Nets-EU: network to improve non-formal science teaching in Europe


NetS-EU (2010-2013) aims to collect, elaborate, diffuse and exploit ways of applying non-formal methods and the inquiry-based learning approach to science education at school.

The aim of the NetS-EU project is to build a network to share and exchange information, innovative tools and experiences on non-formal learning methods in science, with a particular focus on the inquiry-based learning approach.

The network consists of science centres and research and training centres promoting science careers; its objectives are:

  • to explore possible ways to make science and technology studies more attractive to students;
  • to provide teachers and students with information on STEM studies and careers;
  • to produce three annual reports on the state-of-the-art in non-formal science learning methods in Europe
  • to help to reduce the gender imbalance in science education and careers

The main networking platform is the Nets-EU community website, which facilitates discussion and information exchange; it is open to anyone interested in science education. However, the project also organises three international conferences (2011: Italy, Naples; 2012: Portugal, Lisbon; 2013: Belgium, Brussels) and several teacher workshops in the participating countries.

Basic information

Country: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia

Coordinator: Fondazione Idis-Città della Scienza, Naples, Italy,

Programme: LLP

Project Acronym:

Target groups: primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university lecturers, vocational school students

Topic: Education, Other

Start year: 2010

End year: 2013


Contact person: Alessandra Drioli, drioli (at), Fondazione Idis-Città della Scienza, Naples, Italy

The project reviewed and collected best practices examples in non-formal and inquiry-based science education (IBSE), and the best resources available online. The selection criteria for the resources were:

  • Accurate and balanced scientific information
  • Appropriate message and content
  • Non-formal and IBSE approach
  • Content in English

Research activity also included a questionnaire survey among teachers and experts from the partner countries. The initial aim of the survey of teachers is to gain more information about:

  • Teachers' general perception about formal, non-formal and informal education concepts and the inquiry-based learning approach.
  • The methodologies most frequently used by teachers in the classroom.
  • Teachers' main training needs.

The teacher workshops organised by the project aim to work as multiplier training sessions for teachers and teacher trainers on inquiry-based science education. The methodology of the workshops is focused on the use of the science content as a vehicle to develop skills in information processing and problem solving.

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