What is the Barcelona International Youth Science Challenge (BIYSC)?

BIYSC is a two-week international summer science program that aims to stimulate scientific talent among young people from all over the world. It is meant to encourage their enthusiasm for pursuing scientific research and careers in science. BIYSC is intended for 100 undergraduate students from 16 to 18 years old. It has been designed with the aim to offer the participants a world-class experience by allowing them to work in English in small groups, on different scientific and technological challenges proposed by international research centers based in Catalonia, who are involved in cutting-edge research. The program also offers their participants the possibility to enjoy the company of peers that share their same passion, attending scientific lectures given by leading researchers, and debating and discussing with them the most successful discoveries and scientific advances that are taking place worldwide.

How is the program developed?

The second edition of the BIYSC will take place in Barcelona from July 9th to 20th 2018. During the 12-day program, students participate in one of the 10 research projects offered (10 students per project), and work with the scientists on their project of choice. The academic program is demanding, about 6 hours a day. This does not mean that there is no time for other activities or free time; but BIYSC is not a normal summer camp, here participants have to work hard and at the end they will appreciate how much they have learned.

The research projects offered at BIYSC encompass different areas of theoretical and experimental sciences, such as: physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, technology, biomedicine, biochemistry, genetics, neuroscience, robotics, nanotechnology, astrophysics, biotechnology, engineering, etc. The projects’ content is adapted to students aged between 16 to 18 years-old (10th to 12th grade*) and the vehicular language of all projects is English. Each project is led by a team of scientists, who will be the responsible for guiding the students through their research and to transmit their passion for science and encourage, engage, and stimulate the participants’ scientific interest and abilities.

Besides the research activities, there will be also conferences given by invited speakers and leisure activities (out-door games, touristic visits, excursions, movies, debates, etc). The staff team of the program will lead most of the leisure activities. Finally, the Opening and the Closing Ceremonies will take place at the start and at the end of the program, respectively; and the last day of the campus the participants also present their project to the rest of the groups and parents attending.

* Grades corresponding to 4th grade of ESO, 1st and 2nd grade of baccalaureate in Spain.

Where is the BIYSC held?

The activities within the two-week program will be concentrated in Barcelona and Món Sant Benet (outskirts of Barcelona).

The first days of the program (from July 9th to 17th 2018), the accommodation is in La Ciutadella Residence Hall, right next to the heart of Barcelona downtown. During these days, participants take part in the different research projects, which are held in the research centers distributed around the city. All leisure activities during those days also take place in Barcelona, and the Opening Ceremony is held at the UNESCO World Heritage Site La Pedrera (Casa Milà), the headquarters of Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation.

The last three days of the program (from July 18th to 20th 2018), the accommodation is in Món Sant Benet, a beautiful four-star hotel and conference center 40 km away from Barcelona, surrounded by nature. In there, participants have the opportunity to enjoy from the BIYSCience Sessions, scientific dissemination lectures and debates; as well as they make the final presentation of their project’s results before the Closing Ceremony on the last day of the campus, when families and researchers are invited to attend. 

Find out here more information about the Accommodation.

What about the Nutrition and Healht program, will it be the same?

No, the Nutrition and Health program will have some differences from the other projects carried out in BIYSC. In the Nutrition and Health program the students will work throughout the day in Món Sant Benet, unlike the BIYSC they will work in the research centers. In the Nutrition and Health program the students will share the sessions with some different centers (one full day each) and will be coordinated directly from Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation, unlike the BIYSC students will work for 12 days with the same research center and with the same scientists who coordinate the specific program. In the Nutrition and Health program participants will live in Món Sant Benet, unlike the BIYSC who will live in Barcelona.  

The students selected for the Nutrition and Health International Youth Challenge will be accommodated in Hotel Món Sant Benet from Monday 9th to Thursday 12th, and from Tuesday 17th to Friday 20th 2018. During these days, participants will work with the project in Món Sant Benet lecture rooms and in Alícia Foundation labs. The Opening Ceremony is held, the first day of the program, at the UNESCO World Heritage Site La Pedrera (Casa Milà), the headquarters of the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation.  

From Friday 13th to Monday 16th 2018 they will join other BIYSC participants in the La Ciutadella Residence Hall, they will attend some lab sessions in IDIBAPS and University of Vic - Central University of Catalunya, and they will enjoy leisure activities around Barcelona.

A maximum of 25 students will be selected to participate in this project.

What is the cost to participate at BIYSC?

The cost assumed by the student for the participation at BIYSC is 2,150€. The total cost of the stay includes: accommodation and meals from July 9th to 20th 2018, the material used in each of the projects, transportation to the research centers, activities and programmed visits, remuneration of the researchers, lecturers and staff, and accident and civil responsibility insurance.

Participants are responsible for seeking financial assistance to support their attendance. Nevertheless, as BIYSC selection process is based on the qualities of the candidates, no student will be excluded from the program for an economic reason. Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation will consider providing scholarships for local students with difficulties to meet the cost of tuition. Please, contact us if this is your situation.

Find out here more information about the Payment Conditions.

What are the requirements to attend BIYSC?

  • Date of birth between January 1st 2000 and December 31st 2002.
  • Good academic record, which must be accompanied by an eagerness and motivation to participate in the program. We look for talented and curious young people who, apart from having good academic results, have a genuine interest for scientific research.
  • Good command of English language.
  • Intention to pursue a career in science.
  • Commitment to make the most of the opportunities offered by the program. 

Find out here more information about the Candidates’ Profile.

How are the participants chosen?

We look for young people with interest, curiosity and commitment to science. To find them, we are guided by the personal statement and motivation letter that applicants write and where we expect them to show their interest in science, their personal and school projects (hobbies, participation in science contests or fairs, awards received, reading habits, musical instruments that they play, etc.) and everything they consider to make them perfect candidates for this opportunity. Are also important the answers to the questions in the application form, as well as academic record, and the assessment and feedback received from the school teachers on charge of the recommendations.

Find out here more information about the Selection Process.

Do participants need to know English?

English is very important in science and it is the only vehicular language during the program. Therefore, it is an essential point for the selection and absolutely necessary to attend BIYSC.

Do I get a certificate of attendance?

Yes, all participants are issued with a certificate after completing the program.

Can I get a supporting letter to help me obtain a VISA?

Yes, please contact us if this is your situation.

What time should I arrive on the arrivals day?

On Monday July 9th 2018, participants should arrive before 3 p.m. local time at La Ciutadella Residence Hall (Passeig de Pujades 33, 08018 Barcelona), where the BIYSC Staff Team will be waiting for them to do the check-in. At least one staff member will be waiting participants arriving at the airport, train or bus station for their pick-up. No student will be left alone at any time. There will be a bus shuttle service from Barcelona Prat Airport and Barcelona Sants Central Station scheduled in accordance with the arriving times of all students. Students arriving later than 3 p.m. will have to arrange the transportation to La Ciutadella Residence Hall on their own.

If required, international students may arrive to Barcelona on Sunday July 8th 2018. Pick-up service by our staff will be provided, but the accommodation for the extra night is not included. 

Find out here more information about the Schedule of the program.

What time should I leave on the departures day?

On Friday July 20th 2018, participants will be able to leave Món Sant Benet Hotel (Camí de Sant Benet de Bages s/n, 08272 Sant Fruitós de Bages) at 2 p.m., after the final presentations and the Closing Ceremony, when there will be a little snack for all participants, parents, researchers and attending guests. There will be a bus shuttle service from Món Sant Benet to Barcelona Airport and Barcelona Sants Central Station at 3 p.m. We advise participants to get the departure flight or train from 7 p.m. on and not before, to have enough time to do the luggage check-in, if needed.

Find out here more information about the Schedule of the program.

What do participants in other editions say?

"Fantastic two-weeks experience full of science, an incredible opportunity to everyone who wants to take part of this enormous world of research.”

"BIYSC has given me the opportunity to get to know firsthand how some of the best scientists work in multidisciplinary projects.”

"It has opened my mind and curiosity to many topics I had never thought of.”

"This experience has changed my mind and opened my eyes to a new world, the scientific universe.”

"Just the idea of young people coming all around the world to learn makes me feel very lucky.”

"It has been an amazing experience not just for approaching me to the real science, but also for opening myself to a lot of amazing people.”

"I've learnt, I've discovered how is it to work in a real laboratory and I've met amazing people that have now become my friends.”

"It was something that I will never forget. A true and worthwhile experience.”

"It has been the most enriching experience I've ever lived in my life.”



Where is the accommodation?

The first days of the program (from July 9th to 17th 2018), the accommodation is in La Ciutadella Residence Hall, in Barcelona downtown. On the last three days of the program (from July 19th to 20st 2018), the accommodation is in Món Sant Benet Hotel, a beautiful four-star hotel and conference center 40 km away from Barcelona. 

Find out here more information about the Accommodation.

Will I be sharing a room?

Depending on the accommodation place, the La Ciutadella Residence Hall or the Món Sant Benet Hotel, most rooms are single or double, but some are triples and quad rooms. In the case of shared rooms, all participants will be allocated with students of the same sex.

Do I need to bring towels or sheets?

No, clean towels are provided in both the La Ciutadella Residence Hall and the Món Sant Benet Hotel. Sheets are changed once a week. 

Are there laundry facilities?

Yes, either the La Ciutadella Residence Hall and the Món Sant Benet Hotel provide this service at an extra cost.

Can I keep my belongings safe?

Yes, rooms will be kept close, but be aware to take care of your belonging during the day.

Is there internet?

Yes, free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms and also throughout.

How many meals do we have in a day?

There are three main meals per day and an afternoon snack. Breakfast is at 8 a.m., lunch at 1 p.m. and dinner at 8 p.m.

What happens if I have special dietary requirements?

Dietary requirements can be catered for, please contact us before your arrival. If you have a serious dietary requirement or allergy we recommend you bring provisions with you.

Can I stay for extra nights before and/or after BIYSC?

Yes, rooms in both the La Ciutadella Residence Hall and the Món Sant Benet Hotel are available for participants that arrive earlier or wish to leave later. All arrangements and full payment must be made directly to the residence or the hotel. Please contact us in advance to keep us informed.



Can I visit family and/or friends in Barcelona during the program?

No, we advise you visit family and/or fiends before or after the program. Leaving the program is forbidden and it will be punished with immediate expulsion.

Can my parents attend?

Parents will be able to attend the day of the final presentations and the Closing Ceremony at Món Sant Benet Hotel. During the rest of the program parents are not allowed to be present.

How much spare time is there?

BIYSC offers a full program with a very busy schedule. However, there is also some free time which you can use to visit the city with other participants or relax at your leisure.

How much spending money I need?

All meals, program activities and transports are included in the participation fee. Extra money may be required for optional excursions or visits, additional snacks or souvenirs.

Is there a dress code?

Most research projects require students to dress with long trousers and closed shoes while being in the lab. However, also bring clothing and footwear appropriate for hot weather. Participants should dress smartly for the Opening and the Closing Ceremony.

What if I am homesick?

The staff is available 24 hours a day to help with any problems you might have.

Who do I turn to if I have problems during the program?

Each participant is given a buddy member of the staff to be their contact. Staff are experienced to deal with any problems, as they all have been in your position before. They are available 24 hours a day, and the program coordinator is on-site at all times and can be reached on the emergency telephone number, which will be given to you upon arrival.