On 22 March the Executive Board approved the result of the selection committee for this year’s Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students. The 2013 Laureate is Juho Terrijärvi from the University of Turku and the selection committee’s recommendation follows here:
ARENBERG-COIMBRA GROUP PRIZE FOR ERASMUS STUDENTS 2013
This year there were nineteen nominations from ten universities for the Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students. The selection committee consisted of Professors Jean-Marie Boisson from the University of Montpellier, Ain Heinaru from the University of Tartu, and Dorothy Kelly from the University of Granada (chair).
The selection committee for the 2013 Arenberg Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students is pleased unanimously to nominate Juho Terrijärvi of the University of Turku (Finland) for this year’s award. Mr Terrijärvi spent his Erasmus exchange at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) during the early months of his Master’s programme in Biotechnology.
During his Erasmus exchange, Mr Terrijärvi took courses in Biotechnology and Chemistry, but very especially was able to join a research project allowing him to acquire considerable experience and expertise in laboratory techniques involving the cultivation of human cancer cells. This laboratory expertise was crucial to his later applying and being selected for a six-month internship at the pharmaceutical company Merck Serono in Darmstadt, where he carried out the research which has formed the basis of his Master’s thesis entitled “Validating uncoordinated 51-like kinase as an oncological target”. The dissertation is devoted to the study of the inhibition of autophagy through the blockage of ULK1 kinase as a potential cancer therapy.
In his application, Mr Terrijärvi outlines the multiple benefits reaped from his Erasmus experience firstly for his Master’s thesis and more broadly for his later academic career. While the actual academic content of his study programme in Heidelberg and the way in which it offered a sound complement to his home course in Turku is underscored as a central element, he also stresses the benefits gained in other areas of competence. In particular, he speaks highly of the importance of the improvement in his language ability in German, in his knowledge of German culture and in his ability to work and live in a different cultural and linguistic environment. Similarly, he explains how the exchange experience offered him a context in which to develop greater personal initiative and autonomy, together with international networking opportunities. He considers that the combination of all these aspects was an essential turning point in his academic and professional career: “without the exchange there would not have been the Master’s thesis”.
Mr Terrijärvi’s application is an excellent all-round example of taking full advantage of the opportunities offered for academic, professional, cultural, linguistic and personal growth during an Erasmus exchange. There is no doubt that these were all essential elements in his obtaining a subsequent industrial placement in Germany to carry out the research on which his Master’s thesis is based, and later his current post at his home University, where he continues to work in international research teams in his field of Biotechnology.
The Committee would like to congratulate Mr Terrijärvi on submitting the application which best justified the added value of the Erasmus experience for his Master’s degree work. We would further like to congratulate the other 18 candidates for this year’s award, all of whom are excellent young international researchers in their fields, and worthy ambassadors of the Coimbra Group universities where they took their degrees and undertook their exchange periods. Regulations
Arenberg - Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students 2012
On 30 May at the 2012 General Assembly of the Coimbra Group at the University of Göttingen the Duke of Arenberg presented Júlia Tóth-Czifra with the 2012 Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students. The speech delivered by Duke Léopold of Arenberg is available in a PDF format below.
Dear Duke of Arenberg,
Dear General Assembly,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an exceptional moment for me, standing here in front of you at the famous University of Göttingen, which has a great, rich and fascinating history so please overlook my embarrassment.
After I received the first notice about the prize, the only thing I was sure of that I would love to travel to Göttingen by train. Travelling by train means a concentrated, intensified journey for me, like a moving study in which I have no other task than to look, to see, to learn and to make Europe my own.
Spending a semester in Leiden as an Erasmus exchange student was quite similar to travelling by train. Being there was like owning a moving room, an amazingly equipped, fabulous study where I received every conceivable help to work and to become absorbed in my research. But, at the same time, my room, my imaginary study was moving, bringing me around all those wondrous scholars: my professors, and all the libraries, collections, concert halls, and texts, of course, lots of texts, and my only task was to collect as much knowledge as possible.
In his novel Esti Kornél the Hungarian writer Dezső Kosztolányi stated: to travel is to be. One might say then: to be a European is to travel constantly, and yet, while travelling, always to be at home. A never-ending journey at home.
Thus, the Coimbra Group and the Arenberg Foundation fulfil the noblest duty: they make travelling possible in its literal and figurative sense, as well, and the member universities help young scholars to learn how to return, again and again, and how to return properly, with due respect, to these ever-new, but still, always already familiar cultural spaces. This is one of the greatest values, the greatest assets to transmit. I am deeply grateful for that.
Dear Duke of Arenberg, dear Coimbra Group. I am honoured that you decided it was me who deserved Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize this year. I hope I can earn your trust by becoming a both physically and spiritually inexhaustible, respectful and committed traveller of Europe and European culture.
Thank you very much.
Arenberg - Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students 2011
The 2011 Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students was awarded to Francesco Lubian from the University of Padova. The selection committee established by the Executive Board has scrutinised the nominations submitted by Coimbra Group Universities and has nominated Francesco Lubian as this year’s Laureate with the full approval of the Executive Board.
The Prince of Arenberg handed over the Prize to Francesco Lubian in Padova in the afternoon of 26 May on the occasion of the Coimbra Group General Assembly.
In their nomination of Francesco Lubian the selection committee wrote:
Francesco Lubian writes about his visit to Heidelberg in an enthusiastic, lively, and very convincing way. He tells us about his motives, his experiences, his teachers, both Italian and German, the opening hours of the university library in Heidelberg, the number of books he was allowed to consult at a time, and his initial fear to speak German. He also includes a couple of paragraphs from the introduction to his Master thesis, showing the reader his approach to Prudentius’ Dittochaeon and the methodology he has adopted.
For all of these reasons the selection committee has decided to nominate Francesco Lubian for the Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students 2011. The committee expresses its gratefulness to the University of Padova for nominating him, to the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg for hosting him, and, last but not least, to Francesco Lubian himself for giving us such a beautiful description of what an Erasmus exchange visit can mean to a young and talented researcher.
Arenberg - Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students 2010
On 23 March 2010 Mr Alessandro De Bortoli from the University of Padova was selected as the winner of the 2010 Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students. The Recommendation from the Selection Committee was the following:
This year, in the face of some stiff competition, the Committee and the Executive Board of the Coimbra Group agreed to award the Arenberg Prize to Alessandro De Bortoli, University of Padova. He is the first medical student to win the award. He went to the University of Bergen for part of his studies as a very deliberate decision to move to a part of Europe very different from his previous experience in Italy, and to test the meaning of a European research area in his own life. Not only did he come to a very vivid appreciation of the value to his own research of this European experience; it has also created very practical outcomes for the treatment of those with certain cardiological problems in Italy, a true trans-European advance which we regarded as eminently worthy of the award.
The award was presented to Alessandro De Bortoli at a ceremony at the University Foundation in Brussels on 3 June 2010 by H.S.H. the Prince of Arenberg.
Alessandro De Bortoli:
"The Arenberg Prize had a profound meaning for me, especially because of the time of my life in which it happened to me. I have indeed just moved my life permanently to Norway where I aim to give continuity to my Erasmus experience and my thesis work. The Award that I have received today is an important confirmation that I am on the right track and this provides me comfortable support for my recent demanding choices of life.
I thank the Prince Léopold and the whole Coimbra Group for having given me the possibility to compete with other exchange students and for the appreciation shown for my work. I am committed to pay back Your trust by becoming a life-long ambassador for the Erasmus programme."
The Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students will be awarded annually and is of the value of € 5,000. Applications should be sent to the Coimbra Group representative of the candidate’s university.
Articles by winners of the Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students: