Young researchers from Kassel impress jury at Russian youth science contest
About four years ago, the research cooperation between the North Hesse Student Research Centre (SFN) and School No. 17 in the Russian city of Novy Urengoy, which the city of Kassel maintains a city cooperation with, was initiated with the support of Wintershall Dea. At that time, no one could have imagined that this would open the door to the Russian youth research competition "Vernadsky Readings" for the aspiring young scientists from Kassel. Yet, this year is already the third time that SFN teams are taking part in the renowned contest. In this year's digital preliminary round held in Novy Urengoy on 22 March, six students from North Hesse presented their science projects. They prevailed against well over a hundred other participants and qualified for the national finals, which also took place in an online format on 12-16 April due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
"I am very pleased that the long-standing cooperation at the municipal level between Kassel and Novy Urengoy is spurring a lively exchange between talented young people from Germany and Russia. We at Wintershall Dea know that the thirst for knowledge and the spirit of research know no national borders. It makes me happy to see that the student research cooperation between the Kassel’s SFN and School No. 17 in Novy Urengoy is opening new doors for the young scientists”, says Thilo Wieland, Executive Board member responsible for Russia at Wintershall Dea.
In the finals of the “Vernadsky Readings”, the young researchers from the SFN, aged between 12 and 18 years old, presented their research results in English via video conference to a demanding Russian jury. The jury showed great interest in the projects of the participants from Kassel, which, as diverse as they were, shared a common goal of making a positive contribution to society and the environment. The topics varied from sensor-controlled robots that provide support on missions in dangerous areas to oil-adsorbing surfaces that can help minimise the impact of oil disasters.
SFN founder and its long-time director, Klaus-Peter “KP” Haupt, concludes: “The research cooperation with Russia has been a great enrichment to the work of the SFN and its young scientists. We are proud that we have been participating in this scientifically stimulating exchange for years and that the SFN participants have continuously achieved such excellent results in the Vernadsky readings. Therefore, I look forward to many more years of exciting projects.”
Just as in the years before, the many months of preparation and close supervision by KP Haupt and his staff paid off: all the teams have been awarded various prizes. Three of them won the first prize in the sections "Engineering ecology", "Chemistry" and "Engineering Research" respectively, and two teams won 1st degree diplomas in the sections "Physics and Astronomy" and "Engineering Research". In addition, the young scientists from Kassel were recognised with honourable mention certificates for their contributions to intercultural dialogue, for the best presentation and for the best lecture.
The innovative and unique educational exchange project between the SFN and the School No. 17, which is supported by Wintershall Dea, has already yielded several outstanding youth research projects. This makes it a lighthouse project of international research cooperation among young people.