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SySTEM 2020

The SySTEM 2020 Project, coordinated by Science Gallery Dublin, aims to tackle scientific literacy and STEM education of children and teenagers, in order to support our future citizens in this world of fast-evolving science and technology. SySTEM 2020 will focus on science learning outside the classroom, mapping the field across Europe, evaluating a number of transdisciplinary programmes to design best principles for educators in this field, and also examining individual learning ecologies by piloting self-evaluation tools for learners which will document science learning outside of the classroom.

Over the last decade, science and technology have evolved at an unprecedented pace and, while benefiting society immensely, these rapid innovations have left some disconnected from the realities of scientific practice and at times overwhelmed and unable to grasp the scientific principles involved in the daily lives of Europeans. This time of technological advancement has also seen the rise of scepticism towards science and questioning of scientifically established facts. Furthermore, the fast-paced progress of technology will induce a dramatic change in the labour market. The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of children beginning school now will be working in jobs that don’t yet exist. This has led to making the development of a scientifically and technologically literate society a priority in Europe.


In this context, SySTEM 2020 proposes a project that will identify and offer a better understanding of the impact of informal and non-formal science learning practice on young people aged 9 to 20 years old, and will focus on practice in spaces of transdisciplinary learning that have a broad appeal to young people. A better understanding of the former and the development of best practice tools for non-formal practitioners will have the best long term impact on the level of scientific literacy, science capital and engagement amongst Europe’s future decision makers.


This study will map practices in 19 EU countries, including in-depth studies in 8 of these countries, covering learners from various backgrounds including those from geographically remote, socio-economically disadvantaged, minority and/or migrant communities.


SySTEM 2020 has tasked itself with five main objectives:

  • ASSESS - To generate an overview of non-formal and informal science learning in Europe that contributes to the knowledge base of science with and for society;
  • UNDERSTAND AND IDEATE - To involve stakeholders in defining the main challenges regarding science learning outside classroom and to co-design ideas and concepts that support scientific literacy
  • DESIGN, DEVELOP AND EXECUTE - new tools and frameworks and practices for implementation in non-formal learning programmes.
  • REFLECT AND EVOLVE – To evaluate the success and learnings of the tools developed and improve their efficacy through an iterative design process;
  • ENGAGE AND INFORM – To communicate and disseminate the critical findings of this project over the duration of the three years.


Ecsite will be taking lead in the communication and dissemination of SySTEM 2020, creating a means to engage with the public and relevant stakeholders with the progress of the project, and the tools and activities created throughout the project. Ensuring the project's findings are widely distributed will ensure in making SySTEM 2020's influence is impactful and sustainable for informal and non-formal science learning environments across Europe.  


 SySTEM 2020 has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no. 788317

List of project partners

  • Waag
  • Ars Electronica
  • Aalto University
  • Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI)
  • L.A.T.R.A EE​



As part of the SySTEM 2020 project, Science Gallery Dublin have led the work on creating a White Paper on existing non-formal and informal learning frameworks in Europe. Its purpose is to do a systematic literature review of the field and identify the gaps.

Education & learning