'Scientists@work' gives over 1800 Flemish students the chance to work in a biotech lab

Ghent, Belgium - VIB (the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology) is holding the finale of the second edition of its school project 'Scientists@work' in Ghent University's Auditorium. This project - unique in Europe - brings young people into biotech laboratories of Flemish universities, colleges, and companies. This past year, more than 1800 students, under the guidance of practicing scientists, carried out projects in the context of the Scientists@work competition. On 11 May, a jury is to select 3 winners from the 10 finalist masterworks. Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish Minister of Education) will present the prizes to the proud winners.

A unique project

Science in school is often limited to a theoretical explanation. However, a major part of science is conducting experiments, making discoveries, and testing new methods. But what middle school has a fully equipped laboratory - including the latest materials and the full range of expertise? The solution to this problem seems simple, but it turns out to be unique in Europe: take a team of youngsters and their teacher to the lab!

Dedicated scientists - from VIB and other labs - show 14 to 18 year-olds the tricks of the trade and guide them in taking their first steps in scientific research. The students situate their experimental work in the proper context and supplement it with background information in order to submit it to VIB as a final report.

The response has been enormous: in October, over 1800 young people started a project, assisted by more than 100 project supervisors. 80 teams - totaling some 800 students - submitted a final report. 10 laureates have been selected by a professional jury, and they are to present their projects at the closing celebration at Ghent University on 11 May 2005.

Scientists@work in figures...
169 teams from 100 schools - for a total of 1815 students - started a project:

  • 128 General Seconda

  • Contact: Sooike Stoops
    VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology

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