SiS-Catalyst builds upon experience gained from EUCU.NET and will carry the idea even further: It will consider the role which children and young people have in the development of SiS-activities and how the engagement with children and young people can also be reflected within the governance of such activities – and impact on the institutional development of universities, but also festivals, museums and other intermediaries in science communication throughout Europe.
Children and young people as catalysts for change in science education
The overall understanding of SiS-CATALYST and EUCU.NET is that we need to treat young people not only as consumers of educational programmes, but as contributors as well.
This recognizes that nowadays, decisions in science and education are significant for tomorrow’s students and researchers – who are children and young people at this time. For dealing with the Grand Challenges in the near future, the potential of all young people is in demand – irrespective of their social, cultural or economic background. Consequently, the experience that children have of society that we operate in, is hugely valuable in developing programmes of learning that resonate with a young audience - delivered by universities, schools, science festivals, museums and out-of-school programmes throughout Europe.
A Pan-European Action Plan
The SiS-CATALYST/EUCU.NET initiative tackles this ambition by including aspects of interdisciplinarity, governance, public engagement, social inclusion, mutual learning and ethics. It will also consider how this engagement with children and young people impacts on the sustainable development of science organisations, and how the engagement can be promoted through replicable and scalable SiS model approaches.
Together with an associated pan-European benchmarking process, those models form part of the SiS-CATALYST Action Plan which will provide vehicles for strategic and political alignment, as well as shared assessment tools – and this includes new delivery guidelines that will support institutions in developing projects aimed at children from families with ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds.
Considering these components and their added value, the project is well placed to contribute to solving the EU2020 societal challenges, as well as to strengthen the European Research Area - to initiate the structural change which is required for the modernisation of Higher Education in Europe.
The upcoming SiS-CATALYST/EUCU.NET Joint Conference is particularly scheduled to promote and to advance this mission.
SiS-Catalyst is one of the first Mobilisation and Mutual Learning (MML) action plans funded by the European Commission under FP7. The four-year project involves a consortium of over 30 partners and advisors from across 23 countries; it is coordinated by the University of Liverpool.
Through its members, associates and advisors SiS-CATALYST is well linked with:
European Children's Universities Network (EUCU.NET)
European Access Network (EAN)
European Students' Union (ESU)
International Association of Universities (IUA)
European University Association (EUA)
European Association for the Promotion of Science and Technology (EUROSCIENCE)
Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA)
European Union of Science Journalists' Associations (EUSJA)
- and national authorities like the Higher Education Authority in Ireland (HEA)
or the Egyptian National Scientific and Technical Information Network (ENSTINET)