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Silver medal for Portuguese students in science competition in Italy

The national delegation of the Youth Foundation triumphs in one of the main science competitions for young people in Europe.

The second prize of the Italian Competition for Young Scientists – I Giovani e le Scienze -, promoted by the Federazione delle Associazioni Scientifiche e Tecniche (FAST), held annually in Milan, comes to Portugal. Ana Sofia Ramos, Bruna Matos and Mariana Gonçalves, guided by teacher Paula Canha, from Escola Secundária Dr Manuel Candeias Gonçalves, in Odemira, were chosen to represent Portugal in the biggest science competition in Italy, after winning the National Competition for Young Scientists and Investigators, organized by the Youth Foundation, and took second place on the podium yesterday with the project Potential of fungi for biodegradation of polyethene.

The scientific study, which won the silver medal, tests some ecologically correct alternatives to solve the accumulation of plastic waste in greenhouses in the municipality of Odemira, such as biodegradation through fungi, instead of traditional disposal. The potential of fungi to biodegrade polyethene had already been distinguished in the National Competition for Young Scientists and Researchers, promoted in 2023 by the Youth Foundation, which guaranteed access to this competition.

In the 2024 edition of this Italian competition, organized annually by FAST Milano and whose national representation is the responsibility of the Youth Foundation, 35 research projects in different areas of human knowledge were submitted to the competition, carried out by young scientists, from countries such as Italy, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey and Tunisia.

It is worth remembering that, through the representation provided by the Youth Foundation – as organizer of the National Competition for Young Scientists and Researchers –, Portuguese delegations sent to international exhibitions have frequently achieved distinctions. Recent examples of this are the first prizes in the 2023 editions of EUCYS – European Competition for Young Scientists, organized by the European Commission, in Brussels, and MOSTRATEC – International Science and Technology Exhibition, held annually by the Liberato Foundation, in Brazil.

Since 1992, the Youth Foundation has organized the National Competition for Young Scientists and Researchers, one of the main science initiatives in Portugal. Aimed at young people between 15 and 20 years old, secondary and higher education students (in the first year) and young people (individually or in groups, up to 3 elements) with research projects, developed at school/university, the National Competition for Young Scientists and Researchers distinguishes the best and most promising projects presented. The jury is made up of renowned personalities in the scientific and technical fields and is coordinated in partnership with Ciência Viva. In addition to monetary prizes, the Youth Foundation selects projects to participate – with all expenses paid – in some of the main science fairs and competitions around the world – such as EUCYS, in Europe, CASTIC, in China, MOSTRATEC, in Brazil, or others in Mexico or the USA.

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