Making pupils aware of biotechnology and sustainability

Assessing and understanding the impact of education and communication in life sciences

RESEARCH QUESTION
How can education and communication activities be designed and organised to encourage people to improve people’s concept of biotechnology and to encourage people to critically evaluate science and technology development?

Duration: December 2009 - present. 

SUMMARY
Introducing pupils to biotechnology and raising their global awareness, that is the purpose of the ‘Imagine’ schools project. In this project, secondary school pupils carry out an assignment in which they, based on the idea of a scientist, study the potential of a biotechnological application in the 3rd world. The idea which is best worked out is implemented in practice, and is later visited by the winning school pupils.

A huge success, the project has been running for some time now. In this research project, researchers try to find out which criteria are essential to the success of projects like ‘Imagine’. Their method involved testing ‘Imagine’ against various educational theories and conducting interviews with those involved: scientists, teachers and (former) pupils. Additionally, the researchers want to find out to what degree this project contributes towards the awareness of concepts like biotechnology and sustainability.

Ultimately, this should provide an outline of success and failure factors in educational projects. Researchers also hope to develop a system for measuring the qualitative success of projects of this type.