Constitution of the European Union Science Olympiad (EUSO)
(This 2016 edition of the EUSO Constitution is based upon and reflects the philosophy, principals, structure, rules and regulations of the first EUSO Constitution devised and published in 2000 in five European Union languages by Dr. Michael A. Cotter, Founder of the EUSO. Since the establishment of the EUSO he has proposed and implemented a number of minor changes to the original Constitution. The EUSO Constitution has been cited in a number of post-graduate theses and academic publications).
1 – Mission Statement
The European Union Science Olympiad (EUSO) is a multidisciplinary, integrated science, practical-based, team competition for European Union (EU) second level school science students who are sixteen years of age or younger on December 31st prior to the competition. It provides young EU students with a platform to display their scientific capabilities, challenges and stimulates gifted EU science students to develop their talents and to promote their career as scientists, provides invaluable experience for EU students who may take part in the subject based international Science Olympiads, offers the opportunity to compare the syllabi and educational trends in science education within the EU member states which could help improve science education at national levels.
The EUSO Tasks (experiments) are intellectually challenging and demand teamwork. They integrate the sciences biology, chemistry and physics across the disciplines. They are problem oriented, context-based, relevant and connected to the real world. The tasks engage all the team members and foster their ability of cooperative problem solving. They are self-directed in terms of pace, direction and outcomes. They involve the construction of knowledge and higher-order thinking. They require the interpretation of experimental data, facilitate the manipulation of information and ideas, encourage substantive communication between the team members and often allow for alternative solutions.
Objectives of the EUSO
– to stimulate the active interest of students in the sciences and challenge science students to develop their talents.
– to promote and reward the pursuit of excellence in scientific endeavour by selecting the top young EU science student teams at the annual EUSO.
– to prepare EU science students for the subject based international Science Olympiads.
– to develop problem based material on experimental integrated science that may be used in EU secondary schools.
– to encourage greater contact and co-operation between secondary school students and teachers from the EU and to exchange ideas and materials about science education among EU states.
– to convey to students, schools and the community the importance of advanced study and progressive learning in science and – to raise interest in pursuing technical and scientific career paths.
– to encourage an appreciation of the value of science amongst the wider community and to foster a positive and high profile image of science and scientists.
– to provide an opportunity to foster European identity among EU students and mentors.
2 – EUSO Eligible Countries
The EUSO is open to all member states of the European Union (EU) only.
The Ministry of Education/Science in the eligible country wishing to participate in the EUSO must nominate a Country Coordinator for the EUSO and communicate the name and contact details to the EUSO President.
3 – EUSO Host Country and Invitation
The EUSO is carried out in one of the participating countries every year in spring no later than end of April.
The EUSO is organised by the Ministry for Education of the hosting country, called the Organiser.
The International Board of the EUSO (see 7) evaluates the applications of countries offering to host the EUSO and decides on the future host countries.
The Organiser of the EUSO has to ensure equal participation of all eligible countries. It invites all EU member states, which have either participated fully in or sent an observer to the EUSO in at least one of the three years prior to the competition, to send a full delegation. All other EU countries should be invited to send an observer.
The Organiser may invite Guest Delegations from the host country. The student teams of the Guest Delegations participate in the competition as additional teams. They may be awarded medals but their results are not considered during the determination of the numbers of gold, silver and bronze medals.
At least nine months prior to the EUSO the Organiser sends an official invitation to the Minister of Education/Science of the EUSO member countries and the Ministry of Education/Science of the non-participating countries.
The invited countries must confirm their participation six months prior to the EUSO.
Each participating EU-country is expected to indicate as soon as possible when it will host the EUSO.
In the event of the EUSO being cancelled all participating EU countries including those countries that had agreed to send an observer will be invited to send full delegations to the next EUSO.
4 – EUSO National Delegations
Each invited country may send a full delegation consisting of at most two teams of three science students each accompanied by a number of mentors. An EU country not eligible to send a full delegation may send an observer.
Students and Teams
Students must be 16 years of age or younger on December 31st of the year prior to the competition and attend a second level school (corresponding to ISCED level 2 or 3) in the country they participate for.
Each student may participate twice at most in the EUSO.
Teams are composed of three students each, called Team A and Team B and are formed in such a way that it has expertise in the areas of biology, chemistry and physics.
