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HOPE is the de facto successor to EUPEN (European Physics Education Network), {1996/99,1999/2000 & 2000/03) and the subsequent STEPS (Stakeholders Tune European Physics Studies) (2005/08) and STEPS TWO (2008/11) projects. Among other activities, these investigated new teaching methods and student centred learning, graduate skills sought by industry, physics teacher training and their low numbers in some countries, and novel degree courses.

The new project is designed to capitalise on the previous success and will concentrate on the heart of the problem - the physics student - via inspiration in schools, recruitment to university and competences for employment. Continuity is ensured as most of the partners and the contact persons have worked together in the previous consortia and have contributed to and assisted with the collection, analysis and dissemination of results of this kind. All the partners are concerned with issues related to the themes of the project. They have a desire to see physics making a strong contribution to the economy of the European Union and to achieve this end, they wish to see the public awareness of physics being raised, an increase in the number and quality of physics teachers, more school leavers choosing to study physics at university, and more well trained physics graduates being produced. As a result, physics graduates will be better prepared for employment, and employers will be able to recruit from a greater pool of suitably qualified applicants.