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https://novonordiskfonden.dk/en/news/a-major-national-study-will-investigate-children-and-young-peoples-interest-in-science/

A major national study will investigate children and young people’s interest in science

12 Dec 2019

A major national study will investigate children and young people’s interest in science

12 Dec 2019


The VILLUM FONDEN and the Novo Nordisk Foundation have jointly awarded DKK 21.3 million for a large nationwide study to provide new knowledge about children and young people’s interest and participation in natural science and technology and about the barriers that prevent some children and young people from becoming engaged in science.

The study, called SCOPE, will monitor the trends in science capital among children and young people in Denmark based on a rich and nuanced data set. The study will follow the same children and young people for 10 years and in many settings.

“With SCOPE, we aim to broadly understand how children and young people relate to science. We will examine how children and young people become knowledgeable, well-informed and committed citizens who can relate to how science influences the development of society. We will investigate educational choices and career paths, the influence of parents and the social networks of children and young people – all the factors that comprise science capital,” says Chantal Pohl Nielsen, VIVE – the Danish Center for Social Science Research, one of several organizations behind the study.

SCOPE is being implemented by a consortium representing insight from the didactics of science, sociological theory, econometrics, survey methods and qualitative methods. The consortium is being led by VIVE – the Danish Center for Social Science Research and the Department of Science Education of the University of Copenhagen and includes the teacher education programmes at University College Copenhagen and VIA University College as well as ASTRA – the National Center for Learning in Science, Technology and Health in Denmark.

An opportunity to measure the quality of science initiatives
Both the VILLUM FONDEN and the Novo Nordisk Foundation focus on strengthening the scientific and technological development and science capital of children and young people. Innovation in science and technology is part of sustaining Denmark in the future, and more children and young people therefore need to be equipped to take qualified positions on technological development and to consider it as a possible career path.

“The Government of Denmark is investing massively in the science capital of children and young people, including in its strategy to strengthen the natural sciences in education, and we comprise several foundations that support the efforts to strengthen the natural sciences in general education. Basically, future generations need to be equipped to take an informed view about scientific and technological development and the societal and ethical challenges that accompany this,” says Agi Csonka, Head of Programme, VILLUM FONDEN.

“This study provides the opportunity to monitor whether we can succeed in our joint efforts. And we will obtain a unique data set that will enable us to delve into the factors that strengthen the motivation of children and young people and how to reduce the science gap between children and young people from resource-rich and resource-poor families,” adds Agi Csonka.

Berith Bjørnholm, Senior Programme Manager and Head of Grants, Education & Outreach, Novo Nordisk Foundation, says: “SCOPE is an incredibly important project that can provide us and other actors working within science education and outreach – teachers, municipalities, organizations, project developers and researchers – with a solid tool for measuring the results of specific projects in many dimensions and in relation to a national average. This will create substantial knowledge about the impact and quality of initiatives and projects.”

For further information, contact:

Berith Bjørnholm, Senior Programme Manager and Head of Grants, Education & Outreach, Novo Nordisk Foundation, bebj@novo.dk, +45 3527 6637

Agi Csonka, Head of Programme, VILLUM FONDEN, aec@veluxfoundations.dk, +45 2014 0545

Signe Krabek, Deputy Manager, Communication, VILLUM FONDEN, sk@veluxfoundations.dk, +45 2049 6869

A new ambitious study over the next 10 years will elucidate the factors that determine how interested and motivated children and young people are for science. The study will examine the educational choices of young people, the influence of parents and the social networks of children and young people.