The responsibility for the selection of the team members lies with each Country Coordinator. The selection is carried out in such a way that all eligible students of the country have the chance to compete for participation in the EUSO.
Mentors and Country Coordinators
The students are accompanied by at least one and up to three Mentors which share between them expertise in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Each delegation may include up to two additional Mentors, who must to pay a participation fee determined by the Organiser.
One of the mentors of each delegation is the Country Coordinator (nominated by the Minister of Education/Science).
The Country Coordinator is the head of the national delegations. The main duties of the Country Coordinators are:
– – to act as contact person of the country until the next EUSO.
– – to ensure that participation of their country in the EUSO is arranged.
– – to select students to represent their country at the EUSO.
– – to confirm that Mentors have been appointed and to provide them with all relevant information on the next EUSO.
The role of the Observers is to observe the running of all aspects of the EUSO. This should serve as a preparation for a future participation in or organisation of the EUSO.
Observers may attend all International Board meetings in a non-voting capacity.
Observers must pay a participation fee determined by the Organiser.
If possible, the Organiser should also allow countries participating with a full delegation to bring additional Observers who act as translators.
5 – Obligations of the EUSO Organiser
The Organiser of a future hosting country confirms to the EUSO President at least two years in advance that it accepts the responsibility for the organisation of the EUSO.
For the management of the EUSO the Organiser must appoint:
– – a Director with overall responsibility over the event.
– – a Scientific Committee together with a chairperson for this committee.
– – an Organising Committee together with a chairperson for this committee.
The Organiser of the host country is obliged to organise the EUSO according to the Constitution of the EUSO and to follow established practices of the EUSO.
Prior to or at the preceding EUSO, the next Organiser must announce the exact date of the EUSO and give a detailed report to the International Board on the progress towards the preparation of the EUSO. The subsequent organisers should, if possible, also announce the date and location of the subsequent EUSO.
The Organiser is obliged to invite the EUSO President on an inspection visit and consultation on the level of preparation three to six months prior to the EUSO. The expenses must be borne by the Organiser.
The Organiser must provide for the period of the EUSO:
– – a detailed programme of the EUSO for Students and Mentors/Observers.
– – suitable accommodation and subsistence for each delegation.
– – transport from and to the designated Port, Airport or Bus/Rail station to the venue of the competition as well as transports during the official programme.
– – rooms for the discussion, translation and evaluation of the tasks.
– – laboratories, materials and other amenities necessary for the competition.
– – suitable measures to ensure the health and safety of the delegations.– at least one team guide for two student teams.
– – a cultural and social programme.
– – medals and certificates for all participants.
After the EUSO the Director must send the final tasks, answer sheets, solutions and marking schemes to the EUSO President with the full results of each team. The original scripts remain in the possession of the Organiser for a period of one year.
The Director is responsible for providing a written report on the EUSO to the International Board during the following EUSO. The report should be in electronic form and should include
– – the names and roles of all participants at the EUSO.
– – the tasks, their solutions and the marking scheme.
– – statistics on the results including a summary of the results for each task, a comparison of results before and after moderation and the final ranking of all medallists. The results of the bronze medallists should only be given without team and country names.
information on the programme.
– – an account of important decisions of the International Board during the EUSO.
– – any other information deemed interesting or important.
6 – EUSO Financial Matters
The total cost of running the EUSO is borne by the Organiser.
Each participating country must pay the travel expenses of their delegation to the designated Port, Airport or Bus/Rail station in the host country.
Each participating country must provide adequate travel, medical and other insurance cover for its entire delegation.
Additional Mentors and Observers must pay the participation fee determined by the Organiser in the official invitation letter.
The travel expenses of the EUSO President should be borne by the Organiser.
7 – EUSO International Board
The International Board of the EUSO consists of all Country Coordinators and Mentors participating in the EUSO, the EUSO President and the EUSO Vice-Presidents.
Meetings of the International Board are held during the EUSO and are chaired by the EUSO President or his/her nominee.
The International Board members are obliged to:
– – inspect the equipment used in the experiments (and if possible the laborities)
– – discuss and approve the tasks, the solutions and the marking scheme in the presence of the Scientific Committee.
– – translate the tasks into the native language of their students.
