Universität Innsbruck


SEASScience Education for Action and engagement towards Sustainability

As technological, socio-economical, and environmental changes are rapidly transforming and posing new challenges to our societies, the cultivation of new scientific literacies and forms of engagement with science are needed to secure a science-knowledgeable citizenship capable of actively contributing to address present and future challenges. To this aim, it is important to create and explore ways of expanding science education beyond traditional schooling models, which shall provide young and adult learners opportunities to engage in authentic science inquiry across formal, non-formal, and informal settings. Open schooling initiatives, where schools in cooperation with other stakeholders become agents of social change and community well being, offer a promising but also challenging solution that requires a research-based, practice-oriented coordination to foster and support the necessary transformational action1

Within SEAS the project partners from Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, establish, coordinate and evaluate collaboration among six open schooling networks led by universities and science centres. As part of these networks, and drawing on principles of inquiry-based science learning for transformative engagement, students in formal schools are given the opportunity to engage in addressing real-life, complex sustainability challenges that are identified and dealt with together with participants and stakeholders in the local community.

SEAS develops and makes use of models for open-schooling implementation that supports schools and out-of-school institutions to collaborate in the promotion, among students and citizens in the larger community, of 21st century scientific literacy and skills for responsible citizenship.

SEAS delivers enhanced opportunities for students and citizens to develop deeper interest in science and inclusive scientific literacy, both in the target communities and beyond them taking into account gender, socio-economic status and geographical differences. By providing facilitation and mediation tools and methods for the identification and implementation of sustainability challenges in the participants’ local communities, SEAS makes it possible for students to collaborate with families and stakeholders from civil society and industry in becoming agents of community well-being.

SEAS provides participants with the necessary expertise, networking, and sharing resource experience to address these challenges and, in doing so, develop deeper scientific literacy skills and interest in science education and careers. SEAS also contributes to generating models and experiences for ways in which science education inside and outside of the school may become part of the solution to some of the greatest challenges of our times.

Overall aims

  1. Identifying core principles and best practices required for creating and sustaining open schooling collaborations.
  2. Promoting scientific literacies and skills necessary to engage in addressing real-life, complex sustainability challenges.

Within the SEAS project the k.i.d.Z.21 – Austria open-schooling network, which was established in 2012 for the first time, is further organized and evaluated. The open-schooling network k.i.d.Z.21 is a collaboration between researchers and students of the Department of Geography of the University of Innsbruck and students and teachers of Austrian and Bavarian schools. Resulting of the project structure, further experts and local stakeholders in the areas of cryosphere, pedosphere and biosphere research, environmental ethics and tourism are involved.

Aim of the project is to raise student’s awareness, as well as strengthening their action and adaption capabilities regarding climate change and resulting socially relevant impacts. As our future leaders, students have to be prepared to the social, economic and ecological challenges of the 21 century.

Project data

Funding period: 01.09.2019 – 31.08.2022
SEAS Partners:
k.i.d.Z.21 Partners:
  • Federal and Regional Work Groups of Geography and Economics Teachers for AHS, Austria
  • Climate Change Centre, Austria
  • Association of Austrian Geography Scientists
  • Ministry for Education and Women, Austria
  • Ministry for a Liveable Austria, Austria
  • Ministry for Science, Research and Economies, Austria
Funding: Flag of the EUThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 824522.
Website: https://www.seas.uio.no/
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