The University of Vienna was founded in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world and one of the largest in Central Europe. Currently, about 85,000 students are enrolled at the University of Vienna, in 177 courses, of which 52 are Bachelor Programmes, 108 Master Programmes, 7 Diploma Programmes and 10 Ph.D. programmes. The University of Vienna is the largest teaching and research institution in Austria. It aims to sustain a wide range of studies, but at the same time to promote new and innovative fields of research, and to establish new networks between subjects. The Austrian Educational Competence Centre for Biology (AECC Biology) was founded in 2006. The objectives of the centre are research, development and support in teaching and learning biology. An important research and development focus of the AECC Biology is the enhancement of inquiry skills and knowledge about the nature of biology/science in students and teachers.
The AECC provides teachers (in in-service and pre-service training programs) with the special knowledge needed to support students’ learning about the nature of science and biology in IBSE learning environments. Another field of expertise of the AECC Biology are the development, implementation and evaluation of student-scientist-partnerships as one promising opportunity for students to get to know real science. In the research and development project “Kids Participation in Research” (KiP) a theory-& evidence-based model for student-scientist-partnerships was developed and tested from 2008-2010. The current project phase (2010-2014) is designed to implement the adapted model in the educational landscape. The dissemination of this form of Inquiry Learning is also being supported by European and regional networks for science learning (EU project PROFILES, Austrian network IMST – www.imst.ac.at).
Within the PARRISE the science educators at the AECC Biology will mainly contribute to the objectives of the WP3 and WP4 workpackages by sharing their expertise in pre- and in-service teacher training programs for IBSE and student-scientist-partnerships and by implementing TPD courses according to the WP descriptions. AECC biology will host the 4th consortium meeting in Vienna in month 29 of the project.