Press releases | Education 17.11.2010

The student competition 2011 features 400 participants from six countries showing the way toward more efficient use of resources.

Can the Gulf Stream be tapped as an energy source? Is it possible to convert exhaust into fertilizer? Will stinging nettle play a role in the future of automotive manufacturing? Those are just a few of the some 200 research questions posed by the teams and individuals competing for prizes totaling some €100,000 in this year’s Siemens Stiftung student competition in mathematics, natural sciences and technology. For the first time, the competition also includes German-speaking schools in Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Greece and Turkey. Students now have until January 14, 2011, to complete their research projects on the subject “Using resources intelligently – working today to conserve for tomorrow.”

Project director Christa Mühlbauer from the Siemens Stiftung is pleased: “What’s remarkable is that many teams are also delving into the social aspects of the topic.” In addition to the larger social challenges such as mobility, energy and recycling, the young researchers are also exploring food supply in Africa and more efficient methods of allocating human labor and working hours. “The complexity of the topic of natural resources is precisely what made it such an attractive selection for the 2011 competition,” explains Mühlbauer. “After all, we want to motivate young people to actively confront the key issues of our time. There should be room for creativity and inspiration.”

A total of some 400 students in grades 10 and up submitted project proposals for the competition. They are supervised by more than 150 instructors. Among the 200 projects, about 27 percent relate to technology, while another 27 percent have an interdisciplinary emphasis.

The submissions will be evaluated by juries at the three partner universities: RWTH Aachen University, Technical University (TU) Berlin and Technical University Munich (TUM). The first-round winners will then present their research projects to the jury in three semifinal rounds in early March. Finally, the three best teams from each university will present their work at the final round on April 2–4, 2011, in Munich.

Prize money totaling some €100,000 will be awarded for the students’ higher education and to support the departments of the instructors who supervised the winning teams. Siemens Stiftung will also provide tutors for the winning students and host university events in Aachen, Berlin and Munich.


The Siemens Stiftung, a nonprofit foundation under German civil law, was founded in the fall of 2008 with a starting capital of €390 million. The foundation works with projects to strengthen civil society particularly in Africa, Latin America and Europe. Its aim is to make a long-term contribution to reducing poverty and fostering equal opportunity. The foundation operates in three areas: It supports enlarging basic services and improving social structures; initiates educational projects; and contributes to strengthening cultural identity. The over-arching principle for the foundation's work is to help people help themselves. The Siemens Stiftung works in close cooperation with local and international partners as well as in alliance with other Siemens foundations in Argentina, Brazil, France, Colombia and the United States.