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Institute of Education

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Enterprising Science

2013 - 17 | Funded by BP

Project Director: Professor Louise Archer

Enterprising Science is a science education research and development project partnership between the University College London (UCL), King's College London (KCL) and the Science Museum.

It uses the concept of 'science capital' (science-related qualifications, interest, literacy and social contacts) to understand how young people from all backgrounds engage with science and how their engagement might be supported.

The project started at King’s College London and moved to UCL Institute of Education in March 2017.

Research

Our research shows that the more science capital a young person has, the more likely they are to study science post-16 and to see science as 'for me'. Yet, our national survey shows that 27% of all 11 to 17 year olds have low science capital, particularly those from disadvantaged schools and communities.

Low science capital limits their opportunities and outcomes in life, and contributes to the shortfall in young people in the UK choosing STEM subjects.

Read more:

Project Aims

Enterprising Science aims to engage more young people with science by:

  • refining the concepts of 'science capital' and 'student engagement with science'
  • increasing understanding about the factors that influence science engagement and participation among young people
  • co-developing a pedagogical approach with teachers that engages students from all backgrounds with science, particularly focusing on those from disadvantaged schools and communities
  • informing the practice of informal science education settings such as museums and science centres.

Collaboration

The project is a partnership of academics and practitioners working together to support schools and other professionals to engage more young people with science and develop equitable practice.

Our approach aims to highlight the relevance of science to diverse young people's futures, and find ways to connect school science with students' diverse identities and lives.

We predominantly work with teachers from secondary schools across London and the North of England and their students.

Our partners also include the Science Museum Group and the National STEM Learning Centre.

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