YOUTH AND SCIENCE SUMMER PROGRAM IN SPAIN



The Youth and Science Program (Programa de Joves i Ciència) of Caixa Catalunya has the objective to expose talented and motivated young students to scientific research, with the final goal that more of them become researchers in the future. The Program is an opportunity for the participants to know the essence of scientific activity by developing a research project, working closely with researchers and university students that do first‐line research

One of the actions of this program is to offer to fifty 16-year-old selected talented students a summer research campus from June 28th to July 10th. The campus (Estades d’Estiu de Ciència de Caixa Catalunya (E2C3)) will take place in Planes de Son (www.planesdeson.com), a Nature Center that is currently used for educational purposes. The center will be adapted, for these 12 days, to be used exclusively as a research campus. Planes de Son is near Barcelona – 3h drive and it is located in the Àneu valleys, one of the most finely conserved high mountain areas of the Pyrenees.

 

We are now starting the third edition of the E2C3. The results of the prior experiences have been highly satisfactory. If you wish to, you can visit the program’s weblog in the following address: http://jovesiciencia.caixacatalunya.es/   and    the    webpage http://obrasocial.caixacatalunya.es/osocial/idiomes/3/fitxers/obrasocial/E2C3/index.htm  where a brief summary of the five projects conducted in the last edition of the E2C3 can be found.

 

The program will offer 5 projects in the area of experimental sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, technology, mathematics... The projects should be adapted to talented students who will have finished the compulsory secondary education (ESO) and will be starting their junior year of high school. The participants will be able, and are expected, to pose questions, to design experiments, to carry them out, to interpret the results, propose new hypothesis, etc. The project has to be attractive, motivating and has to leave margin for the students’ creativity and curiosity. In addition, the project has to be intellectually challenging for them. Moreover, the scientists leading the project should meet the program’s expectations: to be able to transmit their passion for science and encourage, engage, and stimulate the participants’ scientific interest and abilities. Their role in captivating their interest and challenge them to achieve is critical.

 

Each project will have ten participants, approximately and will be led by a team of scientists.  The scientists will be in charge of the project, and will be responsible for guiding the students through their research activities, but giving them the autonomy to learn how to gather information, to solve problems by themselves, to be critical with the information they obtain and, specially, to think like scientists do.

 

During their 12-day stay, the participants will work for about 6 hours a day on their project, except on Sunday (hiking day!) and the last day of the campus, when the participants will present their project to the rest of the groups. Besides the research activities, there will be also conferences given by invited speakers and leisure activities (out-door games, excursions, movies, etc).

 

Some of the leisure activities are led by specialized educators from Les Planes de Son. However, the reference mentors are the scientists and they are expected to watch for the participants’ performance and wellbeing throughout their stay.  The experience of the last two years has taught us that the participants are conscious of the type of camp this is, and their behavior is mature; but still, they need guidance and help which the scientists and camp director and coordinator should provide. The professors, as well as the participants, are covered by an insurance of accidents and public liability which exonerates the teaching staff of any public liability.

 

To be a participant of the E2C3 students have to pass through a selection process. Students are selected by the recommendations from their teachers (science, mathematics or technology teacher), a recommendation from the course tutor, a letter of motivation, the academic results and a personal interview.

 

The personal interview is the last phase of the selection process. Scientists in charge of the project will be the interviewers of the finalist candidates and they will do the selection of the students who will participate in their project. The interviews are scheduled for the weekend of April 10th and 11th (Saturday and Sunday morning). The interviewers will have all their travel expenses covered and will receive an extra remuneration of 600€ (gross income) per project. In case of scientists from outside Europe we will find local interviewers (or attempt to schedule video conferences).

 

We inform you that the call to present research projects proposals is already open. The projects have to be adapted to the Estades d’Estiu de Ciència de Caixa Catalunya (E2C3) and have to include:

1. Description of the project, including:

         a. The aims of the project.

         b. Types of activities that will be carried out.

         c. Challenges the participants will encounter (experimental and intellectual)

2. Budget, including material and infrastructures needed.

3. Curriculum vitae of the scientist and interns.

4. Summary of the project (approx. 80 words). (The summary has to be sufficiently clear and

has to describe the project, as it will be the basis for the publications of the diffusion

campaign.

5. A more extensive summary where the contents that will be covered and the aptitudes

that the participants will develop should be explained (Ex: contents are related to biology, mathematics, engineering, music,... The project will be developed using laboratory techniques, field study, computer programming, etc.). This summary will be used in the diffusion campaign through internet. A clear explanation of the project facilitates the project selection by the students.

 

The center of Planes de Son has biology, molecular biology, and chemistry laboratory tools. It also has an observatory, a CCD camera, some telescopes (4 Meade 10” and 1 Meade 16”) and       computers with Internet connection. Laboratories will be equipped with the material needed, depending on the projects being developed. The budget for the acquisition of required material is 6.000€ per project, and, if necessary, there is a maximum of additional 6.000€/project to rent or buy laboratory equipments.

 

Travel expenses, housing and meals of the scientists during the campus will be fully covered. The stipend per project team is 5.000€ (gross income to be distributed among the components of the team- usually 2‐3 scientists) for their motivating and intensive contribution to the summer science camp.

On the other hand, once the project is finished the students must write a scientific paper inspired or based on the project they have developed in Planes de Son. The final version of the paper is due by mid January. In order to guide the students during that time (through the internet) we ask that scientists are in charge of the follow up of the articles. The stipend for this task is 150€ (gross income) per paper tutored (maximum of 10‐12 papers per project.).

All proposals should be received by November 2nd 2009, to the e-mail address shown below.

Any questions or comments, contact Maria Calsamiglia, Director of the Program: 

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