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PPG Awards STEM Education Prizes to School Students in Poland

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Universiada initiative recognizes young scientists’ research projects

PPG announced the winners of the second edition of Universiada, a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education competition carried out in partnership with the Association of Chemical Industry Engineers and Technicians and the University of Wroclaw.

Maciej Modzel, assistant professor, University of Wroclaw (left) and Maria Bogdanska, PPG portfolio development manager, CEE (second left) with the team from Primary School No. 8 in Olawa who won the Universiada 2024 STEM education competition.
Maciej Modzel, assistant professor, University of Wroclaw (left) and Maria Bogdanska, PPG portfolio development manager, CEE (second left) with the team from Primary School No. 8 in Olawa who won the Universiada 2024 STEM education competition.

Funded with a $30,000 (130,000 zloty) grant from PPG, Universiada aims to inspire and encourage young people’s interest in science. The competition is open to students aged 10-14 in Poland, who work in teams of five on a chemistry project under the supervision of a teacher or guardian and present the results to a jury of experts.

First place was awarded to a team from Primary School No. 8 in Olawa, who prepared and tested a series of bioplastics and concluded that one made from agar-agar could potentially replace plastics based on hydrocarbons. The winning team said they were inspired by the World Earth Day theme “Planet vs. Plastic” and the time taken for conventional plastics to biodegrade in the environment. 

The second prize went to a team from Myslakowice Primary School, who worked on finding an optimal blend of biofuels to run a steam engine, which the jury cited as a novel way of modifying a 19th century technology for the future. The third prize winners, Primary School No. 1 in Wroclaw, were recognized for developing a hand lotion based entirely on natural ingredients, which they found performed better than many drugstore products. The jury noted the team’s exemplary project planning, including customer surveys and market research.

This year’s final took place at the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Wroclaw, and the projects were evaluated by a jury consisting of Piotr Stefanowicz, head of the university’s Doctoral College of Chemistry; Maciej Modzel, PhD, an assistant professor at the Department of Organic Chemistry; and Maria Bogdanska, PPG portfolio development manager.

“Universiada promotes science and inspires young researchers to explore diverse areas of knowledge, said Marcin Sobczyk, vice-dean for Innovation and Development at the Faculty of Chemistry. “In addition, it builds bridges between the university and the community, promoting scientific values and educating future generations of scientists. The young participants, full of enthusiasm and creativity, can bring innovative ideas and solutions that have the potential to contribute to social and economic progress.”

“Promoting science among young people is of great importance for the future and development of many sectors, including industry,” said Bogdanska. “Thanks to initiatives such as Universiada, we can effectively inspire the next generations to develop their passions and talents in science. We want young people to be interested in science and potential STEM careers at an early stage of their education.” 

PPG’s global community engagement efforts and the PPG Foundation aim to bring color and brightness to PPG communities around the world. We invested more than $17.5 million in 2023, supporting hundreds of organizations across nearly 40 countries. By investing in educational opportunities, we help grow tomorrow’s STEM innovators and skilled workforce in fields related to coatings and manufacturing. Plus, we empower PPG employees to multiply their impact for causes that are important to them by supporting their volunteer efforts and charitable giving. Learn more at

About PPG Industries

At PPG (NYSE:PPG), we work every day to develop and deliver the paints, coatings and specialty materials that our customers have trusted for more than 140 years. Through dedication and creativity, we solve our customers’ biggest challenges, collaborating closely to find the right path forward. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, we operate and innovate in more than 70 countries and reported net sales of $18.2 billion in 2023. We serve customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets and aftermarkets. To learn more, visit

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Andrew Wood – Corporate Communications –

Source: PPG Industries, Inc.