The Vernadsky National Student Research Project Contest (further referred to as the Contest) is an educational program, made up of two stages (extramural and intramural), which is also a form of managing students' research work at the interregional level.
The purpose of the Contest is to educate the Russian students spiritually and morally, to encourage their intellectual and creative development by means of investigating the territory of Russia , its unique nature, priceless cultural and historic heritage, customs and traditions of peoples inhabiting our country, together with studying the work of people whose deeds enriched Russia 's cultural and material values. Participation of students from abroad is encouraged.
The Contest's basic purpose is oriented towards adhering of the youth to the traditions of the Russian scientific school, which throughout the years had been acknowledged as the source of the great discoveries and displayed true examples of civil nobility. V. I. Vernadsky occupies a prominent place in the Russian and world culture on the whole, as a creator of the scientific and philosophical doctrine, the noosphere theory, which envisaged the human mind and its great constructive force. This theory could establish logic connections between society and nature, and shoe how these two entities are interacting.
The major theses of the Vernadsky doctrine lay grounds for the international concept of the stable development.
The tasks pursued by the Contest are:
- Providing free access, quality, and efficiency of the education based on developing up-to-date educational technologies within the framework of Russia 's educational system modernization;
- Developing educational programs and methodology, which utilize students' research work as an effective tool for bettering educational process and making it more efficient;
- Arousing students' interest towards the Earth sciences, biosphere; humanity as a whole, its history and culture, simultaneously stimulating students' concern for conducting investigation n the areas which were mostly looked into by V.I.Vernadsky;
- Creating successive educational programs of secondary, supplementary, higher professional education by attracting senior students to conduct research projects;
- Raising the prestige of the fundamental sciences with the secondary school students;
- Acquainting both teachers and students with cultural heritage of the outstanding Russian scientist V.I. Vernadsky;
- Elaborating methodical bases and tools for applied educational and research activity designed for the Russian secondary school students;
- Encouraging high school students from Russian regions to apply for Moscow universities.
The subject for assessment at the Contest are the secondary school students' research projects. These projects must contain: an up-dated knowledge about the matter, awareness of the proper methodology to conduct all necessary experiments, presence of one's own unique data, obtained independently, followed by their analysis, with further conclusions and generalizations.
Administration of the Contest:
The sponsors/founders of the Contest are:
The scientific and methodological supervision of the Contest is performed by the Russian Academy of Science Commission on developing scientific heritage of Vernadsky.
All preparatory work as well as the Contest itself is care of the Lyceum #1553 of the South District branch of the Moscow City Department of Education and of the Youth Creative Vocational Center , based at the Moscow City Palace for Youth Creative Activity.
The Contest is conducted by the Organizational Committee, including the representatives of the sponsoring organizations. For analysis of the project papers the Organizational Committee forms a Counsel of Experts, which consists of professionals in the fields of science under consideration.
The order of participation in the Contest:
The Contest is held in two rounds:
Ist round is extramural (October 17, 2006 — January 15, 2007): analysis of the projects submitted to the Organizational Committee.
IInd round is intramural (April 2007): XIV National Vernadsky Junior Readings are held for those who have successfully passed the Ist round.
The first round accepts methodologically correct papers, containing a hypothesis to be proved or denied, with all obtained data processed, analyzed, and interpreted, and a thorough literature review on the topic attached. The list of topics to be presented at the Contest is not limited. The object of research must be clearly defined (it may be a concrete village, valley, water reservoir, mountain, settlement, architectural complex, social group, psychological problem, etc.) The students' independent work on location or with authentic material is compulsory and its results must also be incorporated in the paper.
The areas, traditionally covered by the Contest, are the following:
- Space Science-astronomy, planet science, cosmonautics, physics of the atmosphere, etc.
- Earth Science-geology, geography, mineralogy, landscape studies, meteorology, climatology, etc.
- Water Reservoir Science-hydrology, limnology, hydrography, ocean science, hydrobiology, etc.
