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Press Release No. 18 | 29 May 2018
Europa-Preis: DFG recognises selected “Jugend forscht” competition winners

Mentoring programme prepares young researchers for European contest in Dublin

Once again, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has presented its Europa-Preis to selected winners of the national “Jugend forscht” competition. One female and five male young researchers received the award in the “Jugend forscht” final in Darmstadt, in addition to their national wins in various categories of the competition. The aim of the DFG's Europa-Preis is to prepare the school students specifically for the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), the European contest for early career researchers held in September in Dublin. They also receive prize money of 1,000 euros.

This year, the DFG’s Europa-Preis was awarded to one individual researcher and two research teams. The three young researchers from Bremen, Marco David (17), Benedikt Stock (19) and Abhik Pal (19), received the award in addition to the “Federal President’s Prize for Extraordinary Work”. According to “Jugend forscht” organizers, the researchers succeeded in demonstrating a highly complex mathematical proof for the first time using a computer. With so-called diophantine equations it is impossible to always have a solution. In 1970, a Russian mathematician proved what in 1900 the maths genius David Hilbert had formulated as one of the most urgent questions in his research area. In particular, the jury praised the depth and conceptual precision with which the young researchers approached the formal verification of the problem.

Anna Fleck (16) and Adrian Fleck (19), from Fulda in Hessen, received the Federal Chancellor's Prize for the most original work, as well as the DFG Europa-Preis for their special joint protector made of starch. This innovative protection can be used, for example, in motorcycling. The two researchers tested it for energy absorption and durability using a procedure they designed themselves. The jury was impressed by the independent and consistent development, from idea to prototype. In addition, they praised the siblings for overcoming setbacks and developing original solutions.

Max von Wolff (18) from Mayen in Rhineland-Palatinate found success as an individual researcher. He received the Europa-Preis, along with the first prize in the research area of physics, for an apparatus that precisely measures the size of raindrops. The drops fall onto a plastic membrane whose vibrations are recorded by sensitive sensors. The values collected are then processed by a computer that classifies the drops by size. In this way, relevant basic information can be collected that can help predict the course of a hurricane, for example. In its statement, the jury highlighted the way in which von Wolff connects fundamental physical considerations, innovative measuring technology and software creation.

The Europa-Preis was presented to the six “Jugend forscht” award winners in Darmstadt by DFG Vice President Professor Dr. Katja Becker. The aim of the prize, created by the DFG in 2010, is to emphasise the importance of internationalisation for a successful research career. Hence, the young researchers will participate in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which will take place this year from 14 to 19 September in Dublin. In the lead-up, they will be tutored by mentors, who will also accompany them to Dublin. The mentors are selected by the DFG from a pool of early career researchers who are supported by the Foundation, in the Emmy Noether Programme, for instance. This has the additional aim of facilitating the development of lasting networks between generations of researchers.

Further Information

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Further information on the Europa-Preis can be found at:

Additional information on the 2018 Jugend forscht prizewinners, available in German, is available at: