Helvin M. Geevar of GVHSS, Pazhanji, who designed an organic fuel stove, won the first prize at the SPYTiS Fair 2009-10 held at the Malabar Botanical Garden here on Wednesday and Thursday.

S. Ashwin of Perambra Higher Secondary School and Neeraja S. Nair of Government Higher Secondary School, Venjarammood won the second and third prizes respectively for their work on butterflies and land use problems respectively.

A prestigious project of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, Scheme for Promoting Young Talents in Science (SPYTiS) is a scheme to encourage high school students with interest in basic sciences to conduct research on topics of their interest.

The council gives Rs.5,000 as aid for each project which is to be completed in six months.

The projects are undertaken by the students individually or as groups, with the guidance of a teacher.

The scheme was started in 2005 and the council had so far funded around 400 projects.

While it usually concluded with project submission to the council, the students were given an opportunity to present their projects for the first time this year.

Around 40 projects were presented by the students who came from all over the State. Director of the Malabar Botanical Garden and the master brain behind SPYTiS Dr. R. Prakash Kumar told The Hindu that the students were often helped by teachers or parents in their projects.

“However, there are quite a few children who have genuine interest in science and the aim of SPYTiS is to find such talents and encourage them.”

Executive vice-president of the KSCSTE Dr. C.T.S. Nair said though students seemed to be extremely talented in science at the high school level, they some how lost the passion later, thanks to the intrusive mentality of parents.