Valente, A. (2014), Science Education: What Science to Study and Why, Background paper to the SIS-RRI International Conference – Science, innovation and society: Achieving responsible research and innovation.
Over the last fifteen years, the European Commission (EC) has been actively supporting the improvement of science education, taking into account the observation that in many countries fewer young people seem to be interested in science and technical subjects. Apparently, this is an issue, which has turned out to be an endless nest of Chinese boxes. A complex set of research questions surrounds the central point: Why study science? For several decades now, scientists have proposed answers that involve different interdisciplinary aspects, such as the insights of the scientific method, pedagogical issues, as well as the conception of the role of science in society and of citizens in society. This led to the identification of some crucial dimensions of science education which – throughout the course of the EU’s sixth and seventh Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (FP6/FP7) – can also be recognised in the objectives pursued by the EC’s ‘Science and Society’ (SaS) and ‘Science in Society’ (SiS) programmes.