We live in an increasingly complex world – a world that also faces major global challenges. In order to be able to understand and interpret the information around us, people need the knowledge and skills to access and evaluate it in order to be able to make different types of decisions.

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Open house at the Station Linne´ research centre during Researchers’ Night 2011. Photo: ForskarFredag

To tackle global challenges, fulfil ethical requirements and safeguard sustainable development, it is also important for citizens to be engaged in research and innovation. In order to be able to do this, they require basic knowledge about what science is, as well as facts on important subjects.  Having a basic understanding of scientific concepts is known as scientific literacy”.

Stimulating the public’s interest in science, research and innovation and increasing citizens’ involvement in research is an important area. The long-term nature of the work means that children and young people are a particularly relevant target group.


Science education in the SwafS-programme

The desired outcomes of projects in this sub area are to increase young people’s interest in studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and to encourage them to pursue careers in research. There is a particular focus on encouraging girls and young women to pursue these types of career.

In specific terms, the calls for proposals are about:

  • stimulating informal STEM learning.
  • stimulating so called ”open schooling” i.e. collaborations between formal and informal learning, for example, involving schools, civil society and business.
  • adopting certain pedagogical teaching methods, such as Inquiry Based Science Education, which is considered to increase young people’s interest in STEM.
  • supporting certain events aimed at spreading knowledge and interest in science and research among the general public.

In Horizon 2020 ”science” is interpreted as STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Those involved in the platform believe that sustainable development and other global challenges, for example, are knowledge areas that are important in other disciplines too. Therefore, the term and the focus of efforts should be broadened to include all the sciences and basic scientific literacy.


Calls for proposals

In the ”Science with and for society” work programme there are a number of calls relating to science education, see the list of calls for proposals in the SwafS programme.

Current and forthcoming calls are also outlined in the SwafS work programme for 2016–17.

Within Horizon 2020 there are a number of calls for proposals in programmes other than SwafS in which RRI perspectives are particularly prominent. Calls for the period 2016-2017 are collated in the report on RRI opportunities in Horizon 2020.


Further information and resources

Science education for responsible citizenship
Report that identifies key issues relating to ways to help the public gain a basic understanding of science.

RRI Toolkit/science education – here you can search for resources and guidance on how science education can be practically integrated into your research.

Horizon 2020’s web pages about science education.


Sources of help and advice

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