Eight finalists will move on to the next level in the 10th annual Alltech Young Scientist program, the largest global university contest of its kind that rewards scientific genius and experimental application in agri-science.

A panel of agriculture industry leaders selected four undergraduate students and four graduate students from more than 8,800 registrants for the 2014-15 term. Students were challenged to submit research studies that demonstrated a keen awareness of science and its applications for improving the future of the world.

Representing six continents across the globe, the finalists will engage in the ultimate test when they present their research during the Alltech REBELation, an international conference exploring innovation, inspiration and world-changing ideas in Lexington, Kentucky, from May 17-20. The winning graduate student will receive a $10,000 cash prize and the winning undergraduate student will receive a $5,000 cash prize. The eight finalists ranking at the top of their global regions are:

Undergraduate category

  • Asia Pacific: Karen De Dios, Pampanga Agricultural College, Philippines
  • Latin America: Omar Vargas Villalobos, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica
  • Europe/Russia/Africa: Rafal Bialek, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland
  • North America: Collin Letain, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Graduate category

  • Asia Pacific: Yuhua Zhu, China Agricultural University, China
  • Latin America: Norha Constanza Bolívar Ramírez, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
  • Europe/Russia/Africa: Maria Rita Azeredo, University of Porto, Portugal  
  • North America: Xiaoqiu Wang, Texas A&M University, Texas, USA

Alltech also has named 68 regional and local award winners who have embraced scientific discovery through research. Regional winners of the Alltech Young Scientist program receive cash prizes ranging from $300 to $2,000 and local winners are given medals.

“With 10 years of competition under our belt, we continue to see an outstanding number of exemplary papers submitted each year,” said Dr. Inge Russell, director of the Alltech Young Scientist program. “This year was no exception as students from around the world yielded high-quality research, and our panel was faced with the challenge of narrowing down the field of scientists to these elite eight.”

“This year, we encouraged students to push the envelope and to ‘rebel’ as they find solutions to today’s industry issues,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “Once again this group of students did not disappoint. We congratulate these winners for rising to the challenge and demonstrating their potential as future scientific industry leaders.”

In the 2015-16 term, the Alltech Young Scientist program is offering research organizations and university departments the opportunity to become Alltech Young Scientist affiliate partners. As an affiliate partner, the local competition winners are fast-tracked to the Alltech Young Scientist regional competitions and receive a range of academic and career-orientated benefits.