Hans Riegel Awards Presented Once Again at the JKU

In cooperation with the Kaiserschild Foundation, the JKU presented the Dr. Hans Riegel Awards to school students in recognition of outstanding pre-academic work.

The 2020 Dr. Hans Riegel Award winners.
The 2020 Dr. Hans Riegel Award winners.

A jury of experts reviewed and evaluated a total of 61 papers submitted by graduating AHS school students.

Over the past ten years, the Hans Riegel Awards has been presented to the top three entries in the categories of chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology or computer sciences. Endowed with € 5,800 total in prize money and distributed among the winners, graduating AHS students from throughout Upper Austria were eligible to apply by submitting their pre-academic work. Once again, this year’s results were outstanding.

This year, the jury selected eight female and six male students. The young, gifted students focused on, among other things: life, work and research aboard the international space station, knot theory and central research issues, robot-assisted surgery for the future, an attempt to prove the placebo effect, and creating an app to record and evaluate athletic performance at their school.

Sparking Young People’s Interest in Research
O.Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Kurt Schlacher, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, emphasized: "COVID-19 was not even able to dampen the participants’ enthusiasm for the 2020 Dr. Hans Riegel Specialist Award created to honor outstanding pre-academic work in STEM subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and mathematics. The winning papers focused on scientific questions that were answered using very sophisticated methods. Knowledge and evidence-based procedures serve as a cornerstone to support a flourishing, pluralistic, open, and tolerant society. We need dedicated, hard-working and very critical school students and university students who can master scientifically-based and rational, knowledge-based thinking and apply this mindset in a way that benefits everyone. We would be pleased to welcome all of the participants and award winners as students at the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the JKU!"

The Kaiserschild Foundation aims to support and encourage young people, particularly in the so-called STEM subjects. The Dr. Hans Riegel Awards aim to encourage talented young people to pursue an educational and professional career in the natural sciences or technical fields. In addition, the awards and accompanying prize money serve as a link between schools and universities by supporting exchange and introducing the winning students to the university system early on. Dr. Sandra Sonnleitner, managing director of the Kaiserschild Foundation, added: "The Kaiserschild Foundation supports ambitious researchers and the Dr. Hans Riegel Awards can serve as an early step toward an academic/scientific career. The Foundation also provides support in this direction by giving the award winners additional educational opportunities throughout their studies. All of the award winners can join the STEM TANK, offering an opportunity to take part in seminars, workshops and other events designed to strengthen their professional and social skill set."

Experimenting and Critical Analysis
Once again, students had an opportunity this year to present their research findings to a jury of university faculty members. The award criteria not only included accumulating and reproducing text book material, but documentation of the students' own experiments in particular and critically examining their hands-on experiments.

The awards in each category are endowed with € 600 for the first-place winner, € 400 for the second-place winner, and € 200 for the third-place winner. In addition, the first-place winners’ schools received approximately €250 in prize money in recognition of the academic work supervised by the respective subject-area teachers.

The winners in the individual categories:


  • 1st Place: Simon Grünbacher, BRG Linz, Hamerlingstraße: „Knotentheorie und ihre zentralen Forschungsfragen“
  • 2nd Place: Eva-Maria Haslhofer, BG/BRG Freistadt: „Gesellschaftsspiele und Mathematik“
  • 3rd Place: Noah Leidinger, Gymnasium Dachsberg: „Zwischen Gier und Verstand -das Nash-Gleichgewicht in wirtschaftspolitischen Entscheidungssituationen“


  • 1st Place: Selina Krauck, Akademischen Gymnasium Linz: „Leben, Arbeiten und Forschen auf der internationalen Raumstation“
  • 2nd Place: Selina Plasser, BRG Schloss Traunsee: "Mechanical Applications and Historical Developments by Thermodynamics”
  • 3rd Place: Marcel Leon Walden, BG Vöcklabruck: "Analog and Digital Multitrack Recording Technologies of Audio"


  • 1st Place: Simon Kienberger, BRG Schloss Wagrain: „Analyse von Divergenzen mechanisch belasteter Nylon und Polyester Tennissaiten mittels OCT und AFM“
  • 2. Platz: Vanessa Treml, BG/BRG Gmunden: „Zusammenhang zwischen Porosität und mechanischen bzw. physikalischen Eigenschaften anhand pulvermetallurgischer Eisenlegierungen“

Computer Science

  • 1st Place: Felix Kainz, BG/BRG Gmunden: „Entwicklung einer App zur Erfassung und Auswertung sportlicher Leistungen am BG/BRG Gmunden“
  • 2nd Place: Helena Viteka, BORG Linz, Honauerstraße: „Die Chirurgie der Zukunft: Roboterassistierte Chirurgie“
  • 3rd Place: Fabian Haslinger, BRG Linz, Hamerlingstraße: „Human Computer Interaction - Die Kommunikation zwischen Mensch und Maschine“


  • 1st Place: Anna Garstenauer, BG/BRG Gmunden: „Der Versuch einer Schülerin den Placeboeffekt nachzuweisen“
  • 2nd Place: Anna Losbichler, BG Steyr, Werndlpark: „Aspirin - rezeptfrei, aber gefährlich“
  • 3rd Place: Mia Nußbaumer, Bischöflichen Gymnasium Petrinum: „Langzeitaufenthalte im Weltall: Eine bemannte Marsmission und ihre Konzequenz auf den Menschen“