SeeRRI meets Junge Uni Krems: science literacy and science education

The SLSE indicator in the MORRI framework (Strand, 2015) reflects the importance of societal aspects of science in science curricula for 15 to 18-year-old students. In order to create some impact on this indicator, the SeeRRI project is organizing educational activities related to entrepreneurship and the societal aspects of science and innovation in three territories.

The Research and Innovation Management GmbH and the University of Haifa prepared a first workshop in the Austrian region. This workshop for young teenagers at the Junge Uni Krems took place on July 11. The workshop aimed to introduce a group of young citizens to the SeeRRI project and the concepts of responsible research. The material will be developed for use in future workshops both in Austria and the other two regions.

Teaching science to students aged 11-18 with a bridge to entrepreneurial discovery requires a unique approach. Teachers need to be able to present scientific concepts combining them in innovative ways to inspire students with an entrepreneurial mindset. The short intervention at the Junge Uni Krems aimed to provide a first activity to stress the close bridge between science and entrepreneurship and promote both as desirable careers. 

With respect to all MORRI indicators (Strand, 2015, p. 51) SLSE is in line with our assessment of the overall national science communication culture in each territory. Thus, the main idea and tasks are based on two elements. Initially the students were presented with live and online narratives describing successful scientists and entrepreneurs and subsequently, there was a hands-on session during which the teachers created videos with the students reflecting on the lessons learned from the live and online narratives.

From a methodological approach the workshop was built on a storytelling approach via narratives guided by role models to communicate the importance of the bridge between science and entrepreneurship. The SeeRRI partners Alan Hartman and Katharina Fellnhofer served as live role models.

Prior research highlights that narratives communicated via role models boost entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions to raise awareness that entrepreneurship is an attractive career path (Fellnhofer, 2018). Furthermore, a taxonomy aims at creating stronger ties to educational research (Fellnhofer, 2019). We build on this approach to support closing the gap between industry and science at an early stage.