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The EU project improves school students’ and teachers’ awareness and engagement in responsible research and innovation.
Funded by the European Union, the three-year project (2014-2016) aims to cross boundaries between traditional sciences taught at school and non-formal learning environments such as science centers, museums or festivals. In particular, IRRESISTIBLE designs activities that enhance the involvement of students, school teachers and the public in the process of responsible research and innovation by bringing research into the program and to foster the discussion among students about responsible research issues.
Photo: spdorsey / Flickr.com (Creative Commons).
The focus is on responsible research in natural sciences dealing with social, ethical, environmental effects, commercial impact and risk and opportunities of scientific research. Discussions on why is it important that everyone should have access to knowledge about advances in science; on how do we decide what kind of nanoparticles are allowed in cosmetics; on how does information generated by the scientific community reach the policy makers and consumers; on how and why is our climate changing and how does it affect our daily life, are made during the class hours.
Often these discussions are preceded by practical experiments in science labs. One of these asked students to analyze the presence of carbohydrates in cow and breast milk and afterwards to debate about the ethical aspects of breastfeeding and the marketing formula.
Specific training is also offered to high school teachers in order to stimulate science teaching methods, authentic investigations in labs, and discussions on ethical and environmental issues of research activities.
Ten European countries are involved in the project that is coordinated by the Dutch University of Groningen. For example in Finland, researchers of the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Jyväskylä will work together with climate experts at the University of Helsinki to develop a teaching module and exhibition on climate change.
Read more about the IRRESISTIBLE-project