The project builds upon the experience of Children’s Universities (CUs) in Europe and beyond. Due to their engagement with children and young people, they help to breakdown institutional boundaries between universities and the wider society. CU often sit between key organisations in the educational and social landscape, collaborating with both.
The project will establish “Local Education Clusters” (LECs), bringing together schools and further relevant actors in the educational ecosystem of 6 diverse pilot regions. These actors may be universities, governmental and non-governmental organisations, companies, charities, museums or other knowledge providers. The LECs will be incubators for enabling dialogue and for setting-up joint activities between these organisations at the overlapping edges of formal and non-formal education.
At the same time, the project aims to improve the quality of science engagement. PHERECLOS will implement a digital “OpenBadge” system which labels institutions as reliable and responsive actors allowing all LEC parties to become real agents of change in education. At the same time, this ecosystem will highlight individual achievements with respect to STEAM engagement.
The regional effectiveness and impact will be monitored and informed by implementation research. This will lead to the development of implementation guidelines and policy briefs to enhance the sustainability of the overall approach.
Therefore, PHERECLOS will highlight the wider benefits gleamed from our LECs and use these experiences to catalyse access to higher education for young people, particularly STEAM-related careers, affording benefits in a wider societal context.