8 December 2016

2016 Junior Researchers seek to uncover stock fraud and the motivation to learn German


Four innovative upper-secondary-school students are the winners of this year's Junior Researcher Project with such diverse topics as private stock trading risks, the deselection of German as a foreign language, depression in youngsters and wireless energy in space. The winners were announced at a ceremony at the University of Copenhagen on 8 December.

On 8 December, eight months of project work resulted in applause and cool cash for upper-secondary-school students Anton Lejre Poulsen, Andrea Signe Trolle, Thor Vestergaard Christiansen and Anna Katarina Smit Hinge. They were chosen as the winners in each of their subject categories in the Danish nation-wide talent development competition, the 2016 Junior Researcher Project.

Brainy minds backed and challenged

A total of 246 participants from 51 upper-secondary schools have taken part in the talent programme, and during the autumn, 112 of them have developed their own mini research projects within the following four categories: Social Sciences, humanities, natural sciences and health sciences:

From left: Permanent Secretary Agnete Gersing, junior researcher winners Anton Lejre Poulsen, Andrea Signe Trolle, Thor Vestergaard Christiansen and Anna Katarina Smit Hinge and Prorector Thomas Bjørnholm.

“In the Junior Researcher Project, we invite talented and ambitious upper-secondary-school students from all over Denmark to exchange thoughts and ideas with supervisors from the world of research. This brings about some truly innovative and impressive projects. And the students are given a push into what might become a future career in research," says Prorector for Research and Innovation Thomas Bjørnholm of the University of Copenhagen, who hosted the  awards ceremony and, together with Permanent Secretary Agnete Gersing from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, presented the four awards to this year's junior researchers.

The panel of judges had nominated the three best projects from each of the four categories to proceed to the finals. The 12 nominees presented their projects, competing for the four first places, each of which comes with a DKK 20,000 prize to complete the project. See this year’s winners here and read their project descriptions:

Uncovering attempts at fraud through stock price manipulation

In the social sciences category, the winner is Anton Lejre Poulsen with his project from Rosborg Upper Secondary School 'Private stock trading risks'. On the basis of private investors' use of knowledge sharing via Facebook-based investor communities, the project seeks to investigate whether stock prices are being manipulated:

“My hypothesis is that inexperienced private investors who use stock trading tools without the necessary source criticism and knowledge are exposed to a very high risk of being cheated by stock price manipulation. Financial fraudsters may for example seek to boost prices artificially through false or misleading recommendations," says Anton Lejre Poulsen, who with his project wishes to foster a safer investment culture. 

Chasing the motivation for learning German at school

In the humanities category, the winner is Andrea Signe Trolle from Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College with her project 'Learning German or Spanish in upper secondary school?' The project seeks to investigate how students can be motivated to actively choose German as a continuing foreign language in upper secondary schools instead of choosing Spanish to avoid learning German:

“Even though Germany is Denmark's largest trade partner, many students opt out of learning German. New political framework conditions will strengthen German as a school subject, but the question is how it will affect students’ motivation for the subject," Andrea Signe Trolle says.

Sending microwaves into space

In the natural sciences category, the winner is Thor Vestergaard Christiansen from Aarhus Katedralskole with his project: 'Using microwaves to transmit energy into space'. The project seeks to investigate a hypothesis that it is possible to transmit energy via microwaves over large distances in space; including between space probes and comet landers:

“My hypothesis is inspired by the challenges of ESA's Rosetta mission in 2004 when the comet lander Philae by mistake ended up in the shade. This meant that it could not use its solar panels and therefore could not complete the planned observations. If Rosetta could have transmitted energy via microwaves to Philae, ESA would probably not have been forced to abandon Philae,” Thor Vestergaard Christiansen says.

Memory aid for depressive youngsters

In the health sciences category, the winner is Anna Katarina Smit Hinge from Frederiksberg Upper Secondary School with her project: 'Cognitive remediation - Treatment of cognitive difficulties in depressive youngsters aged 16-24 years in remission'. The project seeks to investigate whether a particular type of treatment can help young people who, after having gone through the normal treatment for depression, still suffer from memory lapses:

“A survey from 2015 shows that almost 2,000 Danish youngsters are diagnosed with depression annually. That’s an extremely high number - and the highest incidence of depression in any age group! Many in this age group are under education, and memory failure due to depression can be totally disabling," Anna Katarina Smit Hinge says.


Project Coordinator Marianne Bjerregaard
Tel.: +45 35 33 23 70