- Botany-vegetation studies, botany, plant geography, agronomy, forest studies, lichenology, bryology, etc.
- Zoology-animal studies, ornithology, ichthyology, entomology, wildlife ecology, etc.
- Study of pollution-the sources of habitat pollution (water, soil, air, cities included) and control of the process
- Healthcare and Medicine-physiology of the humans and vertebrates, pharmacology, ophthalmology, hygiene, healthcare studies, etc.
- Microbiology-bacteriology, protozoology, mycetology, algology, (of the microscopic waterweeds), cell biology, plant physiology, etc.
The natural science section does not include such traditional areas as «mathematics», «physics», «chemistry», «computer science», «engineering and technologies», as well as combined interdisciplinary projects. Research papers, containing elements of mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc. are considered if their content is relevant to one of the areas assigned. The «Earth Science» section will consider ГИС projects.
- Social Science (subsections: «Aspects of the national history», «Aspects of the world history and philosophy», «Aspects of the regional studies», «Spiritual aspect of regional studies», «A personality in the national history», «Economics, law, and social studies», «Archaeology»);
- Folk Culture (subsections: «Folklore and ethnography», «Russian rural history and culture», «History of dialects and onomatology»);
- A personality in the modern world (subsections «A human being in the world of nature», «A human being in the world of people',» «People's inner world», «Ethnopsychology»);
- Psychophysiology and human health issues;
- Art and literature (subsections: «Literary criticism and art criticism»);
- Linguistics. The role of languages in our life;
- Cultural studies and philosophy;
- The history of science.
The Contest welcomes both independent young researchers and research groups. Should there be more than one author, it is to be reflected in the paper what contribution each member of the group has made in terms of gathering information, processing it and obtaining results. The projects may be presented by secondary schools, lyceums, gymnasia, institutions for children's extended education, other organizations, as well as personally by the author.
One organization is allowed to submit up to 5 projects.
Abstracts, descriptive essays, as well as projects completed for participation in other contests held nationwide, will not be considered.
Assessment is based on the following parameters:
- Relevance of the contents to the topic of the research work and the objective and the tasks set; the proper structure of the paper;
- The presence of the thorough literature review;
- The correct methodology of the research, author's awareness about acceptable deviations from the chosen methodology;
- The actuality of the problem;
- Relevance of the conclusions drawn with the results obtained;
- Keeping to the format of the paper.
Special awards go to:
- the best project based on the Ist round results;
- the best research conducted on the premises of a wildlife refuge or a national park;
- the best interdisciplinary project;
- the most actual topic investigated;
- the best project presented by a village school.
In order to participate in the Contest the students are to present their project through the Contest's website. It is required to register on site, then fill out the forms in the «Participant's personal study» section and to submit the paper with all additional materials attached no later than January 15 2007. The written part of the project should not exceed 5 printed pages, font 14, interval 1.5 (which approximately equals 1000 figures); illustrations-no more than three A4 format pages; summary of the research work-half a page in Russian and in English (approximately 1000 figures).
The projects from the areas, which do not have Internet access, may be sent via e-mail (from the head post office) or in a registered letter (with a disc containing the electronic version of the project in MS Word format). As an exception, when it is completely impossible to submit an electronic version of the project, its word-processed copy will be accepted.
Projects completed in Russian and in English are considered.
The projects which failed to meet the January 15 deadline will be considered next year.
An Internet conference will open to discuss the projects arriving to the Contest.
The projects submitted will not be returned to the author.
The closing Procedure
The results of the Ist round are to be announced before March 20 2007 by the Counsel of Experts. Each project receives a review which is sent to the author.
The participants, who obtained an appreciative review, and their supervisors are invited to participate in the IInd round-the XIV Vernadsky Junior Readings to be held in April 2006. Invitation letters are sent out to institutions, where the project had been completed no later than April 1, 2007.
The winners of the IInd round are awarded with diplomas from sponsors, they receive presents. The most interesting projects will be published in the Contest almanac. The best research projects are to be delegated to the National Contest of the Research Projects.