Technical University of Denmark: Roskilde Festival and DTU award sustainability prize

Since 2010, a group of DTU students have used Roskilde Festival as an outdoor laboratory for testing new technologies that can make the festival more sustainable. This year, the partnership between DTU and Roskilde Festival has acquired a new dimension, as—for the first time—they have awarded a special prize to young research talents in the competition ‘Young Researchers’, targeted at students in qualifying general and vocational upper secondary education programmes.

The prize is awarded to a project that uses natural sciences and technology to find solutions that can contribute to sustainable change in society. With the prize, DTU and Roskilde Festival want to strengthen their joint work for sustainable change in society and honour young people who wish to make a difference in society.

At a ceremony in April, three upper secondary school students from Egå Gymnasium—Christoffer Schneider, Suruthiga Ravichandran, and Riber Neubauer—received the ‘Empower future sustainability’ prize for their project entitled ‘Saltwater Batteries: A Sustainable Solution to Energy Storage?’

“The ‘Young Researchers’ competition shows young people that they can make a difference through natural sciences and technology. It creates role models that young people can be inspired by, and I also believe that it gives the participants a really good experience, which strengthens their enthusiasm for natural sciences and technology,” says Lars D. Christoffersen, Senior Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs.

An obvious partnership
According to Lars D. Christoffersen, it made a lot of sense for DTU and Roskilde Festival to join forces to establish a sustainability prize after 11 years of collaboration:

“Both Roskilde Festival and DTU work for a sustainable development and want to promote young people’s interest in sustainability. By collaborating on the special Young Researchers prize, we send clear signals to young people—from both a culture and festival perspective and a research and education perspective,” he explains.

At Roskilde Festival, there is also satisfaction with the joint prize, which has been underway long before it became clear that this year’s festival would have to be cancelled. According to Sanne Stephansen, Head of Roskilde Festival’s Sustainability Programme, it has been fantastic to see the DTU students’ drive, energy, and inventiveness unfold in the use of their prototypes as part of the festival’s urban community of 130,000 people. She sees the awarding of the prize as a natural development, both in the partnership with DTU and as part of Roskilde Festival’s own focus on sustainability:

“In many ways, Roskilde Festival is a platform for young people’s thoughts on how to create change in society. Learning and innovation in collaboration with students and educational institutions also contain a huge potential for change, and it therefore makes a lot of sense for us to partner up with DTU on the new special prize.”

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