Top science popularizers honoured in the last INTER competition

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The grand finale of the 5th and final edition of the INTER science popularization competition, organized by the Foundation for Polish Science as part of the SKILLS project,* was held on 27 June 2015 at the Industrial Design Institute in Warsaw. Each of the ten finalists had five minutes to present their interdisciplinary research project. Their presentations were then evaluated by the members of the competition committee: Prof. Maciej Żylicz, president of the Foundation for Polish Science (chair), Dr Ilona Iłowiecka-Tańska, Dr Monika Marcinkowska (winner of the 4th INTER competition), editor Krzysztof Michalski, editor Dorota Romanowska, and editor Tomasz Rożek.

The finalists were competing for prizes in the amount of PLN 120,000 (1st prize), PLN 100,000 (2nd prize), and PLN 80,000 (3rd prize). Each award is made up of two portions: 80% of the award is a grant portion for realization of the research project, and 20% of the award is an individual stipend for the winner. The committee could decide to award a given prize to more than one person. The judges ultimately decided to award prizes totalling PLN 560,000 to six finalists.

The 1st prize of PLN 120,000 was won by Justyna Chałubińska-Fendler from the Faculty of Medicine at the Medical University of Łódź, who presented a project entitled “A thousand shades of grey: Analysis of textures in radiotherapy of lung cancer.”

Two 2nd prizes of PLN 100,000 each were awarded to:

  • Robert Mysłajek from the Faculty of Biology at the University of Warsaw for his project entitled “How do predators combat pathogens?”
  • Wanda Niemyska from the Centre of New Technologies at the University of Warsaw, who presented the project “The mathematics of soap bubbles and entangled proteins.”

Three researchers won 3rd prizes of PLN 80,000 each:

  • Andrzej Katunin from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice—“How to protect an airplane against the effects of a lightning strike?”
  • Anna Zawistowska-Deniziak from the Witold Stefański Institute of Parisitology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw—“They are there: How to detect a silent killer”
  • Igor Zubrycki from the Faculty of Electrical, Electronic, Computer and Control Engineering at the Łódź University of Technology—“Robot therapy: Robots helping therapists.”

An audience vote was also held during the finals for a prize of PLN 10,000 awarded by the Foundation for Polish Science out of its own funds. For the first time in the history of the INTER competition, two finalists—Wanda Niemyska and Igor Zubrycki—received the same number of votes from the audience. The chair of the competition committee, Prof. Maciej Żylicz, decided to double the prize, awarding PLN 10,000 to each of the two winners of the public vote!

In the five editions of the INTER competition:

  • Applications for realization of interdisciplinary research projects were filed by 235 young researchers.
  • The experts selected 72 finalists.
  • A total of 45 winners were chosen, receiving a combined amount of almost PLN 4.5 million for implementation of their projects.

The media patrons for the competition finals were Nauka w Polsce PAP, Forum Akademickie and

Photo: Finalists in the last edition of the Foundation for Polish Science INTER science popularization competition.

*The SKILLS project is co-financed by the European Union through the European Social Fund.