News Alert

News Alert

The European Commission involves top universities, research institutions and non governmental organisations to enhance the impact of science in society

Brussels, 18 November 2009

The European Commission has just selected 15 excellent projects (see annex) in the area of 'Science in Society' which aim at facilitating and improving the relationship between the scientific community, citizens and policy makers. The projects which cover topics such as gender, ethics, classroom innovation and science governance, involve 180 participants from 15 consortia. The project partners come from all twenty-seven Member States, five countries associated to the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union and a significant number of partners coming from outside Europe.

According to the EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik: "A better understanding of the role and impact of science in society will help us to find better solutions to the great challenges that our society is facing, now and in the future".

By funding policy and research actions in 'Science in Society', the Commission contributes to enhancing the value of science for society as a whole, and ensures that society can form a stimulating and creative part of research activities.

The contribution of the European Commission to the budget of the fifteen projects amounts to over €30 million. While continuing the development of research and knowledge in science and society fields, the main thrust of the funded projects will be devoted to improving the impact of the existing 'Science in Society' actions.

The projects will focus on: public engagement in science and research, mobilising research organisations as well as citizens at local level; more focused work on ethics, addressing the Nano code of conduct, strengthening the ERA and Ethics infrastructure base; deepening and consolidating the work undertaken on university-based research; mobilising research bodies and networks of cultural institutions on the issue of women in science; capitalising on the findings of the Rocard report on science education.

The Science in Society programme financed 118 projects under the 6th Framework Programme. Under the 7th Framework Programme, since 2007 the Science in Society programme has financed 95 projects with a total Commission contribution of €90 million.

For more information about the SIS programme go to: and

Rafal Rowinski (
Nathalie Perault (

Annex : List of the selected projects selected for funding



The Public Engagement with Research and Research Engagement with Society (PERARES) project strengthens interaction between researchers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and citizens in Europe. The partners will jointly organise transnational debates on scientific research, in addition to many local dialogues. The partners will actively involve researchers and CSOs, and help both CSOs and general public in all dialogues to articulate research questions. These will then be put on the research agendas of the partnering research bodies. Some of the partners already have facilities to do this research with CSOs, e.g. through their Science Shops. Ten partners will start such a facility. The results of the requested research will be fed back into a next phase of the dialogues, ultimately showing that civil society does have an influence on research agendas. PERARES also has three special programmess for setting research agendas: nanotechnology, domestic violence and Roma/Traveller’s issues.

Estimated EU contribution*: around €2.7 million.

Participants*: University of Groningen (NL), Wageningen University and Research Centres (NL), Free University Brussels (BE), Science Shop Bonn (DE), WTT Science Shop Zittau (DE), Queens University Belfast (UK), University of Cambridge (UK), University of Glamorgan (UK), University College Cork (IR), Dublin Institute of Technology (IR), Dublin City University (IR), University Rovira I Virgili Tarragona (ES), Foundation Citizen Science (FR), Foundation for the Development of an Active Citizen Research ADReCA (FR), University of Lyon (FR), Swedish Research Council (SE), Technical University Crete (GR), Politehnica University Bucharest (RO), ESSRG Science Shop (HU), University of Stavanger (NO), University of Sassari (IT), European University (CY), Institute for Baltic Studies (EE), Technical University of Denmark (DK), Heschel Centre (IL).



The Platform of Local Authorities and Cities Engaged in Science (PLACES) will mobilise a wide range of science establishments, cities and regions to form new communities of professionals engaged in Science in Society activities. This will be done by creating ties between cultural, governmental and scientific actors at the local level. In particular, several dozens City Partnerships will be created, in the framework of which local authorities and science museums will cooperate to draft City Action Plans and design New Activities to foster the development of Cities of Scientific Culture. The knowledge generated by the project will also feed recommendations on policy building for Cities of Scientific Culture.

Estimated EU contribution*: around €5 million.

Participants*: Association Européenne des Expositions Scientifiques, Techniques et Industrielles, ECISTE (BE) – European Science Events Association, EUSCEA (AT) – European Regions Research and Innovation Network, ERIN (BE) – Science Communication Observatory, Universitat Pomepu Fabra, UPF (ES).



The goal of Increasing Capacity for Implementing Gender Action Plans in Science (GenSET) is to develop practical ways in which gender knowledge and gender mainstreaming expertise can be incorporated within European science institutions in order to improve individual and collective capacity for action to increase women’s participation in science. This will be achieved by facilitating a sustainable, collaborative dialogue between gender experts and science leaders to agree on practical guidelines for implementing gender action plans within existing institutional mechanisms. Involved in the debate are 100 European science stakeholder institutions, 15 international gender experts, and eight European strategy decision-makers.

Estimated EU contribution*: around €1 million.

Participants*:   Portia Limited (UK), Wissenschaftsladen Wien – Science Shop Vienna (AT), Institute for Applied and Computational Mathematics (GR) and Linköping University (SE)



Moving from deductive to inquiry-based methods in primary and secondary schools is the aim of the Large scale dissemination of inquiry based science and mathematics education(FIBONACCI) project, where 12 experienced "Reference Centres", selected for their large schools coverage and capacities for transfer of inquiry-based methodologies will be twinned with 24 less experienced "Twin Centres". Twin Centres will get training, tutoring and will be equipped for starting inquiry activities in the schools. After 2 years Twin Centres will be converted themselves into Reference Centres and will be twinned with new Twin Centres. This should result in a massive dissemination growth similar to the Fibonacci sequence.

Estimated EU contribution*: around €4.8 million.

Participants*: 24 members in 21 countries.
Superior Normal School of Paris France (FR), University of Patras (GR), University of Klagenfurt (AT), Discover Science and Engineering (IR), Free University of Brussels (BE),  University of Luxembourg (L), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BG), University of Amsterdam (NL), University College South Denmark (DK), Ciencia Viva (PT), University of Tartu (EE),  National Institute for Lasers, Plasma and Radiation Physics (RO), University of Helsinki (FI),  Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences (RS) , Graduate School of Engineering of Saint Etienne France University of Trnava (SK), Graduate School of Engineering of Nantes France University of Ljubljana (SI), Free University of Berlin (DE), University of Cantabria (ES), University of Augsburg (DE), The Royal Swedish Academy Of Sciences - NTA (SE) University of Bayreuth (DE), University of Zurich (CH), University of Leicester (UK).



The NANOCODE project objective is the definition and development of a framework enabling the successful integration and implementation at European level and beyond, of the Code of Conduct for responsible N&N research defined by the EC. This will be done by identifying and consulting stakeholders (scientific, institutional, industrial and civil society organisations) to explore knowledge, attitudes, reactions and proposals in relation to the Code of Conduct. The project outcomes will support the European Commission, EU policy makers and stakeholders in the implementation of the European Code of Conduct as well as help the European Commission to prepare the second Code of Conduct review (beginning 2012).

Estimated EC contribution*: around €1.2 million

Participants*: Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca Industriale (IT), The Innovation Society (CH), Institute of Nanotechnology (UK), Universitaet Stuttgart (DE), Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique CEA (FR), Fundacion Phantoms (ES), Technologicke Centrum Akademie Ved Ceske Republiky (CZ), Centro Atomico Bariloche, Comision Nacional de Energia Atomica (AR), Department of Science and Technology (ZA), Technische Universiteit Delft (NL).



PRACTIS project will assess the potential impacts on privacy from emerging technologies and new scientific knowledge. It will propose ethical frameworks and legal procedures for coping with potential risks to privacy. It will explore novel policy options for addressing individuals’ changing privacy needs in the light of new technologies, as well as exploring new ethical frameworks in law and implementing guidelines for new technology or product development. Technologies such as nano, bio, info and cognition (NBIC) will be explored and new threats to privacy will be evaluated. PRACTIS will generate deeper knowledge and higher awareness among scholars and relevant stakeholders regarding the early identification of changes in privacy perceptions due to new technologies. An innovative idea to be explored in PRACTIS is the embedding of privacy issues in the development process of new technologies.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 1.0 million.

Participants*: Interdisciplinary Center for Technological Analysis and Forecasting (IL), Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix de Namur (BE), Fundacja Europejskiej Wspolpracy Naukowej (PL), Turun Kauppakorkeakoulu (FI), Interdisciplinary Centre for Comparative Research in the Social Sciences – ICCR (AT), Tel Aviv University (IL), NEXUS Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research (DE)


PRESCIENT project will provide an early identification of privacy and ethical issues arising from emerging technologies and their relevance for EC policy. It will contribute to the quality of research in the field of ethics, by distinguishing between privacy and data protection and analysing the ethical, legal and socio-economic conceptualisations of each. The expected result is a framework for privacy impact assessments, potentially to be used under EC directives.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 1.0 million.

Participants*: Funhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Angewandten Forschung E.V (DE), Trilateral Research & Consulting Llp (UK), Center for Science, Society and Citizenship (IT), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (BE)



The gender dimension of research implicates that the share of women in research is extremely low in all European countries and associated countries. Throughout Europe there is a fear that interest in science and technology is declining, at the same time as demands for science and technology graduates grows. The TWIST project aims to raise awareness of the role and representation of women in science and technology throughout science centres and museums in Europe. A major aim of the project will be to create and develop innovative activities and exhibitions in the science centres targeting the general public and the schools, in order to create debates and ignite on-going discussions. The target group of the project include young people, teachers and parents, as well as the general public.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 2.7 million.

Participants*: Center for Formidling af Naturvidenskab og Moderne Teknologi - Fond (EXPERIMENTARIUM) (DK), Fondazione IDIS - Città della Scienza (IT), Stichting Nationaal Centrum voor Wetenschap en Technologie (NL), Stiftelsen Teknikens Hus (SE), Ustanova Hiša Eksperimentov (SI), Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem (Bsmj) (IL), King's College London (UK), The Provost Fellows & Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth Near Dublin (IE),  Assemblea delle Donne per lo Sviluppo e la Lotta All'esclusione Sociale (IT), Association Européenne des Expositions Scientifiques, Techniques et Industrielles (BE), E-TICA Srl (IT)


Despite their increasing participation in higher education and research, women are significantly underrepresented in certain disciplines and remarkably few women remain in top jobs in science. As attracting the best researchers with proportional representation of women and men is integral to the success of ERA and essential for the competitiveness of Europe, it is vital to ensure gender balance in research by changing the way of recruitment and career development. Based on available analyses and recommendations aimed to improve the situation of women in science, GENDERA project will identify and discuss good practices of gender balance on national and European levels by networking and in workshops. The project will demonstrate the factors that limit the participation of women in specific scientific fields as well as in decision making positions, and introduce real-life implementation examples to top decision makers of research and higher education institutions.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 0.8 million.

Participants*:  Tudomanyos es Technologiai Alapitvany (Hu), Fundacio Centre d'initiatives IiRecerques Europees a la Mediterrania – CIREM (ES), Ethniko Idryma Erevnon (EL), Institut Jozef Stefan (SI), Matej Bel University (SK), Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft Mbh (AT), Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum der Steinbeis Innovation Ggmbh (DE), Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea (IT), Ort Braude College of Engineering (IL)


The aim of the ESTABLISH project is to facilitate and implement an inquiry based approach in teaching and learning of science and technology across Europe, mainly focussed, through the collaborative actions of the consortium, on appropriate teacher education and support using trialled and tested resource material particularly suited to inquiry based teaching. Inquiry based teaching methodologies are encouraged to engage students in science and mathematics by increasing their interest in science and also by stimulating teacher motivation. The project will bridge the gap between the science education research community, science teachers, students, parents, local industry and policy makers.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 3.4 million.

Participants*: Dublin City University (IE), Ag Education Services (IE), Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL), University of Cyprus (CY), Umea Universitet (SE), Uniwersytet Jagiellonski. (PL), Univerzita Karlova V Praze As* (CZ), Acrosslimits Limited (MT), Univerzita Pavla Jozefa Safarika Vkosiciach (SK), Carl Von Ossietzky Universitaet Oldenburg (DE), Tartu Ulikool (EE), Universita degli Studi di Palermo (IT , Malmö Universtity (SE), Leibniz-Institutut fur die Pedagogik der Naturwissenschaften and der Universitat Kiel (DE).


The PRIMAS project aims to effect a change across Europe in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science with teachers supported to develop inquiry-based learning (IBL) pedagogies so that students gain experience of IBL approaches. Ultimately, the objective is a greater number of students with more positive dispositions towards further study of these subjects and the desire to be employed in related fields.
The design of the project has been focused so as to provide a multi-level dissemination plan addressed to teachers and important stakeholders to ensure maximum impact.
Throughout the project’s timeline national consultancy panels and two international panels will provide on-going advice and orientation at key stages. To maximise the project’s “reach” to teachers either established networks for professional development of teachers will be expanded, or new networks will be built using models which have proven efficacy.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 3.0 million.

Participants*: Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg (DE), Université de Genève (CH), Freudenthal Institut, Universiteit Utrecht (NL), MARS – Shell Centre, The University of Nottingham (UK), Universidad de Jaen (ES), Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (SK), University of Szeged (HU), Cyprus University of Technology (CY), Universita ta Malta (MT), Roskilde Universitetscenter (DK), The University of Manchester (UK), Universitatea Babes Bolyai (RO), Hogskolen i Sor-Trondelag (NO), Leipniz-Institut für die Pädagogik der Naturwissenschaften an der Universität Kiel – IPN (DE)


KidsINNscience project will identify and promote innovative approaches for teaching and learning science, adapt and test them for implementation in mainstream schools and develop innovation strategies in all participating countries. The consortium proposes a collaborative project (specific international cooperation action for experts who work with and on new methods for science education.  The overall objective of the project is to develop adaptive strategies to facilitate the innovation of science education in formal and informal settings. Strategies for innovating curricula and strategies for teaching and learning in science and technology will be analysed and compared among 8 different countries in Europe and 2 in Latin America. The role of gender and cultural diversity will explicitly be taken into account in all phases of the project.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 1.0 million.

Participants*:  Austrian Institute of Ecology (AT), Freie Universitaet Berlin (DE), Universitaet Zuerich (CH), Institut Jozef Stefan (SI), Stichting Leerplanontwikkeling  Slo (NL), Universita degli Studi Roma Tre (IT), London South Bank University (UK), Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (ES), Centro de Investigacion Y de Estudios Avanzados  del I.P.N. (MX), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (BR)


The fall of recruitment to careers in science in Europe is a challenge to Europe’s future in the knowledge economy. The SED project intends to learn how to respond to this situation in collaboration with international partner countries where science remains a popular career choice. Understanding the dynamics of the relationships between culture, gender and science education in the diverse contexts offered by the partners will give a good basis for designing new flexible and diverse approaches to science education that will appeal to all students within Europe and the world. The project will develop a theoretical understanding of the relationship between cultural diversity, gender and science education and also provide guidelines and programmes for effective intervention to improve the take up of science education. One focus will be the impact of Islamic culture and religious belief in a range of contexts.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 1.0 million.

Participants*: The University of Exeter (UK), Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (IN), Pamukkale University (TR), American University of Beirut (LB), Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (NL), Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman (MY)


ESD-CLIPS PROJECT emerged from the networking activities of RCE (Regional Centres of Expertise) of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).  One main concern of RCE is to develop innovative learning methods to improve ESD. The objective of this project is to analyse how the concept of ESD can be effectively implemented with a combination of innovative educational approaches, and elaborate recommendation for decision makers in educational fields. It meets the recommendations of the Rocard report, promoting IBSE as a main instrument of learning processes in secondary schools, in order to makes science accessible in society and research attractive to young people. Schools will be main research agents in several case studies.

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 1.0 million.

Participants*: Fundacao da Faculdade de Ciencias e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (PT), Centro de Estudos, Informação e Formação Para o Ambiente (PT), Universitaet Graz (AT), Stichting Expertise Centrum Leren voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling (NL), Leuphana Universität Lüneburg (DE), Malmo University (SE), Centre for Environment Education (IN), Universiti Sains Malaysia (MY), Universidade Estadual de Maringá (BR), Sekem Development Foundation (EG), United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (JP), University of Regina (CA).


EURECNET is a network that brings together national REC associations, networks or comparable initiatives but also other bodies relevant in the field of research involving human participants like National Ethics Councils and the European Commission’s ethical review system. Such a network forms the infrastructural basis to promote awareness of specific working practices of RECs across Europe, to enhance the shared knowledge base of European RECs, to support coherent reviews and opinions and to meet new challenges and emerging ethical issues. The central objective of EURECNET is to foster the already existing network of European REC networks (in short “EUREC”).

Estimated EU contribution*: around € 1.0 million.

Participants*:Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitaet Bonn (DE), Arbeitskreis Medizinischer Ethik-Kommissionen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (DE), Comité de Protection des Personnes Sud-Est III, Conférence Nationale des Comités de Protection des Personnes (FR), Kantonale Forschungsethikkommission Bern (CH), University of Tartu (EE), Université de Neuchatel (CH), Lithuanian Bioethics Committee (LT), Medizinische Universitat Graz (AT), The National Committee for Medical and Health Care Research Ethics (NO), The Association of Research Ethics Committees (UK), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (IE), Den Centrale Videnskabsetiske Komité/The Danish National Committee on Biomedical Research Ethics (DK), Central Ethics Review Board (SE), The Sub-Committee on Medical Research Ethics (FI), National Advisory Board on Health Care Ethics (FI), Sociedad Española de Farmacología Clínica (ES), Comissão de Ética Para a Investigação Clínica (PT), Universiteit Maastricht (NL), Nederlandse Vereniging voor Medisch Ethische Toetsingscommissies (NL), Institute of Medical Ethics and Bioethics N. F. (SK), Institut für Wissenschaft und Ethik (DE), Polish Chamber of Physicians and Dentists - Center of Bioethics of the Supreme Medical Council (PL), Central Medical Ethics Committee of Latvia (LV), Società Italiana di Farmacia Ospedaliera e dei Servizi Farmaceutici delle Aziende Sanitarie (IT), The Republic of Slovenia National Medical Ethics Committee (SI), National Tsing Hua University (TW), Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) (FR).


*Final figures and partnerships are subject to contract negotiations between the project teams and the European Commission.