Avanti Sharma in Porto;

From 1-3-June 2023, five young scientists represented Luxembourg at the 17th Mostra Nacional de Ciênca (National Science Expo) in Porto, with the support of the Fondation Jeunes Scientifiques Luxembourg (FJSL). 

Five individual research and innovation projects from Luxembourg were exhibited among 69 other competing stands at the Alfândega Congress Centre: one of them won the one and only prize dedicated to international delegations... Last March, Avanti Sharma (16), won her ticket to the Mostra in Porto thanks to her outstanding performance at the Luxembourg "Jonk Fuerscher" National Competition with her cybersecurity project entitled "Studified - A software process for verifying student identities online" . She has now returned from Portugal with her precious "honourable award" and the sum of €500.

The starting point for Avanti's idea was a frightening statistic: 37% of young Europeans between the ages of 10 and 18 have already been bullied on social networks by strangers, usually older than themselves. To reinforce online security, our impressive student from the European School Luxembourg 1 proposed a new digital identity verification protocol based on a "plugin". This external software module, called "Studified", which she designed and developed herself, aims to guarantee young social network users that they are indeed conversing with other students, and not with ill-intentioned adults posing as them. In concrete terms, the plugin will issue a digital "student" badge on users' profiles, with the help of an authoritative institution such as possibly the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.

Beyond the award, this experience was for Avanti: "a wonderful journey during which I met so many kind-encouraging-authentic people and made so many new friends...". 

She will now concentrate on bringing her prototype to the market, along with all the necessary standardisation (https://workshop4me.org/avanti).

The 17th Mostra Nacional de Ciênca was the culmination of the 31st Portuguese National Competition for Young Scientists, organised by the Fundação da Juventude. The competition aims to promote the ideals of cooperation and exchange between young scientists, and to foster the emergence of young talent in the fields of Science, Technology, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Five prizes (ranging from €400 to €1,250) were awarded to projects in the national category, while a single prize (€500) was dedicated to the international category.