In its efforts to expand cooperation and improve networking among science, schools and society, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) funds a number of initiatives and programmes at the interface of education, science and the general population. They open up a variety of ways for pupils and citizens to participate in science.
Sparkling Science research programme
Sparkling Science is a research programme launched by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) in 2007. It funds projects in which scientists work side by side with pupils on actual state-of-the-art projects, researching such topics as how urban trees impact climate change or co-designing an exhibition about European slavery. So far, more than 102,000 individuals from 200 research institutions and nearly 530 schools have taken part in the 299 research projects. The programme is run by the Austrian Exchange Service (OeAD) and received €34.7 million in funding.
Other collaborations between science, schools and society
The BMBWF started the Young Science Centre in 2011 to expand collaboration between science and schools. Under the Young Science Ambassadors initiative, for example, all Austrian schools can choose one scientist from a pool of more than 130 and invite him or her to visit their school. In addition, school classes – but also interested individuals – are given the chance of collaborating on selected research projects. The Citizen Science Award has been inviting them to do so every spring since 2015. The most dedicated citizen scientists are awarded prizes at a gala staged by the BMBWF and the research teams.
The Citizen Science Award is organised by the Centre for Citizen Science, an organisation at the Austrian Exchange Service (OeAD) funded by the BMBWF. It focuses on collaboration between science and schools. The centre supports both scientists and practitioners in the development and implementation of citizen science projects and helps with community networking.
And everyone benefits…
In the scope of these and many other actions taken by the BMBWF, schools and interested individuals can experience research up close and take an active part in actual projects. But the researchers themselves also benefit from the collaboration: It helps them to arrive at innovative findings.
* As at July 2019
• Sparkling Science: research programme of the BMBWF
• Sparkling Science project “Urban trees as climate messengers”
• Sparkling Science project “Slaves”
• Young Science Centre for the Cooperation of Science and School
• Centre for Citizen Science and Responsible Science