Funding for regional STEM cluster: student lab SENSOR SPACE to be created at the TRIDELTA CAMPUS
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will fund the best regional STEM clusters starting in November 2020. This is part of a central promotion strategy for the STEM subjects science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through extracurricular activities for children and adolescents, STEM education is to be strengthened across the board, thus securing skilled workers in the long term. Among the funded projects is the MINT cluster SENSOR SPACE with the participation of Fraunhofer IKTS. After school clubs, events and summer schools for students will be offered in and around the Hermsdorf area in eastern Thuringia, with a special focus on the transfer of knowledge about batteries and sensor technology.
Regional alliance uses existing structures
Under the coordination of the location initiative TRIDELTA CAMPUS Hermsdorf, regional actors are working together to establish different formats to promote STEM education. Existing structures are consciously used and expanded. The Saale-Holzland district as an educational institution can make the premises of the state vocational school center available as the central learning location of the SENSOR SPACE. The Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research Thuringia (STIFT) contributes the experience and contacts of other regional student research centers and is responsible for training courses. Team Nucleus, the knowledge and technology transfer office of Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences and the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, develops camp formats and supports their implementation. Fraunhofer IKTS is a scientific partner in the MINT cluster SENSOR SPACE and can showcase cutting-edge research fields, for example in the area of sensor technology and battery research, in the programs. According to Janina Kühn, head of the TRIDELTA CAMPUS office, the strength lies in the interaction of the various players: "With the student lab SENSOR SPACE, the TRIDELTA CAMPUS and its partners are making a decisive contribution to the technical education of children and young adults and the associated digital transformation of society in Eastern Thuringia.”
Summer school planned for Hermsdorf
As part of the BMBF project, which is funded with around 450,000 €, course formats and after school clubs will be set up and expanded at regional schools over the next three years. With the acquisition of learning cases and further technical equipment, the courses can be put together from several modules as needed. Thanks to the SENSOR SPACE mobile, rural areas will also be able to benefit from the programs offered by the MINT cluster in the future. In addition, Fraunhofer IKTS will offer a Summer School at the Hermsdorf site in the summer of 2021. Accompanied by Fraunhofer researchers, students will learn more about the function, construction and use of sensors in a one-week course and also build and test them in practice. They will also gain an insight into one of the largest applied research institutes in the region. For Prof. Michael Stelter, Deputy Director of Fraunhofer IKTS, the commitment is a logical step: "Unfortunately, we are already confronted with the shortage of skilled workers in technical and scientific professions, such as we need at the institute. Our commitment to arouse STEM interest regionally and to specifically promote young talent locally is therefore a consistent step."