SEEDS - Scientific EngagEment for ADolescentS
Adolescents at risk and living in deprived areas have fewer opportunities for out of school activities, informal learning and reduced access to science education. The social determinants of health, specifically deprivation and lower access to health information, have major consequences in terms of chronic diseases. Scientific literacy can be promoted through enhancing health education: health research is well-valued in the society; topics are practical and relevant, and it is important to change unhealthy habits as early as possible; self-leadership and active methods are key ingredients.
SEEDS aims to foster science literacy and STEM education through raising health awareness through the empowerment of youth in critical thinking skills, self-management and self-care through community-based public engagement. The fundamental aim is to improve effectiveness of health promotion interventions in this population, whereby teenagers lead the process to transform their habits, contributing to sustainable behavioural change.
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers are related to the most advanced and productive sectors in the European Union job market. However, a small number of teenagers choose them. There is also a clear gender bias: only 10 out of 100 European women find STEM careers interesting. On the other hand, the number of boys has almost tripled.
In SEEDS we encourage teens to explore health issues that are important to them through citizen science. This way, they generate new knowledge while producing scientifically reliable results. This is very important because scientific publications that provide information for policy decisions usually do not take teenagers into account. That is because scientists tend to focus more on other age groups (like children and adults). In addition, unhealthy behaviours carried out as a teenager may have long-term effects on their health and well-being.
The approaches used in STEM activities increase motivation and self-confidence. Likewise, they decrease the risk of low morale (even drop-out) in secondary education.
SEEDS is a science project by teenagers for teenagers. It aims to empower them to live healthy lifestyles and to help them explore how important and exciting science is. They will use citizen science to create new experiments for healthy lifestyles. These will run for six months in schools in Spain, the Netherlands, Greece and the UK
Funding bodies: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 101006251
Schools in Spain, the UK, Greece and the Netherlands