– – grade their students’ solutions according to the agreed marking scheme.
– – exchange team results with the chairman of the Scientific Committee at an agreed time.
– – moderate their students’ results.
– – approve the final results of the evaluation
– – decide on the number of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals to be awarded
– – to resolve all other issues in relation to the tasks and the marking
– – approve changes to the EUSO
– – to take appropriate actions including the expulsion of teams or delegations from the competitions in the event of a breach of the rules
– – guarantee that the rules of the EUSO are upheld
Decisions in the International Board are taken by vote. Each country has one vote. In case of a tied vote, the chairperson has the casting vote.
Decisions concerning changes to the Constitution require a two-thirds majority in the presence of at least 75% of the countries participating in the EUSO.
Decisions concerning changes to the Guidelines, Rules and Regulations require a simple majority in the presence of at least 75% of the countries participating in the EUSO.
8 – EUSO President and Vice-Presidents
The office of the EUSO President is largely honorary and ceremonial in nature.
– – to be an ex-officio member of all EUSO committees.
– – to ensure that the EUSO Constitution is upheld.
– – to convene and chair International Board meetings.
– – to support Organisers in the preparation for the EUSO.
– – to organise the election of the Vice-Presidents (if necessary).
Prior to the EUSO the EUSO President should:
– – visit the host country three to six months before the EUSO to evaluate the level of preparation, give advice to the Director and report to the Country Coordinators on the level of preparedness.
– – arrive at the EUSO location one day prior to the beginning of the EUSO and support the Director in the final preparation for the event.
– – support the Director at the opening and closing ceremony.
Election of the EUSO President*
The election of the President is conducted by a Committee of 3 CC’s/Mentors from different countries who do not have a candidate for the Presidency, called “The Election Committee”.
The EUSO President serves a 3-year term commencing at the conclusion of the EUSO at which he/she was elected. The term of Presidency ends at the end of the EUSO in which a new EUSO President has been elected.
The EUSO President is elected by the International Board and may be re-elected for one additional term only.
Candidates for the office of EUSO President must have participated in all five preceding EUSOs as a CC, Mentor or Director.
Prior to the election of the EUSO President the Election Committee informs the International Board one year in advance that the election of the EUSO President will take place at the next EUSO.
The Election Committee seeks nominations for the Presidency at least six months prior to the election. The candidates must have a proposer and a seconder from two different countries and should confirm in writing to the Election Committee their willingness and ability to server for the five years.
The Candidates for EUSO President should publish a policy platform highlighting their contribution to the EUSO, the proposed improvements and changes to the EUSO they wish to achieve and the direction that they wish to take the EUSO during their term of office.
The Election Committee is responsible for collecting nomination papers of the candidates and distributing the names and support documentation to the Country Coordinators at least one month before the election date.
If the incumbent EUSO President resigns or becomes incapacitated a former Director or a Vice-Presidents who is not a candidate, shall be invited to act as Acting EUSO President in the interim.
(*Note: Dr. Michael A. Cotter, as EUSO founder, has fulfilled the roles of President of the EUSO since 1998. He has worked closely with all the other EUSO Directors to ensure the smooth running of the EUSO and has agreed host countries for future years. In recognition of his unique contribution to the EUSO, it was unanimously agreed at the International Board meeting in 2016 that he remains EUSO President until he voluntarily resigns from his position).
The EUSO Vice-Presidents assist the EUSO President in managing the affairs of the EUSO. The number, role, functions and duties of the EUSO Vice-Presidents are determined by the International Board. The duties of the EUSO Vice-Presidents may include the following activities:
– – support the EUSO President in administrative matters.
– – collect and provide information on the managing of the EUSO.
– – keep up to date the EUSO website.
– – collect and compile information on the tasks and results of the EUSO.
– – publish the EUSO tasks.
– – support the EUSO President regarding financial matters.
– – look for means of sponsoring and other financial support for the EUSO.
– – act as a treasurer for the EUSO.
Election of EUSO Vice-Presidents
Each EUSO Vice-President serves a three-year term commencing at the conclusion of the EUSO in which he/she was elected. The term of vice-presidency ends at the end of the EUSO in which the election for that position took place.
The EUSO Vice-Presidents are elected by the International Board and may be re-elected for one additional term for the same function.
