Supporting science in the field of education

26 July 2012

The Academy Board has awarded seven universities funding in support of their 'Science Node'. The one-off grant is financed in part by the National Science and Technology Platform.

Science Nodes bring together universities, primary and secondary schools, teacher training colleges, science centres, science museums and other similar organisations. The purpose of a Science Node is to get young people interested in science and to familiarise them with scientific research. In March, the Academy and the National Science and Technology Platform issued a call for proposals in order to give these important links between science and society a solid financial basis at the universities.

Seven applicants – five universities and two university consortiums – were awarded a maximum of EUR 650,000 each for their Science Nodes. Unfortunately, the Academy was unable to extend funding to all of the applicants due to the limited budget available. It received applications for a total of EUR 5.76 million, whereas it had only EUR 3.25 million available.

Procedure

An Academy committee evaluated the proposals and ranked them according to the assessment criteria described in the guidelines to the call for proposals. The proposals that ranked highest were then awarded funding until the budget was exhausted.

Proposals granted funding

The following universities were awarded funding (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • University of Groningen
  • Delft University of Technology, acting on behalf of Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University
  • Tilburg University, acting on behalf of Eindhoven University of Technology
  • University of Twente
  • Utrecht University
  • Wageningen University & Research Centre

Guidance

The Academy and the National S&T Platform will organise joint meetings of all the Science Nodes in the years ahead to give them an opportunity to “learn from one another”. An expert committee will advise the Science Nodes on how best to share their knowledge and lessons learned. After two years, the National S&T Platform will conduct a mid-term review.

About the Science Nodes

Science Nodes bring together institutions for tertiary, secondary and primary education and intermediary organisations for the purpose of familiarising primary and secondary school pupils with science. Inquiry-based learning and learning by design are at the heart of the Science Node concept. Their activities can take many different forms. Examples include organising inspiring courses for teachers; developing teaching methods and materials; having scientists teach pupils; arranging joint activities with teacher training colleges; offering work placements; and so on. The Science Nodes are also keen to show parents, counsellors and teachers what science is and what it can do.  The Dutch Ministry of Education launched the Science Nodes in 2009, with the assistance of the National Science and Technology Platform.