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EPR - Answer to written question on Scientific research

Question for written answer E-009943/14 to the Commission Therese Comodini Cachia (PPE)

Subject: Scientific research

In the light of the fact that the EU has set up a challenging target for the number of additional researchers required by the EU by 2020, and that the number of students undertaking some form of post-secondary scientific studies is relatively low in some Member States, can the Commission say whether it will launch any further campaign, action or event in 2015 to encourage students to further their scientific studies?

Answer given by Mr Moedas on behalf of the Commission

The Commission has been supporting science education for more than fifteen years (1) through a number of initiatives and will continue to do so under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020), more specifically under the Science with and for Society (SWAFS) work programme (2).

The SWAFS 2014/2015 work programme topic on ‘Innovative ways to make science education and scientific careers attractive to young people’ aims at developing scientific citizenship by promoting innovative pedagogies in science education attracting more young people towards science and addressing the challenges faced by young people in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and innovation.

Under the 2013 Science in Society Revised Work Programme, the Commission had included a Science Education Expert Group (SEEG) to support reflection and the preparation of the new Science Education policy initiatives and policy options within the context of Horizon 2020, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and the European Research Area (ERA). The report ‘Science education for responsible citizenship’ has now been delivered. It identifies six key objectives (3) and associated recommendations at EU and national levels. Based on it, specific actions aimed at raising students' awareness and interest in scientific studies and careers will be included in the upcoming SWAFS work programmes.

Also, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (4) fund the annual European Researchers' Night (5), a Europe-wide event that brings researchers together with the general public on the fourth Friday of every September. A key aim is to attract young people to science by presenting it to a mass audience in accessible and appealing ways.

1. Under the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities (FP6, 2002-2006 and FP7, 2007-2013) under the Science and Society and Society Programmes.


3. The six objectives identified by the Science Education Expert Group are:

a)    Science education should be an essential component of a learning continuum for all, from pre-school to active engaged citizenship.

b)    Science education should focus on competences with an emphasis on learning through science, and shifting from STEM (Skills in science, technology, engineering and maths) to STEAM (Skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) by linking science with other subjects and disciplines.

c)    The quality of teaching, teacher induction, pre-service preparation and in-service professional development should be enhanced to improve the depth and quality of learning outcomes.

d)    4. Collaboration between formal, non-formal and informal educational providers, enterprise, industry and civil society should be enhanced to ensure relevant and meaningful engagement of all societal actors with science, and increase uptake of science studies and science-based careers.

e)    5. Greater attention should be given to promoting responsible research and innovation and enhancing public understanding of scientific findings, and the capabilities to discuss their benefits and consequences.

f)    6. Emphasis should be placed on connecting innovation and science education strategies, at local, regional, national, European and international levels, taking into account societal needs and global developments.



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