Our approach

The project centres around the theme of ‘Socio-scientific Inquiry-based Learning’ (SSIBL)

Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning (SSIBL) is a novel pedagogical framework which connects the following pedagogical concepts with Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI):

a) Inquiry-based Science Education (IBSE)
b) Socio-scientific Issues (SSI)
c) Citizenship Education (CE)

The connections between these components are represented in the figure. Click on the text in the SSIBL diagram to see an explanatory text below the figure.

Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning (SSIBL) framework

Click on the layers for relevant information

RRI context


Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) underpins the connection between scientific and technological applications and their social context, in terms of values and change. Three features of RRI can be distinguished: Science for Society (SfS), Science with Society (SwS) and the coupling of research and innovation with responsibility (R&R). The first one, SfS, focuses on a discussion between values and social norms, by attempting to relate scientific progress to the needs of society. The second, SwS, promotes public critical participation in the innovation process, acknowledging that non‐scientists are, like scientists, concerned by changes influenced by technology. The third, R&R, acknowledges that the nature of science is linked to dealing with risks and uncertainties of scientific research and innovation in a responsible way.

Citizenship education (CE)


Citizenship Education (CE) includes the areas of human rights, democratic citizenship, political action and critical thinking. Existing frameworks combine the elements of critical citizenship education, i.e. politics (ideology), social (collective), self (subjectivity) and praxis (engagement), with practical attributes developed by the subject, i.e. knowledge, skills, values and dispositions. Deliberative dialogue is also a part of the CE perspective. Students’ ability to listen, respect, discuss and criticize scientific evidence represents a substantial component of the SSIBL process.

Socio‐Scientific Issues (SSI)

Socio‐Scientific Issues (SSI) are controversies, or ‘wicked’ problems with no straightforward solutions, occurring both at the societal and the scientific level. Controversies comprise a plurality of values and representations justifying different opinions. SSI pursue two goals: (1) emphasizing citizen participation and dialogue. (2) Teaching controversies represents a particular challenge because controversies reflect different viewpoints, which are often transdisciplinary, and the teacher has to be sensitive to diverse values and not impose his or her own opinions. Additionally, SSI incorporate different kinds of knowledge, affect and values such as: 

  • Knowledge of how science is made and validated;
  • The role of evidence;
  • Power relations in decision‐making;
  • Distinguishing between different kinds of statements, e.g. descriptive and normative statements.

Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE)

Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE). IBSE pedagogy is question‐driven and open‐ended. These are not easily attained. Inquiry‐based learning requires scaffolding and fading, and the generation of questions and/or issues, which are authentic, that is, they emerge from pressing interests of the students. To address this approach presupposes dispositions for collaboration and participation, links with agencies beyond the school, competencies in collecting and analysing data both scientific and social scientific (such as social surveys) and to reflect and act on findings.



The SSIBL framework is currently under revision, based on the results of the first round of Teacher Professional Development programs in the participating countries. The revised framework will be accessible from this page in the coming months.

In combining the educational value of the four concepts described above, SSIBL deploys the following pedagogical and learning characteristics:


  1. An understanding of how scientific principles can be transformed and operationalized in social and ethical contexts;
  2. An understanding of the uncertainty of the scientific endeavour and its applications in various contexts;
  3. An awareness that experts disagree both on scientific and ethical grounds;
  4. An ability to distinguish between scientific, social and ethical propositions;
  5. An ability to draw on the skills and procedures of dialogue, reasoned discussion and argumentation in articulating and persuading for and against certain points of view to confer RRI;
  6. A recognition of the social and political context in which decisions arising from SSI are made;
  7. An awareness of the complexity of SSIs and that few solutions are straightforward; and
  8. A recognition that there are diverse ways of negotiating SSIs which depend on the evidence available, the personal, political and social consequences of any decision, and the extent to which the issue divides diverse sectors in society.

European Commission

PARRISE (grant agreement 612438) is a four year programme (2014-2017) funded by the European Commission.

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