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Univarsity of Groningen


Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Nowadays, the University has some 30.000 students, 5.500 members of staff, among which 480 fte professors, 10 faculties and 9 graduate schools. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe, the top 100 universities in the world and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge. Students from every continent can prepare themselves for their international career paths in Groningen.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is one of the largest faculties of the University of Groningen, with 41 teaching programmes, 5.700 students, 11 research institutes and 1.330 academic staff. The faculty offers a wide range of research and teaching programmes; from nanomaterials and biomachinery to astronomy, from mathematics to pharmacy, from neurosciences to computer science, and from molecular and evolutionary biology to marine biology. The Faculty of Science and Engineering ranks among the international top in fields such as materials science, molecular biology and astronomy. Researchers pursue fundamental key questions while collaborating with partners from industry, the medical world and other realms of society. Frontline research groups explore new fields such as synthetic biology and sustainable energy use. Recently, Ben Feringa received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The faculty’s education mission is to educate students to use their full potential as academically trained experts in a science and/or engineering discipline. These students are interested and capable of crossing borders - the frontiers of knowledge, across disciplines, into society and the rest of the world. Individually, and in teams, they can effectively contribute to (technological) academic challenges and provide sustainable solutions for complex regional and global societal issues.

The following three organisations within FSE collaborate on the proposed project.

Science LinX, the faculty Science Centre (www.sciencelinx.nl), introduces teenagers, teachers and the lay audience to science with a fresh and tailored approach of arts & science’ exhibits, workshops, school visits (science truck) and games. Key to the work of Science LinX is link formal (in school) to informal learning (e.g. out of school). Science LinX coordinates the regional schools network, Network North, bringing together 4 universities, over 40 schools and local companies on STEM education. The aim of the network is to prepare students of secondary education for higher education by providing a better connection between secondary and higher. In addition, Science LinX organises professional development activities for teachers in secondary STEM-education. Science LinX is interested in expanding their outreach activities towards primary education. Science LinX holds a successful science outreach program at local festivals (i.e. Night of Art and Science and Noorderzon). Each year Science LinX involves some 45.000 visitors, mostly students, in its activities. Additionally, a Science shop is part of Science LinX. Their aim is to bring the University and society closer together.

The Department of Science Education and Communication is working on a research programme aimed at improving the teaching in mathematics and science education. In addition, research projects are carried out in secondary and higher education and in professional development at the workplace. Prof. Avraamidou’s interdisciplinary team (7 PhD students and 1 postdoctoral researcher) is placed at the Institute for Science Education and Communication and works on a research programme aimed at widening and diversifying STEM participation (e.g., women, vulnerable groups, ethnic and religious minorities) from primary school to university level and through public engagement, outreach and community-based programs in high poverty areas. Avraamidou’s team has been involved in various EU-funded projects (e.g., H2020, FP7, Erasmus+) in collaboration with Science LinX. Recent initiative is a multilingual community-based science programme, called “ROOTS: I am science!” that offers 8-13 year old residents in the outer districts of the city Groningen opportunities to engage in science-related activities.

The FSE faculty’s Undergraduate School of Science and Engineering (USSE) offers a variety of professional development activities for teachers in secondary and tertiary education.

Among them, the USSE provides courses for academic teachers, post-docs, PhDs, MSc- and BSc-teaching assistants within the Faculty. Besides, teacher trainers and educational developers support study programmes in curriculum development and the implementation of quality assurance measurements.

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