Raising interest in the (natural) sciences among young generations can only be successful if we use channels that they use in their everyday lives, and respond to their changed habits of accessing information. University education and scientific research can thus reach out to secondary school students if it uses the language of their visual and mediatised culture, embraces portable info-communication technologies, and encourges the use of web.2 solutions.
ITU: A Historic University Making History in Education and Innovation
The dynamic administration of the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) led by Rector Prof. Dr. Muhammed Sahin since August 2008, has placed sustainability in the core of its values. The four major cornerstones of his vision include: entrepreneurship, quality in education, research and most importantly innovation. In order to make these cornerstones solid and sustainable, major projects have been planned and implemented in rapid time.
In 2008, the University of East Anglia and its partners were selected as one of a number of pilot projects seeking to enhance public engagement activity within UK Higher Education Institutions (the Beacons for Public Engagement project). This marked the birth of CUE East (Community University Engagement) which sought to bring together community groups, academics, schools etc., enabling them to work in partnership with one another, drawing upon each others expertise to reach and benefit new audiences.
Engaging and inspiring young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has long been identified as an area of key strategic importance economically, developmentally and socially . Studies such as the Royal Society’s 2005 “Taking a Leading Role” identify role models and meeting professional scientists as key factors in career and study choices, while organizations such as STEMNET have been formed to “increase young people’s choices and chances through STEM.”
The Innovation Panel is a web based market research tool that is developed by KTH Innovation which allows researchers and students with promising product or business ideas to get early and crucial feedback from potential clients, users and other stake holders. The Innovation Panel plays an important part in indicating how the ideas should be developed, which applications have the most potential and, in some cases, if it is even worth pursuing the idea.
Project based activities are a good way to expose secondary school students to more science and math at earlier grades. In the last few years has been a decrease of enrolment for engineering programs in Spain. For this reason, the University of Girona (UdG), the Social Council of UdG and the Catalan Government started initiatives, with the aim of increasing the interest of students for technology and promote engineering skills, capabilities and values. These institutions support and promote scientific and technological activities of recreational nature that are attractive for students.