth €5,000, for his FreeGeo software, which allows geometric figures to be represented and modified on a smartphone or tablet. The "Jugend forscht" winner in physics, 18-year-old Daniel Pflüger from Lüneburg, received one of the third prizes, worth €3,500. He used lasers and digital cameras to look at the complex development of waves which arise when a drop falls onto the surface of water. A special award was given to 18-year-old Michael Laue from Muldestausee. The national winner in chemistry developed a way of making conductive carbon layers by means of the chemical conversion of graphene oxide. His EUCYS prize is a week-long research visit to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble.

The first prizes at the 25th EUCYS went to a young Brit (for the construction of a home genetics lab), a Finn (for the construction of a musical teaching clock called 'Music A'Clock') and three Irish girls, who studied the effects of bacteria on plant germination. Many awards also went to young scientists in eastern Europe.

In June 2013 the three young German researchers were presented with the DFG's Europa-Preis at the "Jugend forscht" awards in Leverkusen, which enabled them to prepare for the contest at European level. The purpose of the Europa-Preis is to highlight how important early networking and internationalisation can be in a research career. The prize has been awarded annually by the DFG since 2010 and consists of prize money of €1,000 and mentoring. As part of the mentoring programme the DFG puts the winners in contact with established and respected academics in the relevant subject area. Michael Laue, for example, was given the opportunity to discuss chemistry with Dr. Benjamin Scott Flavel from the Institute of Nanotechnology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Daniel Pflüger received support from Professor Markus Drescher from the Institute of Experimental Physics at the University of Hamburg, while Lennart Kleinwort discussed his project with Professor Alexander Wolff, an IT expert from the University of Würzburg.