To date, the Group is constituted of the following
Armagh Planetarium (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Association for Science Education (ASE)
British National Space Centre Partnership (BNSC)
Careers Scotland (SCOTLAND)
Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
European Space Agency (ESA)
National Academy for Gifted and talented Youth (NAGTY)
National Science Learning Centre
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)
Space Education Council
Yorkshire Forward/Space Connections
The group met in September and November 2006.
The next meeting is scheduled for late March 2006 at the occasion
of the conclusion of the consultative/study phase.
THE ESERO PROJECT
Europe faces a severe decrease in the interest
of young people in, Science, Engineering and Technology (SET)
subjects as well as a decline in the uptake of SET careers. This
general disinterest in SET subjects and careers amongst young
Europeans, in particular young women, is more evident in the classical
SET disciplines in school and university subjects, such as mathematics,
physics and chemistry, than in emerging fields such as Information
and Communications Technology (ICT) or applied science. Combined
with an overall ageing scientific population in the European SET
workforce, this decrease of young people in SET related subjects
and careers could have serious consequences. These shortages will
not only affect the future tertiary education systems in Europe,
but more importantly the SET related industries and their employment
Although education was included from the outset
as one of ESA's basic activities in the ESA Convention, it is
only in the last few years that a dedicated education effort has
been undertaken both at corporate level and within the directorates.
As of 2005, an education policy and a new dedicated operational
structure has been set up, aimed at a joint effort between the
Education Department and directorates. Among others, the European
Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) project of particular
interest in this note is, together with a wide range of hands-on
activities for university students, part of an ambitious programme.
Reaching our primary target audience directly,
ie millions of students or professors/teachers, is an unworkable
task for ESA. In addition, not mentioning the various languages,
the educational systems are very different from one Member State
to another. Therefore, in order to implement with efficiency its
education policy, the Agency ideally had to opt for a "Member
State by Member State approach".
The objective of the ESERO project is to establish
in all ESA Member States "ESERO contact points" (an
ESA contractorpreferably located at already existing educational
facilities) manned by an education expert well integrated into
the national educational system and networks.
This should allow the ESA Education Department
to support, through the "ESERO contact point", the specific
educational needs of the Member States and to get easy access
to the already-existing national networks (publishers, museums,
teachers' associations, etc).
In conclusion, The ESERO project is aiming at
the development of close relations with national education stakeholders
and the participation in education activities tailored to the
specific situation in each Member State.
In order to maximise the chances of success,
it was decidedwith the full support of the concerned delegationsto
first start the implementation of the project with three "ESERO
contact points"; namely in Belgium, The Netherlands and Spain.
Besides a planning of regular reviews, an overall
evaluation of the pilot projects is planned at the end of 2007
and a decision to further expand towards other Member states will
then be taken. If positive, at least one "ESERO contact point"
per Member State will progressively be installed by 2010 at the
The implementation of the pilot phase is scheduled
over a period of two years, articulated in four stages. Namely:
a preparatory phase (three months) aiming at the setting up of
the "ESERO contact point"; the study phase (six months)
to identify the stakeholders, networks, needs, ...of the education
community; the strategy definition (three months) and finally
the operational phase (12 months).
The "ESERO contact point" in the Netherlands
is located at NEMO, the National Centre for Science and Technology,
in Amsterdam. It was officially inaugurated in April 2006. As
part of the contract, a consolidated study report has demonstrated
the need of such a location that can act, while answering the
needs of the education community, as a "one-stop-shop"
for the development, promotion and distribution of educational
space related materials.
The "ESERO contact point" in Spain
is located at the science centre "La CosmoCaixa" in
Barcelona; whilst the one for Belgium is situated at the Planetarium
in Brussels. The inauguration of both offices is planned for the
first quarter of 2007.