Ark of Inquiry: Inquiry Awards for Youth over Europe


‘Ark of Inquiry: Inquiry Awards for Youth over Europe' is a research and development project on teacher training, oriented towards raising awareness of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), particularly among young people between the ages of 7 and 18.

 Arc of Inquiry is funded by the European Commission and it involves 13 project partners from 12 countries. The project aims to raise youth awareness of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) by providing young European citizens (7 to 18-year-olds) with a pool of engaging inquiry-based activities to improve their inquiry skills, increase their awareness and understanding of conducting ‘real’ science, and prepare them to participate in different roles in the European research and innovation process.

Carefully selected inquiry-based activities will be made widely available across Europe via a special platform bringing together inquiry-based activities, learners and supporters (teachers, scientists, university students, researchers and teacher educators, and staff of museums, science centres and universities). The Ark of Inquiry platform will connect formal learning settings and curricula to centres for science and research, so that generations of scientists can meet each other. This project helps to build a society skilled in RRI and related scientific communication.

At least 23,000 pupils, 1,100 teachers, 100 science and teacher education students and 50 staff members from universities, museums and science centres are expected to participate in the project launched in March 2014.

Basic information

Country: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey

Coordinator: Centre for Educational Technology, Institute of Educational Science, Faculty of Social Sciences and Education, University of Tartu,

Programme: FP7

Project Acronym:

Target groups: college students, education authorities, general public, parents, policy makers, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university students, university lecturers, vocational school students, other

Topic: Applied sciences, Computer science, Chemistry, Environmental sciences, Genetics, Geography, Geology, Maths, Optics, Physics, Education


Contact person: Lead partner responsible for dissemination activities – Ms. Lauren Bohatka, Associate Project Officer, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe l.bohatka (at)

The Ark of Inquiry project centres around two closely related concepts: Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE). Ark of Inquiry aims at raising youth awareness of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), as well as building a scientifically literate and responsible society through Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE). Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is defined as a transparent, interactive process by which societal actors and innovators become mutually responsive to each other with a view to the (ethical) acceptability, sustainability and societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable products. Such approaches can bridge the gap between the scientific community and society.

The Ark of Inquiry project will develop a pedagogical framework that promotes pupils’ awareness of RRI and increases their awareness and understanding of conducting ‘real’ science. The project will collect existing inquiry-based activities and environments from various national and international projects that are related to RRI aspects and make them widely available through the Ark of Inquiry platform.

The results of the project will be widely disseminated in schools and universities and in society in general through scientific publications, publicly accessible websites, presentations, etc.

Scientists will contribute to the Ark of Inquiry project as members of a support network set up for teachers to help them with understanding and using the Ark of Inquiry material on RRI and enable them to work together effectively with pupils.

Teachers, the main project stakeholders, will be engaged in creating a new generation of pupils who are familiar with Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) practices. Specifically, the Ark of Inquiry project will:

  • create a pedagogical framework that is challenging to pupils and can be implemented with the support of teachers and other members of the supporting community;
  • develop instruments for evaluating learners’ inquiry skills and experiences in order to ensure progress and to provide pupils with meaningful feedback on their inquiry progress;
  • design an award system for pupils to motivate them to improve their inquiry skills and to recognize their achievements;
  • develop web-based guidance materials for teachers on how to support pupils in their inquiry activities;
  • provide teachers with rigorous face-to-face training on how to support pupils’ engagement with Ark of Inquiry activities.

Teachers are supported by a network of universities and science centres which will help in initiating inquiry activities and implementing them with their pupils.

Calls for schools and teachers are published on the Ark of Inquiry project website:

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