Sparkling Science was a research programme of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) which started in 2007 and adopted an unconventional way in the promotion of young scientists that is unique in Europe. 

The specific characteristic of the programme: in 299 projects scientists worked side by side with young people on current research questions. The research method applied here is also known as “Citizen Science”.

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In 299 research projects the young colleagues took an active part and worked independently on parts of the research projects. As junior colleagues they introduced important suggestions into the research approach. They collaborated in the conception and conducting of investigations, conduct polls, collect data, interpreted it together with the researchers and present the results at schools, universities and even at scientific conferences. 

The support track is open to a broad thematic spectrum. Research is carried out on all sorts of different topics: from mechatronics and molecular biology to migration research, from acoustics and biometrics to literature research. 

In the framework of a second support track of the Sparkling Science programme the BMWFW awarded from 2007 until 2011 grants for smaller projects – in this case “school research projects” submitted and conducted by schools. In these projects, too, schoolchildren worked closely together with researchers and supported them in their research work; these, however, were funded by other national and international research programmes outside the Sparkling Science programme. This support track also provided no thematic restrictions.

Further information on Austrian actions at the interface of science and school can be found on the homepage of Young Science - the Centre for Cooperation between Science & Schools