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Winners of the 33rd young researchers’ state competition in Thuringia

On April 9, 2024, 140 young scientists presented their projects for “Jugend forscht” (young researchers) and “Schüler experimentieren” (students experiment) in the Thuringia state competition. Many projects and Thuringian schools were also awarded special prizes at the award ceremony, including from the two state sponsors STIFT and Jenoptik.

Group photo of the first-place winners in both competition categories

This year’s state competition was held for the first time in the event area of the Ernst Abbe sports field in Jena. The 140 young researchers presented a total of 72 projects (previous year: 69) in the seven subject areas of the working world, biology, chemistry, earth and space sciences, mathematics/computer science, physics and technology in the two competition categories “Jugend forscht” and “Schüler experimentieren”. The participants had previously qualified in seven Thuringian regional competitions.

The Thuringia Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research (STIFT) and JENOPTIK AG were once again responsible for organizing the state competition as sponsor companies. They were represented by Adrian König, Corporate Innovation Manager at Jenoptik, and Dr. Sven Günther, Chairman of STIFT.

Award ceremony and special prizes

At the award ceremony on the afternoon of April 9, 2024, the first, second and third place winners in the respective subject areas received their awards, as well as the best interdisciplinary project and all other (special) prize winners. The projects were assessed by a jury made up of representatives from Thuringian schools and universities, institutes and companies.

The first-place winners of the “Jugend forscht” state competition qualified for the national finals, which will take place in Heilbronn from May 30 to June 2, 2024.

In addition to the “Jugend forscht” awards, there were numerous special prizes. Jenoptik’s Corporate Innovation Manager Adrian König awarded two Jenoptik special prizes to:

  • Nico Richard Lentsch, Dustin Marggraff and Marvin Heyne for the project “Pneumonea Detection using Convolutional Neural Networks”
  • Manuel Rohe for the project “Caesar, what's up, bro?”

Dr. Sven Günther, Chairman of the Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research Thuringia (STIFT), awarded the “STIFT School Prizes” to the most successful Thuringian schools in the state competition.

Impressions from the event in Jena, Germany

Long-term commitment of the state sponsors

The award ceremony was moderated by Daniela Schmidt, TV presenter from “MDR Wissen”, and the state competition directors Dr. Uta Purgahn and Tom Fleischhauer.

The “Jugend forscht” state competition is sponsored by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society and the Thuringian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Thuringia’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Wolfang Tiefensee, and Thuringia’s Minister of Education, Helmut Holter, both came to see the achievements of the young researchers and welcomed the participants at the public awards ceremony.

Jenoptik is closely associated with the competition. Jenoptik has been a sponsor of the Thuringian “Jugend forscht” state finals and the “Schüler experimentieren” state competition, which was integrated in 2012, since 1991. STIFT has been supporting "Jugend forscht" at the regional competition level since 2005. It also supports children and young people on their path to research by offering coaching across all competition levels. STIFT and Jenoptik have been joint state sponsors for the Thuringia state competition since 2018.

Dr. Sven Günther, STIFT Chairman, was impressed by this year’s projects: “With the state competition Jugend forscht Thuringia, we offer young researchers recognition, support and networks to strengthen their interests and talents, implement their great ideas and thus develop their passion for research and technology. These young people not only stand for future careers in STEM professions, research or business start-ups, but also for a well-founded approach to the current and future challenges of our society.”

Adrian König, who represented Jenoptik at the state competition for the first time, also drew a positive conclusion: “Jugend forscht is not just a competition, but also a great platform for the young researchers who work here with a great deal of passion and creativity on current issues and problems facing our society. They are the future specialists that a technology company like Jenoptik needs. Not least for this reason, I am very pleased that we are able to encourage the students in their STEM talents with our long-standing commitment as a state sponsor company.”

Congratulations to the winning young researchers!

Congratulations to the winners of the students' competition!


Ansprechpartner Cornelia Ehrler, Kommunikation und Marketing Jenoptik

Cornelia Ehrler

Communications and Marketing

+49 3641 65-4455

+49 3641 65-2484

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