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Winners of the 32nd "Jugend forscht" state competition in Thuringia
On March 31, 2023, 144 young researchers presented their projects for "Jugend forscht" and "Schüler experimentieren" in the Thuringia state competition. At the award ceremony, numerous projects and Thuringian schools also received special prizes, including from the two state sponsors STIFT and Jenoptik. A change in the competition management is imminent from 2024.
This year's state competition was held in the Volkshaus Jena under the motto "Make ideas big!” A total of 144 young researchers presented 69 projects in the seven subject areas of the world of work, biology, chemistry, earth and space sciences, mathematics/computer science, physics and technology in the two competition sections "Jugend forscht" and "Schüler experimentieren". The participants had previously qualified in the seven Thuringian regional competitions.
The Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research Thuringia (STIFT) and JENOPTIK AG were once again responsible for organizing the state competition as sponsor companies. Both state sponsors were represented by Maria Koller, Head of Human Resources at Jenoptik, and Dr. Sven Günther, member of the STIFT Executive Board.
Award ceremony and special prize presentation
At the award ceremony on the afternoon of March 31, 2023, the first-, second- and third-place winners in their respective fields, the best interdisciplinary projects and all other award winners were honored (see attached lists and overview). The projects were evaluated by a jury consisting of representatives from Thuringian schools and universities, institutes and companies.
The winners of the "Jugend forscht" state competition thus qualified for the 58th national finals in Bremen from May 18 to 21, 2023.
In addition to the "Jugend forscht" awards, there were numerous special prizes. Jenoptik personnel manager Maria Koller awarded two special Jenoptik prizes to the following young researchers:
- Mira Jasmin Fischer and Eric Sporbert for the project "Effects of Corona Lockdown on the Psyche"
- Konrad Cermann for the project "Camera system for minimizing blind spots using the example of a recumbent bicycle"
The Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research Thuringia (STIFT) awarded "STIFT School Prizes" including prize money to particularly committed schools in Thuringia.
Winners of the "Jugend forscht" category (young researchers, 15-21 years)
Winners of the "Schüler experimentieren" category (experimenting pupils, up to 14 years of age)
Change in the competition management from 2024
The award ceremony in the Volkshaus Jena was moderated by Daniela Schmidt from the regional TV station MDR, the state competition directors Rüdiger Eisenbrand and Uta Purgahn. Rüdiger Eisenbrand said goodbye to the competition management after more than 30 years. Uta Purgahn will take over as state competition director for the “Jugend forscht” program. Her successor for the “Schüler experimentieren” program addressing children until the age of 14 will be Tom Fleischhauer, who has also been associated with the STEM event for a very long time.
Dr. Sven Baszio, Executive Director of the Jugend forscht e. V. foundation, paid tribute to Rüdiger Eisenbrand's many years of commitment: "'Jugend forscht' thrives on the dedication of its volunteers. As the longest-serving competition director, Rüdiger Eisenbrand has been responsible for initiating and developing 'Jugend forscht' in Thuringia for more than three decades. The further development of Germany's best-known and Europe's most successful competition for young scientists in the state has been made possible by STIFT and Jenoptik for many years."
Among the supporters of the 2023 event were Dr. Katja Böhler, State Secretary of the Thuringian Ministry of Economy, Science and Digital Society, and Prof. Dr. Winfried Speitkamp, State Secretary of the Thuringian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, who both came to see for themselves the achievements of the young researchers.
Prof. Dr. Winfried Speitkamp: "The outstanding results in 'Jugend forscht' speak for themselves. Year after year, numerous talents emerge from the competition. This is also testimony to the outstanding commitment of the teachers. Jugend forscht' provides valuable impetus for the future research elite. Here, curiosity is awakened, ambition and stamina are nurtured, and above all, students' own projects are promoted in a needs-oriented manner. 'Jugend forscht' is a success story."
Jenoptik is closely associated with the competition. Jenoptik has been a sponsor of the Thuringian state finals of "Jugend forscht" since 1991, as well as the state competition "Schüler experimentieren" integrated in 2012.
STIFT has been the regional sponsor of "Jugend forscht" Central Thuringia since 2005 and has been a joint sponsor with Jenoptik for the Thuringia state competition since 2018.