Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CSRC (Center for STEAM Education Research, Science Communication and Innovation)
Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31
The importance of CSRC for the society can be identified in the vision and mission statements of CSRC. The vision of the Centre is to contribute to the long-term economic, social and innovation growth of Cyprus through the advancement of STEAM research and education, the promotion of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking, the enhancement of a science and research culture and the development of responsible citizenship. The long-term goal is for CSRC to grow as a Centre, where creative and visionary ideas in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education are nurtured and implemented leading to a thriving STEAM literate population where all Cypriots will be able to participate, and contribute fully to 21st century society. The Centre will be a place inclusive to all people, including disadvantaged groups of the society, like disables, immigrants, tourists, people with socio-economically disadvantages, people from all races and all ages.
The consortium worked effectively to materialise the plans so that CSRC could have the desired long-term impact and importance to Cyprus and to be self-sustainable from a financial point of view. The specific issues, which had to be addressed during Phase 1, were: (a) the development of a business plan to set up CSRC and make it operational and financially viable, (b) the development of the CSRC research strategy plan and (c) the implementation of a range of dissemination and communication activities related to the project for specific stakeholders, in order to gain their support for project sustainability and for maximising its impact. All of these were importance issues needed to be addressed for the realisation of the CSRC in Phase 2.
The development of a strategic research plan required the exchange of information on ongoing state-of-the-art research at the premises of the EU academic partners. Information was exchanged and research topics were discussed during visits, between the Cypriot- and EU-academic partners with expertise in science education, science communication and emerging technologies for STEAM. Also, the consortium members were involved in visits to the premises of the Advanced Partners, so as to collect the necessary information towards the preparation of the business plan and best practices at EU and international level, through secondary and primary research, in order to assess the future needs and requirements for the new Centre.
Information was also collected via workshops, focus groups with educators and people from the industry and business sector, and via personal interviews with high level officials in Cyprus. Through these activities, the consortium was able to develop a clear roadmap of the current Cyprus environment regarding the needs for science education and science communication research and for the development of digital technology in these fields. It also helped in identifying preferences for the CSRC location, about its design/construction and the services it could offer, all of which were needed for the business plan.
Dissemination of the project was through the CSRC open events, high-level workshops, project website, dedicated social media accounts etc., as well as by involving the future CSRC stakeholders in activities, such as the University competition for innovative STEAM exhibits, the University Student Competition for the logo of the new Centre and the University Student Competition for the Preliminary Architectural Designs. CSRC also participated in several networking events for further dissemination and communication purposes for networking. Dissemination also helped in the collection marketing information used for the feasibility study towards the preparation of the business plan.
From the start until the end of this project the aim was to create wide public awareness about the long-term impact and the benefits that will derive from Cyprus and the wider area from the creation of the CSRC Centre. Thus a number of dissemination and communication activities took place, each for different target groups (teachers/educators, entrepreneurship/innovation experts, students/young people, start-up founders, decision-makers, policy makers, representatives of the Ministry of Education and other formal authorities related to the education area). Our CSRC team aims to enhance and develop even more activities.
The wider public (including parents and children) have now become better aware in Cyprus of the importance and impact that STEAM teaching has on young people’s education and development and are now more willing to support and encourage the development of such activities and Centres.
Teachers are very willing and interested in supporting the creation of the Science Centre in Cyprus, as they understand the added value that will be offered to their teaching of STEAM concepts and ideas.
Other relevant STEAM-related activities will now be encouraged to be developed, irrespective of whether the CSRC project will materialise following the Phase 2 proposal, as people have developed greater awareness and understanding of the importance of these fields (STEAM, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving, etc.)