XII Concurso Charles Darwin

In order to promote scientific research, stimulate intellectual development, and promote the ingenuity and creativity of young Ecuadorians interested in the study of life sciences, USFQ's College of Biological and Environmental Sciences organizes the XII Charles Darwin Biology Contest.
The prizes to be awarded are:

  • First Prize: Two Charles Darwin scholarships at the College of Biological and Environmental Sciences at USFQ for 5 years, with coverage of up to 100% in fees, not including enrollment. The winners of these scholarships must observe the regulations indicated by the University and comply with the conditions established in the Charles Darwin Scholarship Regulations.
  • Special prizes for the advising professors of the winning students that will consist of a trip to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station.
Applicable academic areas

Contest Rules

  1. All students who are enrolled as High School Seniors in schools legally recognized by the Ministry of Education of Ecuador may participate in the contest.

  2. Participation in the contest will be individual. Each school will be allowed to have a maximum of 10 participating students. To participate, each student must fill out the attached Registration Form, and present the original and a copy of the identity card, student card, or any photographic document that proves their identity.

  3. Registration to participate in the Charles Darwin Contest must be completed online at this link: http://charlesdarwin.usfq.edu.ec. Applicants can register from Monday, November 25th, 2019 through Friday, February 7th, 2020.

  4. Once the registration is completed, each student will receive the syllabus of the conferences for the first stage of the contest (see below).

  5. The Contest will consist of two (2) stages. The first consists of a knockout phase, in which all participating students must attend a seminar and take a knowledge test. This phase will take place on February 21st and 22nd, 2020. On the first day of the seminar, students will receive information given by professors and graduates of the College of Biological and Environmental Sciences in the following areas:

    • DNA and Genetics
    • Biological evolution
    • Ecology

    The conferences will be held at the USFQ Cumbayá campus from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on February 21st, 2020.

    On the second day (February 22nd) students will take an exam consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions on the information presented during the previous two days. The time assigned to complete the exam will be 90 minutes.

    It is suggested that students prepare in advance of the seminar and exam by reviewing Biology texts available on the market. The texts that the Organizing Committee suggests for study are:

    • Curtis, E., N.S. Barnes. 2000. Biología. 6ta edición. Panamericana, Madrid
    • Ricklefs, R.E. 1998. Invitación a la Ecología, la economía de la naturaleza. Panamericana, Bogotá
    • Starr, C. Taggart, R. 2004. Biología, la Unidad y Diversidad de la Vida. 10ma edición. Thomson, México
    • Wagner, C. 1999. Entender la Ecología. Blume, Barcelona

    During the conferences, students should take the notes they deem necessary.

  6. Both to attend the seminar and to take the exam, each student must identify themselves with their ID, student card, passport, or any photo ID. The exam will begin at 9:00 a.m. on February 22nd, 2020 and will last 90 minutes, non-extendable.

  7. For test day, students need the following items: soft pencils (HB or 2B) or a mechanical pencil, a pencil sharpener, and an eraser. During the exam, no cell phones, backpacks, notebooks, books, programmable calculators, or clothing additional to what is necessary (scarves, hats, caps, dark glasses, and others) will be allowed. If a student's cell phone rings during the exam, they will be automatically removed from the Contest, without any claim. The same procedure will be followed if a student is caught copying flagrantly, trying to copy, reviewing notes, or helping another student. In the exam room there must be absolute silence, so no questions or borrowing of any kind will be allowed. In the event that the student requires any type of assistance, it should be requested in silence, raising their hand, and waiting for an assistant to approach the student.

  8. The results of the exam will be published on the billboard and website of the College of Biological and Environmental Sciences on Monday, March 2nd, 2020. The twenty (20) highest scoring students will be selected to go to the final stage of the Contest. The score of each of the selected students must not be less than 48/60. Students who pass the final stage must participate in a practical test that will consist of 3 or 4 exercises of approximately 50 minutes each. For this test, we will assess the student's skills in handling materials and simple laboratory techniques as well as their ability to observe, diagnose, and interpret existing information.

  9. Students selected for the second stage of the Contest must confirm their participation in this stage before 12:00 p.m. on Friday, March 6th, 2020 by letter addressed to the Contest's Organizing Committee, or by electronic message to either of the following addresses: sdelatorre@usfq.edu.ec, lmoncayo1@usfq.edu.ec.

  10. For the preparation of the experimental test, it is recommended that the student(s) from each school be guided by a teacher from the respective school. In the test, each student must record the name of the teacher/tutor. The College of Biological and Environmental Sciences will give general advice to the selected students on the modality and topics of the practical test exercises.

  11. The practical test will be held on Saturday, March 21st, 2020 at the USFQ Cumbayá campus, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The results of this test will be evaluated by a Qualifying Jury that will be made up of three representatives from USFQ's College of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

  12. The Qualifying Jury will make its final and unappealable decision based on the following scores:

    Criteria Score
    Written exam: 60 points
    Practical test: 60 points
    TOTAL: 120 points

    The Qualifying Jury reserves the right to declare the Contest void if it considers that the level of student work is not adequate.

  13. The results will be published on Monday, March 30th, 2020 on the billboard and website of the College of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

  14. The students with the best 5 scores will be interviewed by an ad-hoc committee made up of the Area Coordinators of the College of Biological and Environmental Sciences, in order to know their interests and assess their potential and abilities. These meetings will be held the week of April 6, 2020. Based on these interviews, the Committee will select the winning students. The profile that the Committee looks for in the winning students is that of people who show, in addition to theoretical knowledge, an understanding of what the University is, a clear interest in studying at our College and a high potential for interaction with their peers and teachers. The Committee will determine the suitability of the candidates based on their performance in the interview. The scholarship allocation does not depend exclusively on test scores. In this context, the five finalist candidates arrive at the interview with the committee on equal terms.

  15. The final results will be published on Monday, April 13th, 2020 on the billboard and website of the College of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

  16. Students awarded the Contest scholarships must confirm their acceptance of the scholarship by Monday, April 20th, 2020. They must also have successfully taken and passed the academic aptitude test to enter USFQ by February 2020 (with a minimum score of 1900 points on the PAA exam). In case of not achieving the established scores, the University reserves the right to deliver the scholarship.

  17. Scholarship winners must apply for and enter college in 2020-2021. USFQ does not save or reserve scholarships for subsequent years.

    If you have any questions, please email sdelatorre@usfq.edu.eclmoncayo1@usfq.edu.ec, or call: 297 1891.

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