Discover the new generation of the Flemish PhD Cup

Did you know that due to climate change, more and more exotic fungi appear on our agricultural lands? Or was the world’s smallest surgical robot for sinus operations developed in a laboratory in Leuven? And have you heard of LiFi, ultra-fast wireless internet via LED light?

These are just three themes out of the sixteen remarkable studies that made it choose the 2021 Flemish Doctoral Cup. Through this competition, SciMingo invites scholars to share the essence of their many years of doctoral research with the world.

The clock is running
“Science Its goal can only be achieved if its results are also disseminated to a wider audience, ”explains educational scientist Elaine Bellon (KU Leuven) her participation in the competition. Unfortunately, often scientists reach their colleagues only with the results of their research. The PhD Cup aims to change that. Thanks to its media partners Radio 1, Eos, VRT Taal, and youth press agency StampMedia, it offers participating researchers a megaphone, albeit with a timer on hand. For example, Bellon and her fellow candidates have only three minutes to explain their research in an interesting and understandable way.

Media School
To prepare them for this, participants follow a Media training for four days. This is important, says VRT science journalist Quinn Waters: “Many researchers are reluctant to talk about their work due to a lack of experience and training. With training and mentoring, researchers can build confidence and develop their communication skills.” Along with experts like news ombudsman Tim Bowles and photography coach Gina Peters, Waters will teach participants how to clearly present their complex research and how to challenge press interviews with ease.

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Exam at the trade fair
The epilogue will follow on October 11 at Ghent Handelsbeurs. In the final, the top eight researchers compete against each other live, meeting a jury that includes: Levine Vandenhout (Radio 1), Katelyn Brack (University of Flanders) and Professor Dr. Christoph Vandewever (Academy Jung-Jung) must be persuaded. The winner will receive a course at Vlerick Business School worth €5,000 and be allowed to deliver a video lecture at the University of Flanders. The final can be attended live and can also be watched live on

A ten-member jury selected these 16 researchers from among 56 nominees: Julie Legrand (Robotics Engineer, KU Leuven/FWO), Hans Gerstmanns (Microbiologist, KU Leuven-UGent/FWO), Jasper van Horek (Chemical, UGent-VUB/FWO), Matthias Berlinck (Biomedical Engineer, UGent), Martha Claes (philosopher UAntwerp/FWO), Chanel Demiliore (historian KU Leuven), Benjamin Classiness (bio-ingenieur, VUB), Jonas Vandyk (Bioengineer, UGent), Glen Kikins (Psychologist, KU Leuven/FWO), Yousra Benfquih (Rechtsswetenschapper, UAntwerp/FWO), Ben Somers (Biomedical Engineer, KU Leuven/FWO), Philip Hejdorens (Medical World, UAntwerp), Elaine Bailon (Teacher, KU Leuven), Jonah Business (engineer KU Leuven/FWO), Sophie Clairhout (Forensic Scientist, KU Leuven/FWO) and Robin Bunye (Biophysicist, Uhasselt/FWO).

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