The finals of the fourth INTER popularisation competition, organized by the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) as part of the SKILLS project*, were held at the Institute of Industrial Design in Warsaw on 24 January 2015. The 11 finalists had five minutes each to present their interdisciplinary research projects. The presentations were judged by a competition committee comprising FNP President Prof. Maciej Żylicz who acted as chairman, Magdalena Kulma, PhD (a prize-winner of the INTER 2014 competition), Ilona Iłowiecka-Tańska, PhD, Natalia Osica, and journalists Dorota Romanowska and Krzysztof Michalski.
The finalists could win one of the following prizes: 120,000 zlotys – 1st prize, 100,000 zlotys – 2nd prize, and 80,000 zlotys – 3rd prize (of which 80% is a grant to carry out the presented research project while 20% is a personal stipend for the recipient). The competition committee decided to award prizes worth a total of 920,000 zlotys to as many as nine finalists.
The first prize worth 120,000 zlotys went to:
- Wojciech Fendler from the Faculty of Medicine at the Łódź Medical University, who presented the project “MicroRNA with Great Potential – Searching for Monogenic Diabetes”,
- Tomasz Gubiec from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, who presented the project “Physics of the Polish Banking System”,
- Katarzyna Krukiewicz from the Faculty of Chemistry at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, who presented the project “Treatment at Your Call, or the Role of Conductive Polymers in Medicine”,
- Monika Marcinkowska from Collegium Medicum – Faculty of Pharmacy at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, who presented the project “Old Drug, New Tricks”. She also won the audience poll and received an additional prize of 10,000 zlotys.
The second prize worth 100,000 zlotys went to:
- Magdalena Górecka from the Faculty of Horticulture, Biotechnology and Landscape Architecture at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, who presented the project “Hacking Photosynthesis, or Nanoparticles in the Service of Green Energy”,
- Maciej Jasiński from the College of Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the Centre of New Technologies at the University of Warsaw, who presented the project “When Freezing Things, Start Them Hot! Using Sorbet in Physics and the Mpemba Effect in Food Technology”.
The third prize worth 80,000 zlotys went to:
- Dorota Frydecka from the Faculty of Postgraduate Medical Training at the Wrocław Medical University, who presented the project “Life (and Mental Health) as the Art of Making Choices”,
- Tomasz Górny from the Faculty of Polish Studies at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, who presented the project “Rhetoric and Music”,
- Łukasz Rąbalski from the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdańsk and the Medical University of Gdańsk, who presented the project “Seeking Natural Allies in the Fight Against…”.
The aim of the INTER competition is to help develop young researchers’ science popularisation skills. The competition is open to PhD students from Polish research units, PhDs who are research workers (up to 6 years from obtaining their doctoral degree) and graduates of PhD studies (up to 12 months from obtaining their doctoral degree). In stage one of the INTER 2015 competition applications involving an interdisciplinary research project were submitted by 28 young scientists. The scientific quality of the projects was evaluated by a review panel that selected the competition’s 11 finalists. Before the finals the young researchers took part in a training course on self-presentation and the art of public speaking during which they honed their popularisation skills.
The media patrons of the finals were: the Polish Press Agency’s Nauka w Polsce (Science in Poland) service, Forum Akademickie (Academic Forum) and the studentnews.pl portal.
Pictured: Monika Marcinkowska, prize-winner of the INTER 2015 competition and winner of the audience prize.
* The SKILLS project is co-financed with European Union funding from the European Social Fund.