Dear Young Scientists,
Welcome to the 32nd edition of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists and our first ever virtual EUCYS! You are here because you won first prize in your national science competition and are now representing your countries at this prestigious competition. This is a fantastic achievement and you should be very proud! Congratulations!
I am so sorry that you are unable to travel to Spain to meet your peers and the jury, to compete in person and to visit the beautiful city of Salamanca. Your safety is our first concern and in view of the evolving COVID-19 situation across Europe, the difficult decision was taken to move the contest on-line for this year. I am very grateful to our Spanish hosts who worked very hard to make this happen.
The Corona virus has dominated our lives since early 2020. Europe came to a standstill; workers moved home to work and homes became classrooms for students. The world became very small again; planes stopped flying and airports stood still. However, thanks to evolving technology we continued to work and to communicate with our zooms, our webinars and our on-line conferences.
I have been greatly impressed with the work of our health services and scientists during the past year. They faced huge challenges with this worldwide pandemic, but within a year had come up with vaccines to make us all safe again. If the last year taught us anything, it taught us the importance of investing in education, science, technology and innovation.
EUCYS is about growing your talents. It is about encouraging you and helping you pursue careers in science, research and innovation. Incredible things happen when great minds meet. To solve the great challenges of our time we need more scientists and innovators in Europe. You are our future scientists and innovators and you are the reason why the European Union invests millions of euros in young scientists and science education through its Horizon Europe research and innovation programmes and the ERASMUS programme.
I wish you well in your pursuit of science, and I hope that participating in the contest will encourage you to go on to achieve even greater things!
I am sure this year’s EUCYS will be a memorable one!
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth
Dear Young Scientists,
The University of Salamanca welcomes you to this event being held in this university city par excellence, a place that is both welcoming and youthful. With more than 800 years at the service of education and research.
It is an honour for me and for the institution I represent that the city of Salamanca is hosting the European Union Contest of Young Scientists (EUCYS), the most relevant event of its kind in Europe. It is an interesting initiative promoted by the European Commission that unites young people like yourselves with the aim to exchange scientific knowledge.
The current pandemic has highlighted the importance of science as a key component in tackling the major challenges facing humanity. It is you, the young researchers, who must take the lead in the pursuit of new advances in research, as well as the design of innovative strategies for the future. In this sense, for the University of Salamanca, research is a strategic issue. We believe that universities should facilitate the development of the capacities of young people in the field of science.
I invite you to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to meet other young people with similar interests and skills, and to obtain advice and guidance from leading European scientists.
Rector of the University of Salamanca
Dear Young Scientists,
Science is the most noble of human activities. Science is the source of our capacity to generate wealth and well-being for people at large. It is our shield against illness and catastrophes. It is also what broadens our horizons of discovery in every domain, and so it is intertwined with creativity in all its expressions, including art, music, and literature.
Furthermore, science stands firm against ignorance, superstition, and the assault on reason so dominant in the fake news of the social media. So being, it is the best antidote we have against manipulation of minds by would be tyrants and demagogues. Advancement of science is crucial to foster the positive side of humanity against the demons of destruction that inhabit us. This is why science and ethics are necessary companions in the endless search for our enlightenment.
Youth is the age of discovery and creativity, it is the moment in the life cycle when we feel everything is possible, for us and for the world. And it is. It suffices to translate all this young energy in the betterment of our lives. Using, as a paramount tool our scientific capacity to understand and act upon this understanding. This is why, I truly believe, that there is nothing more exhilarating than being a young scientist precisely at a time when knowledge advances by a quantum leap and when pandemics, and human induced catastrophes loom in the horizon. Yet, the difficulties of the task are enormous and you will need all your enthusiasm and determination, but also patience to be learned, in the pursuit of this noble endeavour. Institutions in all countries usually speak high of science but do not follow up in terms of their budgetary priorities.
Dark forces of domination need to subdue science to keep people ignoring the true state of their lives. Bureaucracies, including scientific bureaucracies, often resist innovation, thus stalling the attempt by young scientists to shift the paradigm of knowledge in each field. In fact we know that the relentless critique of established beliefs is the very essence of science.
But you are young, and you are scientists, and if you really believe in what you do and want to do, nothing and no one can stop you. For the benefit of all of us. Wishing you good luck is wishing luck to all of us, humans, as a last hope to overcome our sorry state.
Professor Manuel Castells
Minister of Universities, Government of Spain
Dear Young Scientists,
Representing a country is a great responsibility but also the utmost honour a person can hold. You are the winners of your respective countries and are assembled here, at the 32nd edition of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, to compete in this European Scientific Olympic Competition to try and get on the podium of Science.
