Together with the State Education Authority of Upper Austria and the Kaiserschild Foundation, the JKU presented awards to school students in recognition of their outstanding academic work.
This year’s applications for the 8th annual Hans Riegel Awards increased by over 50% from 61 submissions in 2017 to 92 this year, vying for awards in the fields of chemistry, mathematics, and physics, biology, and computer sciences. The top three submissions for each category also won over €6,000 total in prize money. School students throughout Upper Austria were eligible to submit their pre-academic papers and many of this year’s submissions impressed the jury.
This year’s jury presented awards to 15 gifted school students who focused on issues ranging from the human influence on running water, the intelligence of apes and birds of prey, moments of inertia in nature and everyday life. The students applied selected methods in forensics as well as geometric probability or organized a ‘class battle’ to keep from repeating any classroom hours.
Sparking Young People’s Interest in Research
Univ. Prof. Dr. Norbert Müller, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences, remarked, “The applicants’ who apply for the Dr. Hans Riegel Awards are enthusiastic and their submissions are become more impressive each year. Discussing the fundamentals in areas of natural sciences such as chemistry, physics, math and computer sciences and looking at practical issues is an important cornerstone for the success of future generations and the way that society can advance through science and technology. We would look forward to having any one of these students enroll at the JKU.”
State School Inspector Dr. Christian Kitzberger stated, “The outstanding submissions and award-winning papers demonstrates the students’ extensive knowledge in the subject areas as well their ability to present their work and findings academically. The AHS schools are making important and competent contributions to supporting their students’ research interests.”
Prof. Dr. Markus Achatz, board member of the Kaiserschild Foundation, added, “The Kaiserschild Foundation is dedicated to supporting young people, particularly in the so-called STEM subjects. The Dr. Hans Riegel Awards and the subsequent alumni program are important tools to discover and encourage gifted students.”
Experiments and Critical Discussions
Students also had an opportunity this year to present their research findings to a jury composed of university faculty members. The criteria for the award included not just collecting and re-producing textbook materials, but conducting experiments and critically discussing the results of their own hands-on experiments.
The awards were accompanied with prize money in the amount of €600 for first-place winners, €400 for second-place winners, and €200 for third-place winners. In addition, the schools of the first-place winner received €250 in recognition of academically supervising the award-winning papers.