EventsEUCYS - Apr 26, 2012

Kiira Saarela the Finnish representative for EUCYS 2012

The European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) will be held in Bratislava, Slovakia in September. Kiira Saarela was chosen as the representative of Finland based on her success in a national science competition.

Kiira Saarela won Tutki-Kokeile-Kehitä science competition on 20 April. Photo: Sakari Tolppanen.

“I don’t really know what to expect,” says Kiira Saarela, 18, when asked what she expects from EUCYS. “I bet it will be a great experience.”

EUCYS will gather 14 to 21-year-old young scientists across Europe (and world) to compete for great prizes for the 24th time at the end of September. Kiira, who won a national science competition called Tutki-Kokeile-Kehitä, will be there with her project that is about a mathematical model on how much motorway noise disturbs owls preying on moles.

“The subject for my study came from the fields that interest me,” Kiira says and adds that she is interested in physics, modeling, and environmental issues. The owls came along with the idea that was half jokingly tossed in the air. “But then I realized that it was actually quite a good idea.”

Kiira encourages everyone not to underestimate their ideas when it comes to research. “At some point, I didn’t believe in my idea and wondered what’s the use in all this, but now I know that it was worthwhile to continue.”

According to Kiira, the best part of doing research was when she got the results, and could clearly see that she had achieved something.

Kiira (on the right) interviewed for the radio with Meri Vainio (on the left) and Joona Pohjonen who came in third and second in Tutki-Kokeile-Kehitä competition. Photo: Sakari Tolppanen.

For the past two years, Kiira has been studying in mathematics oriented boarding school in Päivölä and is now about to get her high school diploma and student cap. “The pace of the studies has been demanding at Päivölä, but on the other hand there are so few of us students there that everyone knows everyone and the atmosphere is relaxed.” Kiira has applied to universities this spring and will most likely start physics studies in Tampere or Kuopio next semester.

In addition to the trip to Slovakia to represent Finland in EUCYS, Kiira also got a prize grant. She says that she will save some of the money and use the rest to support her musical hobbies.

“I play the piano and oboe, but I’d like to learn one more instrument”, Kiira says and adds that the instrument is double bass.

EUCYS 2011 was held in Helsinki, Finland. Read articles, watch videos and at photos from the event on MyScience.

The official website of EUCYS 2012 is at

Elisa Lautala works as web editor for University of Helsinki's Faculty of Science. Elisa likes all kinds of cultural events, good books, warm weather, and aqua-jogging.