Olívia Pontes (left), Henna Kapoor (centre) and Alba Roibás Rozas (right). Photograps provided by the award winners.

The members of the jury of the V Research Pitches Contest of the Compostela Group of Universities recognise the video presentations of three scientists from the universities of Minho, Regensburg and Santiago de Compostela. 

The jury of the V Research Pitches Contest of the Compostela Group of Universities decided to award the first prize to the researcher from the University of Minho (UMinho) Olívia Pontes. In her pitch Synthesis and characterization of novel targeted inhibitors for cancer treatment, the PhD student from UMinho’s Health Sciences programme explains that her research focuses on newly synthesised compounds and their ability to treat and overcome resistance in aggressive types of cancer.

In assessing her presentation, the members of the contest’s jury valued her exposition of the “problematic field of the research”, the substantiation of “its relevance” and the description of “the proposed methodology”. They also considered that the narrative of Pontes built “trust in scientific approach” and that her speech was convincing.

The second prize of the competition went to Henna Kapoor, a PhD student at the University of Regensburg. In her pitch The “teamwork” of various RNA polymerase transcription factors in Arabidopsis thaliana, Kappoor details her group’s research on the interaction between two elongation factors in the ribonucleic acid (RNA) polymerase.

When adopting its verdict, the jury found that her speech is “correctly illustrated with examples” and thus” adapted to the perception of non-specialists”. At the same time, it presents “good scientific language” and clearly sets out the “potential benefits” of genetically modified organism (GMO), so that it can contribute to “reducing the fear” of GMOs.

Finally, the third prize was awarded to the pitch From wastes to biomaterials: towards circular economy by researcher Alba Roibás Rozas from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). In her video, the researcher from the PhD programme in Chemical and Environmental Engineering of the USC divulges the work carried out in the last three years by her group. Based on the development of a technology for the production of bioplastics, whose environmental profile was later evaluated to validate it.

On this pitch, the jury members considered the “clear and consistent” formulation of the problem raised in the study, “as well as the tools and methods for its solution”. Moreover, they appreciated that “even though it is a very technical subject, it is possible for a general audience to understand the benefits of this project”.