Brightest youth scientific minds meet in Barcelona

Brightest youth scientific minds meet in Barcelona

From 7th to 23th August, 79 secondary school students from around the world are participating in real scientific experiments with outstanding scientists at the School for Molecular and Theoretical Biology (SMTB) in Barcelona, supported by the Zimin Foundation.


Imatge inicial

They come from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, Germany, India, USA, UK, Spain, the Philippines and Georgia. Some are recipients of International Olympiad medals in their field and are attending some of the best schools in the world. Others come from remote Siberian villages north of the Arctic circle. They almost have nothing in common, but the 49 girls and 30 boys who form the 2019 cohort of the SMTB share one thing: an unquenchable thirst for science.

In the laboratories of UPF and the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, the students focus on various life sciences research topics. The exceptional breadth of research directions at SMTB includes theoretical as well as experimental work. Students can choose research projects that focus on medical or practical research topics, such as work on cancer genomics or biochemical engineering of new biological systems. The school also houses laboratories with a focus on quantitative thinking and computational analysis, areas that are rapidly becoming more relevant to many areas of biology, such as bioinformatics and rational drug design.

To make such fascinating endeavours possible, the SMTB has been benefitting since its inception eight years ago, of the support of the Zimin Foundation. This philanthropic organisation has been established by renowned scientist Dr. Dmitry Zimin and his son Boris, with the aim to support education, science and knowledge development globally.

Boris Zimin is driven by the belief that teenagers are ready to contribute to and participate in real time scientific developments: “The Zimin Foundation is proud to be giving talented girls and boys from diverse origins and backgrounds the opportunity to get real hands-on lab experience with outstanding scientists. At the Zimin Foundation, we believe that by nurturing interest in scientific research, we enable promising young students to pursue careers in this field, and thus we empower the scientists of tomorrow.”

The Foundation is guided by the conviction that no barriers should prevent the brightest minds from reaching their full potential and thus funds all students’ living expenses, any necessary travel insurance and materials required for laboratory work. For those students that need further financial assistance, the cost of travel to Barcelona is covered too.

In the words of Fyodor Kondrashov, the school’s Scientific Director: “Unequal access to education is one of the most important causes of global inequality. It has been our privilege to work with the Zimin Foundation to create a role-model school with an authentic learning approach in life sciences that also includes deserving students from underprivileged backgrounds.”

Furthermore, through the Zimin Foundation SMTB Alumni Summer Research Programme, alumni are given the opportunity to undertake more advanced research with leading scientists in world-renowned laboratories such as Harvard Medical School (Boston), University of Cambridge (U.K.) and George Washington University (D.C.), for a maximum of 3 months. This summer school could very well be the start of a lifelong career in scientific research for these bright and curious minds.

About the School of Molecular and Theoretical Biology

Since 2012, the SMTB, supported by the Zimin Foundation, has been bringing together 80 students from all around the world to take part in real research alongside outstanding scientists for three weeks in the laboratories of the Pompeu Fabra University and Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona. More information on

About the Zimin Foundation

The Zimin Foundation is a philanthropic organisation established by Dr. Dmitry Zimin and his son Boris, with the aim to support education and science. Building on its longstanding legacy in Russia, the Foundation now operates globally. The Zimin Foundation encourages scientific education, help young talent and support projects with high potential for real-world impact. More information on