Science education is crucial for shaping the present and future of modern societies. Especially young people should be engaged to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). However, the enrollment rates in STEM- degree programs are low, which will ultimately lead to a loss in competitiveness of the European Union and its member states.
The SciChallenge project will address this issue by developing new concepts for getting young people excited about science, education and careers in the STEM-fields. In order to make science more attractive for young people, a pan-European competition on different scientific topics from the STEM-fields will be carried out in this project. Partner schools, teachers and other youth-oriented institutions will promote the challenge and will distribute a set of 50+ topic sheets, which will provide basic information on topics. The challenge will aim at young people between the ages of 10 to 20, who will participate by submitting videos, slides or posters through an intuitive Web Platform. Selected submissions will receive an award at a ceremony taking place in Vienna in June 2017. The SciChallenge Platform will furthermore serve as an awareness channel, which will provide information on science events, careers, internships or open days in STEM-institutions.
A strong, European consortium for a successful project
As only a strong consortium can guarantee the success of a project, we selected a broad variety of partners for SciChallenge. Every partner brings in different strengths and will therefore contribute to different parts of the project. The consortium consists of nine partners from all across Europe. Furthermore, SciChallenge has a network of more than 89 supporters consisting of very different stakeholders.
Getting together in the kick-off meeting
The SciChallenge kick-off meeting took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 22nd and 23rd, 2015 in the Hotel Kummer in Vienna, Austria, with representatives from all nine partners. In addition to getting to know each other in person and to establish good personal relationships within the consortium, the emphasis of the meeting was put on the role of the partner institutions, the overall project planning, and the expectations of consortium partners. The partners presented the different Work Packages and the related research components of the project, which were also discussed and developed further in the meeting. Additionally, main aspects of the project management were highlighted and the first steps or action points for the project were defined.