At zdi.NRW, regional MINT actors join forces to form fixed networks in order to promote young STEM students in extracurricular activities and to inspire lasting interest in STEM. The concept is successful and inspires thousands of students every year for MINT. Across Germany and Europe, zdi.NRW is considered a blueprint for a successful MINT overall strategy and, based on the community offensive, more and more network structures are being created to promote young MINT talent in Germany and around the world.
Making extracurricular MINT offers for children and young people as easily accessible as hobbies in sports or music clubs - that is one of the central goals of the MINT action plan of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which was initiated in 2019. Part of the MINT action plan is the promotion of so-called MINT education clusters, i.e. regional associations of MINT actors who design and implement courses in MINT education. What has been made possible in North Rhine-Westphalia by the zdi.NRW joint offensive for 15 years is by no means common practice in the other federal states. Corresponding extracurricular MINT offers are often hardly coordinated and the actors: inside are insufficiently networked with each other. The MINT clusters are intended to remedy the situation and guarantee transparent and well-functioning MINT young talent promotion - nationwide. The joint offensive zdi.NRW serves as an important model, which is a pioneer nationwide and even Europe-wide and serves as a blueprint for many MINT initiatives with a network structure.
The following articles tell how the idea of the MINT network was spread around the world:
2006 | Laying of the foundation stone – The 1st zdi network IST.Bochum.NRW
zdi.NRW now includes 47 networks and more than 70 student laboratories that are active in all regions of North Rhine-Westphalia. This makes zdi the largest STEM community in Europe. It all started in 2006 with the founding of the first zdi network: Innovation.School.Technology, the IST.Bochum. Here the foundation stone was laid for the idea of a MINT network that brings together regional partners from business, universities, schools and politics. The goal: to introduce children and young people to STEM at an early stage in order to secure the next generation of STEM. Here is the whole story.
2008 | From NRW to Atlanta – zdi is going international
The successful zdi.NRW concept will not remain in North Rhine-Westphalia. At the 3rd zdi robot competition, the robot team from the Ketteler Realschule in Hopsten achieved its first major victory in 2008 – and qualified to take part in the German final of the First Lego League in Leipzig. This is where the triumph of the Hopstener team begins, which takes them through the Central European final in Norway to the World Championships in the USA. zdi.NRW was always at the side of the team as a sponsor and the idea of an overall MINT strategy for extracurricular educational opportunities is being spread around the world. You can read the whole story here!
2019 | STEM strategy Vorarlberg – zdi.NRW inspires European STEM actors
Through the national and international activities of zdi actors, the idea of regional associations to promote young MINT young people is carried to neighboring European countries. In Austria, too, there is a risk of a shortage of skilled workers in the STEM field. For this reason, a MINT strategy is being developed in Vorarlberg to strengthen regional networks in order to promote basic knowledge and enthusiasm for MINT topics, MINT school subjects and corresponding training and study courses, to coordinate them more closely and to develop them qualitatively. The strategy process will be initiated in March 2019. In order to strengthen and professionalize the implementation structures for the most effective MINT funding possible throughout the state, the expertise of zdi actors will be used. Here you can find all the information about the STEM strategy in Vorarlberg.
2020 | MINT education cluster - zdi.NRW as a model for nationwide network structures
22 MINT education clusters are currently starting their work nationwide. These new regional associations are intended to make extracurricular MINT offers for children and young people possible across the board. The MINT clusters, from which children and young people in a total of 14 federal states are to benefit, are a central component of the MINT action plan of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Here you can find out more about the MINT education clusters of the BMBF.
Three MINT clusters have also formed in North Rhine-Westphalia, the first of which has already started work: MINTinMIND. In the Middle Lower Rhine region, the cluster is responsible for building a network that wants to get young people with structural disadvantages related to their origin interested in MINT topics. Under the direction of the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, regional offers are linked and carried out taking diversity-oriented didactics into account.