The most important information
A research programme funded by the Ministry of Education, Research and Science
In this programme the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) supports projects in which pupils of all levels of education are actively involved in the research process. In these projects schoolchildren support scientists in scientific work and in communicating the joint research results to the public. This collaboration can happen for example in the form of jointly conceived high school theses, A level projects and degree dissertations (at HBLFA – Higher Federal Research and Education Centres) or as part of cross-curricular school projects. In the first phase of the programme the focus was on promoting as wide a variety of innovative projects as possible to be able to test various cooperation models for impact and efficiency. In the further course of the programme the focus shifts towards implementation as the programme should generate more than just knowledge – it should stimulate systemic changes. After the programme has ended longer-term cooperation agreements should become a permanent part of the Austrian research and education system’s repertoire. Sparkling Science is set to run for ten years which enables a staged adoption of successful pilot projects and cooperation models into the standard system.
The programme is embedded into an extensive initiative for the promotion of young scientists
The initiative’s vision is to break down structural barriers between the education and academic system in Austria. At the heart is the question of how the interface between school and university can be improved and which basic conditions need to be created so that success models of institutional collaboration can be adopted into the standard system of service agreements, research promotion, school profile development and teacher training. Cooperation between research and education (FBK) as a highly efficient teaching and learning setting should be structurally anchored in research promotion, school lessons and teacher training. By integrating cooperation between research and education institutions barriers between schools and universities are to be broken down, a better informed choice of course of study is to be facilitated and a quicker transfer of scientific knowledge is to be supported into the education system and to the general public.
The special feature of Sparkling Science is the cooperation of schoolchildren in real research projects
In the last few years a variety of promotion programmes, PUS measures and school competitions have been started all over Europe as part of the dialogue between science and society and to improve maths and science lessons (student laboratories and school competitions). Austria as well, not least as a result of comparative studies like TIMSS and PISA. Sparkling Science, however, goes a decisive step beyond these initiatives. It only supports projects in which youngsters are actively involved in authentic research projects in the framework of Citizen Science cooperations with schools and contribute in a substantial way to these research activities.
New platform Young Science connects schools and science
Under the motto "research connects people" the service and information platform Young Science, which has been initiated and financed by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW), collects information and contacts regarding all programmes of pre-university junior researcher support of the BMWFW. The aim is to strongly intensify the cooperation between the secondary and tertiary education sector and to initiate and support direct contacts between people interested in studying, teachers and researchers. The central platform of the service centre, which is part of the OeAD, is the website www.youngscience.at.