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Introduction: Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education: Presenting the Challenge and Introducing Project IRIS

Abstract

Young people’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is a matter of international concern. Candidates qualified in physical sciences, mathematics and engineering in particular are expected to be in high demand in the coming years. Moreover, there is a distinct gender imbalance in many STEM disciplines. The research project Interests and Recruitment in Science, IRIS, emerged in response to this situation. The first part of this chapter presents the challenges connected with STEM participation, both in terms of global challenges requiring STEM expertise, in terms of equity and participation issues, and in terms of projected needs in the STEM workforce in different parts of Europe and the world. Commonalities as well as differences in participation patterns between countries and between STEM fields are displayed. In the final part of the chapter, the framework of IRIS is presented and the main data collection instruments are outlined. The objective of IRIS is to develop understanding of educational choice and recommendations concerning how a larger group of young people, women in particular, may come to consider STEM as a real and attractive option when making their educational and career choices. The IRIS project encompasses a range of qualitative and quantitative studies, which are briefly outlined. The chapter ends by presenting the structure and contents of the present book, which largely rests on results and perspectives produced within IRIS.

Keywords

  • Educational Choice
  • Project Iris

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In the present book, the terms “science and technology” and “science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)” are used more or less interchangeably. In most cases, when the focus is on young people’s relationship to this broad area of study as opposed to other disciplinary and professional areas like humanities, law, or crafts professions, no strong distinction is made between the different STEM disciplines. In some cases, STEM disciplines like physics, biological sciences or computer science are specified when the difference between STEM disciplines appears relevant or when the results reported concern only a subset of the STEM disciplines.

  2. 2.

    http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/, Accessed May 2013.

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Correspondence to Ellen Karoline Henriksen .

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Henriksen, E.K. (2015). Introduction: Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education: Presenting the Challenge and Introducing Project IRIS. In: Henriksen, E., Dillon, J., Ryder, J. (eds) Understanding Student Participation and Choice in Science and Technology Education. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7793-4_1

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