Science Contest

Radioactivity is everywhere, but we cannot perceive it with our senses. So how can we measure radioactivity? How can we protect ourselves from the harmful effects of radioactivity? What are the challenges of today and tomorrow?

These are some of the challenges where radiation protection comes in. The Belgian Society for Radiation Protection (BVS-ABR) is the scientific organisation dedicated to that field.  It has been doing so for 60 years! To celebrate this anniversary, the BVS-ABR organised a competition in which 5th and 6th year secondary school pupils could participate.


During the competition, pupils could work out a scientific project that was assessed by a professional jury. This way, they were introduced to the different disciplines related to radiation protection, such as physics, biology, mathematics, geology, social sciences, ... In addition, the competition stimulated team skills, creativity and critical scientific thinking of students.



  • Create a team of maximum 6 pupils from the third degree of secondary education within the same school in Belgium.
  • Ensure the involvement of at least accompanying 1 teacher.
  • Register before 30 September via the webform
  • Together with your teacher, think of a current research question in radiation protection, and get to work to find a solution that is scientifically based.
    Examples of challenges include:
  • What would the ideal space base on the moon look like, protecting astronauts from cosmic radiation?
  • How can we efficiently fight a tumor in a patient, minimising damage to healthy tissue and avoiding risks to hospital staff
  • In medical imaging, how to ensure a radiation dose as low as reasonably possible for the patient and hospital staff?
  • How to safely decommission a nuclear power plant, paying attention to the protection of workers, the public and the environment?
  • How to make nuclear energy safer, with attention to the protection of workers, the public and the environment?
  • How to protect the population and the environment from an unexpected major release of radioactive material into the environment?
  • How can you encourage the population to take action in their homes to reduce radon risk?


  • Do you have your own good idea of a challenge in radiation protection? Submit it with your registration. With your team, you can call upon an expert in radiation protection provided by our society to guide you throughout the competition.
  • Document the solution and the process how your team reached it (on paper, via illustrations and/or video), and send it the organising committee.



During the final on 17 November 2023, a selected number of teams creatively presented their project and solution in front of a jury of experts. The public event was organised by BVS-ABR in Brussels (Académie Royale de Belgique, Hertogstraat 1, Brussels). During the subsequent award ceremony, the three winning teams received their prizes.


Results and prizes

St. Maarten Instituut from Aalst has won the RadioACT! competition. The winners chose to investigate radioactivity in their hometown Aalst. Other groups worked on themes such as space travel, medical applications, the discharge of radioactive substances and the impact on humans and the environment.

Pierre Kockerols, chairman of the BVS: "With this competition, we wanted to bring together people from different generations but with shared interests. We hope that with this initiative we have been able to inspire young people and raise awareness of our field. Who knows, maybe they will take up the torch from us in a few years' time."

A six-member panel of experts in radiation protection judged the various entries. The suspense remained until the last minute, as participants were also able to vote in the final, which was taken into account in the final total.

The podium was ranked as followed:

1 Sint-Maarteninstituut (Aalst) - Radioactiviteit in kaart: Onderzoek in zorgstad Aalst
2 IPES (Tubize) - Projet Rad-IA: Intelligence artificielle et radiothérapie ? Pourquoi pas ?
3 MAST (Brugge) - Welke impact zou een plutoniumbom (type Trinity) in België hebben, wanneer die in Brussel valt en hoe kunnen we ons beschermen tegen de vrijgekomen straling?

The winners and their class will enjoy a guided tour of Tabloo, the visitor centre of the National institution for radioactive waste and enriched fissile materials (NIRAS-ONDRAF) in Dessel. At Tabloo, they can learn more about radioactivity, radioactive waste and the search for new nuclear applications. In addition, the first three teams received a cash prize that will enable them to purchase educational materials for the classroom.


The Belgian Society for Radiation Protection (BVS-ABR) a scientific association, focusing on protection against the potential dangers of ionising radiation. It has about 400 members from professionals in radiation protection spread across various sectors such as medical, nuclear, industry, transport, government and research institutes. The Association is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and organising various activities, including this competition.


Video recording of the final event:


Radioactiviteit in beeld: onderzoek in zorgstad Aalst by SMI Aalst

Heeft radioactieve straling effect op koemelk? by PISO Tienen

Intelligence artificielle et radiothérapie ? by IPES Tubize

Welke impact zou een plutoniumbom (type Trinity) in België hebben, wanneer die in Brussel valt en hoe kunnen we ons beschermen tegen de vrijgekomen straling? by MAST Brugge

Waarom gebruikt men lood als stralingsbescherming en wat is het recyclageproces ervan? by KA Beveren

Radioactief Lek in Brugge: Onderzoek naar de Impact op Mens en Milieu by MAST Brugge

Kan kernenergie gebruikt worden voor ruimtereizen? by PISO Tienen

Hoe kunnen we ons op aarde beschermen tegen een zonnestorm? by PISO Tienen

View the results

Press and media: