New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Science Education as a Trigger to Attain Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in Biosciences

Doris Elster, University Bremen, Institute for Science Education, Biology Department (Germany)

Tanja Barendziak, Institute of Science Education (Germany)

Julia Birkholz, University Bremen (Germany)


STARBIOS 2 (Structural Transformation to Attain Responsible BioSciences) is an European project in the program HORIZON 2020, coordinated by the University Tor Vergata at Rome (Italy). The project wants to contribute to the advancement of the European Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) strategy by promoting Action Plans (APs) in six European Universities ohented to attain a RRI structural change in research institutions and developing 3 further APs in non-european entities, all active in the field of biosciences.

The Institute of Science Education at the University of Bremen is one of the Partners in this four-years-lasting project. It triggers the structural change process in respect to RRI at the Faculty Biology and Chemistry. Therefore, the science educators developed a complex Action Plan (AP) aiming in the promotion of sensitiveness, awareness and structural change regarding the five RRI keys “Societal Engagement”, “Education”, “Gender”, “Open Access”, and “Ethics”.  

One of the major hubs in this change process is the Graduate School NanoCompetence which links researchers and students of natural sciences and social sciences with the goal to support research, application and communication in the field of nanoparticles and their effect on humans and the environment. A further hub to foster societal engagement through education is the public science educational lab Backstage Science (basci). Here the science educators offer an environment for inquiry-based teaching and learning (basci lab) and a discussion forum for researchers and the interested teachers and schools (basci talks).

The science educator will closely cooperate with the faculty-intern Quality Management and Control Group to integrate subject- specific RRI content in the broader institutional structure. The goal is to negotiate and to implement a RRI mission statement at the Faculty Biology. In this context we focus on gender sensitiveness by offering mentoring and a female career friendly research environment. Open access to research findings by offering websites and events such as science slams for different communities, and raising awareness for ethics by updating and reconstructing ethical research guidelines are our further goals.

The complex Action Plan of the Science Education Institute of the University Bremen and its first steps of implementation will be presented and discussed at the NPSE Conference in Florence.

Keywords: science education, responsible research and innovation, structural change, European project;


[1] European Commission (2012). Responsible Research and Innovation. Europe´s Ability to respond to societal challenges, European Union, Bruessels
[2] STARBIOS 2 Consortium (2017). Flyer, Paris: Sparks & Co. 
[3] Elster, D. (2016). Deliverable 5.1. -  Action Plan Partner University Bremen, EC.

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