Strengthening the cooperation between schools, research institutions and society
With the "Sparkling Science 2.0" programme, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) promotes Citizen Science projects in which pupils of all school levels and the civil society, are actively involved in the research process. Through their commitment, knowledge and skills, citizens make important contributions to science that would not be possible without their support. The increased participation of pupils and adults in research processes contributes significantly to deepening the dialogue between science and society and improves skills in scientific work and lifelong learning. The cooperation between science, schools and society also makes a significant contribution to achieving the trend reversal in Austria towards societal appreciation of research and innovation.
A bridge between research and education
In keeping with the "Citizen Science" research approach, an important component of the programme is the participation of the civil society, with a special focus on the involvement of school children in the projects.
The thematic focus "Science at Schools" of the programme funds projects that use special measures to promote the participation of schools from peripheral regions or schools in Austria that have not yet been reached or have hardly been reached with Citizen Science activities. Pupils from peripheral regions in Austria, from families with migration backgrounds and/or educationally disadvantaged children and young people will be able to gain an insight into the world of science.
Alternatively, additional funds for "Science at Schools" can be applied for for projects that additionally involve university colleges of teacher education as cooperation partners in order to jointly support schools in advancing their autonomous school focus areas in the field of science.
Building Citizen Science skills in the scientific community
“Sparkling Science 2.0” also aims to disseminate Citizen Science methods in the research community, e.g. by supporting Citizen Science-experienced researchers to work together with scientists without such experience. Innovative research results should attract international interest, support the career development of the researchers involved and thus advance national and international networking.
Promoting Open Science
In the spirit of Open Science, transparent research approaches that open access to the process of gaining knowledge - from the first research steps to the final publication - are promoted. Consequently, research data (Open Data) and research results (Open Access) from projects that receive funding by the BMBWF should be made freely available for the interested general public, if possible.
The aim of the programme is to support the open science movement and strengthen social participation and public engagement.