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Mad for Science is a national competition focusing on passion for Life Sciences, team work and talent, and is recognized by the Education Ministry as an initiative that promotes excellence in secondary schools.
Now in its 6th year, the Challenge invites high schools throughout Italy (science schools, classics schools with biology/biomedical options and technical colleges) to enter an innovative and original experimental project to win a biology laboratory for their school. Over €175,000 in prize money is at stake.
Developed and promoted since 2016 by DiaSorin and since 2020 the key project of Fondazione Diasorin, the Mad for Science project is a competition focusing on passion for Life Sciences, talent and team work.
It promotes proactive and experimental teaching of science and invites all Italian schools to enter an innovative and original project to win a biology laboratory for their school.
Mad for Science is a real opportunity for schools to transform their laboratories into advanced bio-labs and for students to discover the world of research, improve their project capabilities, put themselves on the line and work in teams, just as scientists do.
In this 6th edition of the competition, Fondazione DiaSorin is inviting science schools, classics schools with biology/biomedical options and technical colleges to reflect on the impact that biotechnologies and scientific-technological research have on the promotion of the health and wellbeing of people and the environment.
A total of €147,500 euros in prize money is at stake this year too. The top two schools will win an advanced bio-laboratory (worth 50,000 and 25,000 euros respectively) and the supply of consumables (worth up to 5,000 and 2,500 euros a year, respectively, for 5 years, as from 2022). Further, a €15,000 Special Communication Prize - for purchasing small instrumentation and materials for laboratories – will go to the finalist school judged most successful in implementing the concept of eco-sustainability and environmental protection. But this is not all: in recognition of the efforts and excellence of all the schools taking part in the Mad for Science Challenge, Fondazione DiaSorin will also award a Finalists Prize to the teams reaching the final but not winning the prizes described above. This €10,000 prize will enable high school finalists to purchase small instruments and miscellaneous materials for their laboratories.
The winners of the 6th edition
Out of eight competing high schools, the winner of the 2022 Mad for Science Challenge is the Liceo Scientifico Segrè in Mugnano, Naples. The sixth edition of the national competition, developed by DiaSorin and for the past two years promoted by Fondazione DiaSorin, has rewarded the school’s passion for science, talent and teamwork dedicated to “Science and biotechnology at the service of people and the environment”, the theme of this year.
The Liceo Scientifico Segrè in Mugnano, Naples has been awarded €75,000 to implement its own school bio laboratory thanks to the "Extremophiles for future: Hot Enzymes vs Global Warming" project dedicated to the study and application of enzymes isolated by extremophile bacteria which live in the Pozzuoli solfatara. Chaired by Francesca Pasinelli, President of Fondazione DiaSorin and General Manager of Fondazione Telethon, the jury comprised Andrea Ballabio, Director of TIGEM - Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine, Irene Bozzoni, Professor of molecular biology at La Sapienza University of Rome, Barbara Gallavotti, journalist, author and scientific disseminator, Carlo Mazzone, global teacher and prize ambassador and Ruggero Pardi, Professor of general pathology at the Vita-Salute University of San Raffaele in Milan.
Second in the ranking is the Liceo Scientifico Marconi – Lussu of San Gavino Monreale which has been awarded €37,500 for their "Helichrysum: the sunflower, remedy and resource" project, an interdisciplinary journey towards the environmental requalification of a decommissioned mining site via the cultivation of sunflowers. (helichrysum)
Thirdly, the Istituto di Istruzione Superiore in Pescara receives a Communication Award of €15,000 for their "Heavy Metal Mushrooms” project aimed at isolating mushroom strains and using them for the bioremediation of soils polluted by heavy metals.
Lastly, a sum of €10,000 has been awarded to each of the following schools for having carried out important, first-rate work: The Istituto Superiore Sobrero in Casale Monferrato, the Liceo Marie Curie in Meda, the IISS Galileo Ferraris in Molfetta, the Liceo Statale Ettore Majorana in Rho and the IIS CECCHI in Pesaro.
The Liceo Scientifico Segrè in Mugnano, Naples has been entered in the Challenge’s roll of honour, joining the winners of the previous five editions: Liceo Valsalice in Turin (2021), Liceo Scientifico Buonarroti in Pisa (2020), Istituto Ariosto Spallanzani in Reggio Emilia (2019), Istituto Statale Monti in Asti (2018) and IIS Pellati (scientific studies Galilei) in Nizza Monferrato (AT) (2017).