National project for involving young people in science and technology

20 February 2018

Teachers, scientists and consultants from various backgrounds have worked in Leiden on projects to involve young people from under-represented minority groups in science and technology. The meeting was the start event of the project group 'Expanding (Event) Horizons, funded from the National Science Agenda. UvA scientists Ivo van Vulpen and Anna Watts are part of the team.

The newly-launched Expanding (Event) Horizons project supports one of the National Science Agenda’s key goals: making the science student population in 2040 as diverse as the Dutch population. This will tackle the problem that is formulated in the National Science Agenda as: 'girls, ethnic minority children and those with low-educated parents are clearly underrepresented in science programmes'. Using a process of co-creation, the project will develop STEM educational activities, centred on fundamental science themes of gravity and light. The target groups are children and young people from 9 to 16 years old.

Expanding (Event) Horizons

Introduction to the Universe by Dr. Anna Watts, Expanding (Event) Horizons. c: Pedro Russo

Key challenges

The participants identified key challenges during this first brainstorm session and used these to design projects with fundamental science themes like gravity and light. The co-creation resulted in several ideas: multidisciplinary ‘Mission to Mars’ school project, science and maker clubs in informal learning environments, and teaching kits made by universities to share cutting edge science research.

This event marks the first step in a process of co-creation. Future sessions will focus on prototyping and evaluating educational STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering  and Mathematics) activities that are relevant to the target groups. These projects will contain engaging experiments and visual designs, including relevant role models. The activities will then be assessed, prototyped, tested and reviewed by educators.

Expanding (Event) Horizons

Expanding (Event) Horizons is an initiative of Leiden University (Leiden Observatory and Department of Science Communication & Society), the University of Amsterdam (Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, and Institute of Physics), Nikhef and in close collaboration with VHTO (Landelijk Expertisebureau meisjes/vrouwen en bèta/techniek) and ECHO (Expertise Center for Diversity). The project will run for 3 years, and is funded by the Dutch National Research Agenda Building Blocks programme. 

From the UvA faculty of Science researchers Anna Watts, Ivo van Vulpen and Bart Groeneveld (programme leader outreach) take part in the project. The project leader is Pedro Russo from Leiden University: russo@strw.leidenuniv.nl.

Source: Universiteit Leiden, Pedro Russo

Published by  Faculty of Science