This year ́s contest comes in a particular difficult but challenging period. We are still suffering the havoc provoked by the pandemic, and we feel knocked out. But as in the boxing ring, we still have the strength to recover, to stand up and continue the fight, because we are resilient and we want to live surrounded by our family, friends and colleagues.
You are our most precious hope. In you we trust, because your youth, your hard work and your endeavours will help us win this race against disease. The future of the world is in your hands, in your brains and in your hearts. Science should constitute the beacon of society, and Europe is ready to launch a far reaching and shining beam. Your projects and ideas are the fuel that will feed the stream of light. You are a paradigm of strength, enthusiasm and hard work.
In Castilla y León we are privileged of having been selected as hosts of this event.
“Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together” reads the motto of this year ́s Olympic Games. “Better, wiser, tougher- all committed with humanity” can read the motto of this European Scientific Olympic Competition that will take place in the city of Salamanca. You represent your countries, and Europe has placed all her hopes in you, therefore, ready, steady, go.
Rocío Lucas Navas
Regional Minister of Education, Junta de Castilla y León.
Dear Young Scientists,
Salamanca is deeply proud to welcome you, even despite the distance. There are few cities like ours with such a long and established link regarding knowledge, discussion of ideas and research, all of them strongly related with our daily life.
Since the so called School of Salamanca, origin of Human Rights, source of people’s sovereignty and starting point of modern economic theory, to our University, eight centuries old and a worldly teaching reference, including our research centers, our city is a constant laboratory of thinking and analysis.
The Municipality of Salamanca is deeply concerned with science and research. In fact, we are the first Spanish local government which has a specific program aimed at the promotion, protection and fostering of talented young scientists.
Thanks to this program, we promote both secondary and university students with scholarships, as well as we allow promising researchers working abroad to be able to return to Salamanca so as to continue with their academic formation, fostering their own researching teams and develop highly innovative projects that may improve the city’s life quality.
I’m deeply convinced that this meeting will be greatly useful in order to give a higher visibility in Europe to our strong and deep bond with research that, no doubt, will be strongly reinforced.
Carlos García Carbayo
Mayor of Salamanca.
Dear Young Scientists,
Welcome and congratulations. Having reached the final stage of this European contest is already a reason for celebration. But, most of all, it must be an incentive to continue innovating and getting ready for the challenges of tomorrow, always with the target of improving the quality of life in our communities.
In addition, this competition is hosted by the University of Salamanca, the oldest in Spain and one of the three oldest in Europe. Over more than 800 years of history, this university has maintained its position among the most prestigious globally thanks to its openness and innovative spirt, so there wouldn’t be a better educational institution for a competition like this.
At Iberdrola, one of the largest utilities worldwide and the largest renewable player globally, we firmly believe that new generations are the driving force for transformation. For instance, your enthusiasm has been essential to convince the world of the relevance to fight climate change. Without your inspiration, the Paris Agreement would never have been reached and we would not have more and more movements calling for action and urgent solutions all around the globe and, very specially, in the European Union, which continues to lead the way to decarbonization.
For these reasons, it is an honor for Iberdrola to support this European Competition that over the years has become the best stage for the most promising research students to present their scientific achievements and share innovative ideas and proposals.
And we do it as part of our global university program ‘Iberdrola U’, which includes collaborations with prestigious centers such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University, in United States; the University of Strathclyde, in Scotland; the Technology Institute of Monterrey, in Mexico; the University of Pernambuco, in Brazil; the Hamad Bin Khalifa University, in Qatar; and, in Spain, Comillas Pontifical University and the University of Salamanca.
‘Iberdrola U’ connects close to 300,000 students in different fields related to the energy transition, and includes initiatives as University Chairs, R&D projects, scholarships or different schemes to support entrepreneurship in areas as renewable energy, sustainable development, electric mobility, biodiversity or smart grids.
I am sure the participants in this Congress will show once again that supporting young talent is the best way to promote employability in the jobs in the future, especially in STEM disciplines. Iberdrola is also doing it by developing initiatives for the promotion of gender equality in these studies, in which the presence of women has been traditionally lower. Examples of this are the creation of specific Schools of Electricians for women in Brazil; the “Impulso STEM” program, in Mexico; the POWERful Women initiative, in the United Kingdom; and WomENergy, in the United States; and the STEAM Alliance for female talent “Girls for science”, in Spain.
Dear Young Scientists, you are all called to a wonderful mission: to create, develop and implement projects to make this world, the world you will inherit, a better place. Let us start make a difference here and now.
I wish you all a great time during the competition and the very best of luck to all those participating in this wonderful learning experience.
Ignacio S. Galán
Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola.