The congress gave an insight into various aspects of this Europe-wide unique initiative, in which many excellent research results have been achieved.
In his welcome speech, Dr. Christian Smoliner of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research appealed to the courage, the innovation and the commitment of all involved to reduce further barriers and hurdles between research and educational institutions and to transform schools into innovation centers of the future.
Subsequently, the chairman of the scientific Sparkling Science Board of Trustees, em. Univ. Prof. Adelheid Biesecker, praised in her keynote speech "Sparkling Science - a Sparkling Challenge for a Sustainable Science", the initially shown courage to start a program with a completely uncertain outcome. For the future she emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, the integration of empirical knowledge into scientific terrain to continue the search for solutions "to a better human life".
Sparkling Science works!
The positive effect of Sparkling Science on an institutional level was clarified by Brigitte Tiefenthaler (technopolis-group) with the presentation of the Technopolis study. The analysis shows that sparkling science projects have created many new networks and partnerships between research and education institutions as well as with partners from the private sector. The study also indicates that such cooperation can only take place to a significant extent, if subsidies are available.
In the follow-up Sparkling Dialogue, people from non-university and university research institutions as well as schools answered together with Dr. Ing. Christian Smoliner (Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research) burning questions from the audience.
Prizes and awards
The presentation of the Young Science Inspiration Award 2019 by Federal Minister Iris Rauskala and OeAD Managing Director Jakob Calice was one of the highlights of the festive event. After a public vote, Susanne Schwendinger from the HTL Dornbirn received the 500 Euro award for her work from the Sparkling Science project "CSI: TRACE your FOOD!"
The ceremony also honored the most committed educational and research institutions from a total of 299 Sparkling Science projects. The University of Vienna, the University of Innsbruck and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna were honored as university institutions. The Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics and the Institute for Jewish History in Austria were honored for their commitment at the non-university research institutions. The schools awarded were the Volksschule Unzmarkt (Stmk), the Volksschule Grünau im Almtal (Upper Austria), the NMS Zirl (Tyrol), the AHS Rahlgasse (Vienna) and the HTL Donaustadt (Vienna).
Sparkling Science - Facts and figures
Since 2007, the research funding program Sparkling Science has successfully combined in an unconventional way research with pre-university promotion of young researchers. The thematically open funding program of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research shows how successful cooperation of science and school works on an equal level. A Citizen Science approach involved children and adolescents actively in research projects and created incentives for lasting networks between educational and research institutions.
More than 95,000 pupils of all ages were involved in an innovative way and worked on unresolved questions within a wide variety of research disciplines. In 299 projects more than 4,200 researchers from a wide variety of academic institutions collaborated with different types of schools. Every second AHS and every fifth BHS / BMHS in Austria entered this kind of research and education cooperation.