The SciCar consortium consists of two European universities – 1 from the Baltics (Estonia), 1 from the Nordics (Finland) – and 1 research institute from the Middle East region (Israel), standing at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. All three – UT, UH, WEIZ – have strong research profiles in science education research, and coming from different geographical regions, give an additional complementary value to the partnership. In choosing partners for the project, UT was specifically looking for institutions whose expertise matches and complements that of UT Centre for Science Education (CSE) and creates potential for new synergies. UT started by looking around in its existing collaboration network and limited the search to those centres that combine deep expertise in two areas- science and social science, more specifically in natural sciences and in science education with excellent research and methodological skills resulting in high-quality, high-impact research publications. Additional considerations included the potential for interdisciplinary exchange and synergies, (e.g. work and collaboration with science teachers, involvement in curriculum development in science and links with non- formal institutions) and the scope and quality of the partner’s international networks and collaborations Both the University of Helsinki and Weizmann Institute of Science perform well on the criteria specified above, while also complementing one another as well as the existing expertise at UT.
- Increase in Physics and Chemistry Education (didactics) related research.
- Increase papers published in high quality Science/Health Education Research journals.
- Raise numbers of Chemistry and Physics teachers being prepared for future needs.
- Develop a Research orientation in Science Centres/Museums.
University of Tartu
The University of Tartu (UT), founded in 1632, is the oldest, and major university in
Estonia. It is among the top 2% of the world’s best universities (by the World
University Rankings), has bilateral partnership agreements with 80 partner universities
from 31 countries and is a member of five regional and European cooperation networks
Centre for Science Education
The Centre for Science Education within the Faculty of Science and Technology is the only research Centre for science education in Estonia, The Centre has two professors, 14 PhD students and a number of international scholars. Besides research activities, the Centre is involved in teaching pre-service teachers and in conducting in-service teacher courses at interdisciplinary levels and in the separate science subjects. The science
teacher training programs include courses conducted in partnership with industry and science centers.
University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and 7 000 teachers and researchers. UH has 11 faculties, several research-oriented institutes, multidisciplinary research networks and campus units, as well as units attending to the duties of a national authority.
The Faculty of Educational Sciences at University of Helsinki is the largest and institute in its field in Finland. It is a multidisciplinary academic community with professional staff strongly committed to research. Key areas of research are education, society and culture and learning and interaction. Research is conducted in ecologically valid contexts, including schools and teacher education.
Weizmann Institute of Science
The Weizmann Institute of Science is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary basic research institutions in the natural and exact sciences. It is located in Rehovot, Israel, just south of Tel Aviv. It was initially established as the Daniel Sieff Institute in 1934, by Israel and Rebecca Sieff of London in memory of their son Daniel. In 1949, it was renamed for Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first President of the State of Israel and Founder of the Institute.
Department of Science Teaching. The Department is composed of groups working in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, life sciences, and science and technology for junior-high school. In all these areas there are extensive research and development projects, aimed at (1) studying science and mathematics learning and teaching and their development, (2) producing and implementing improved and up-to-date learning and teaching materials that integrate the use of modern technologies, and (3) providing professional development for teachers, all over Israel.