The EUSO Vice-Presidents are elected in a staggered basis if possible so that the terms of the EUSO Vice-Presidents end in different years.
9 – Preparation for the EUSO
In each country participating in the EUSO training or any other special instruction that is carried out for a selected group of 50 or fewer students, containing the EUSO team members, should not be longer than two weeks in duration per school year.
Prior to the EUSO the Organiser should provide hints on topics covered or equipment used in the tasks that students cannot be expected to have encountered at school and/or that is not explained in sufficient detail in the tasks themselves.
10 – General Rules and Structure of the Competition
Structure of the competition
The EUSO competition is carried out within a period of 7/8 days including
– – day of arrival,
– – day for the opening ceremony and the discussion/translation of the first task,
– – day for the Task 1,
– – day for the discussion and translation of the second task,
– – day for the Task 2,
– – day for the moderation of the results,
– – day for closing ceremony and a farewell party,
– – departure day.
In case of a 7-day schedule the last three days may be compressed into 2.
The 2-part competition is spread over 2 days with an interval of at least 1 day.
The business of the EUSO meetings is conducted in English.
The display of national flags and emblems by the delegations at the opening and closing ceremonies is prohibited.
11 – EUSO Tasks, Evaluation and Awards
The Scientific Committee appointed by the Organiser of the hosting country is responsible for preparing the two tasks for the competition.
The Scientific Committee and the International Board agree the final English version of the Tasks
The International Board approve the final English version and all members are obliged to keep secret information about the competition tasks until all students have completed the tasks.
The students’ answers are independently assessed by the Scientific Committee and the respective Mentors.
At an agreed time the Country Coordinator and the Chairman of the Scientific Committee exchange team results. This facilitates the identification of possible common marking discrepancies and speeds-up moderation.
Before the determination of the awards possible discrepancies in the assessment are resolved in the moderation. During the moderation the Mentors of each country are allowed a given amount of time to discuss the scoring of the Scientific Committee with members of this committee. If no consensus can be reached within the allocated time the Mentors may request additional time at the end of the moderation schedule. If no consensus can be reached during the second allocated time, the Mentors may appeal to the EUSO President in the first instance and if not resolved satisfactorily the President may convene a extraordinary International Board meeting where the matter is adjudicated on. International Board makes the final decision.
The final results for each country have to be signed by the Country Coordinator or his/her nominee and a representative of the Scientific Committee.
Where a Country Coordinator or his/her nominee refuses to sign the results sheet of his/her country the Presidents signs the document to avoid delaying the closing ceremony.
Prior to the International Board meeting concerning the allocation of medals the Country Coordinators receive the final scores of their teams for confirmation.
The International Board must not be shown the actual scores of all teams but rather a list of numbers or a graph reflecting the ranking and differences between the team results. The numbers of medals to be awarded are determined on the basis of this data.
The numbers of gold, silver and bronze medals to be awarded are determined by the International Board according to the following percentages
– – Gold medals: approximately 10% of the contestants
– – Silver medals: approximately 30% of the contestants
– – Bronze medals: all remaining contestants
The total number of gold and silver medals combined must not exceed 50% of the total number of medals awarded.
The medals must be awarded during the official closing ceremony of the EUSO and are proclaimed on a team basis.
Bronze medal winners must be announced first in random order. The Silver medal winners must be announced next in reverse order, e.g. the team receiving the lowest score announced first. The Gold medal winners are then announced in reverse order with the top team being the last to be identified.
The team receiving the highest total score receives the Perpetual Challenge Trophy presented to the EUSO by Dr. Michael A. Cotter.
Each contestant receives a Certificate indicating the medal received and each Mentor and Observer must receive a certificate of participation at the EUSO
12 – EUSO Final Regulations
Countries taking part in the competition are obliged to comply with the EUSO Constitution.
Revisions to the Constitution, Guidelines Rules & Regulations become valid only after the completion of the on-going EUSO. Proposal for changes may be submitted to the EUSO President by Country Coordinators at least six months before the International Board meeting at which the changes are to be discussed. An agenda including the proposed changes must be circulated by the EUSO President to all Country Coordinators at least three months prior to the meeting.
The International Board will decide upon any matter that is not included in this document.