Second round of funding for regional STEM clusters | Online exchange of experiences of the zdi community

At the beginning of January, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) published the second announcement on the funding of regional clusters for the STEM education of young people. In an online exchange initiated by the zdi regional office, Matthias Vinnemeier from the zdi center pro MINT GT and Chrissoula Tolidou from the zdi center KReMINTec shared their experiences with the funding program and answered questions from the zdi community. Both zdi networks were involved in successful applications in the first application round in 2020.

Committed and well-organized partners, staying power and short coordination paths - these are the basic ingredients for a successful application for funding of regional STEM clusters. In the meantime, the 22 MINT clusters that were awarded the contract in the first round of applications have started. These include MINT in MIND with the participation of the zdi center KReMINTec and MINT COMMUNITY 4.OWL with the participation of the zdi center pro MINT GT. In an online exchange, the zdi coordinators Tolidou and Vinnemeier reported on their experiences with the application and the respective content-related objectives.

Best prerequisites as a zdi network

"The aim of the MINT cluster is to expand existing structures and to network regional MINT actors with each other in order to create an overarching whole," says Chrissoula Tolidou. As a zdi network in particular, you are well connected and can also strengthen your own region as part of a MINT cluster. In its operational work, the MINT in MIND cluster is dedicated to reducing the structural disadvantages of children and young people, with a particular focus on girls and young women. A separate online platform for extracurricular activities in the region is to be developed for this purpose. An online platform is also planned for the MINT cluster MINT COMMUNITY 4.OWL, whereby the NRW-wide MINT community platform is to be used as an existing instrument, reports Matthias Vinnemeier. Using the online tool, the individual actors in the region can network with each other and MINT offers are made more accessible. The MINT COMMUNITY 4.OWL focuses on strengthening educational institutions in which children and young people meet and in which the topics MINT and digitization are not (yet) in the foreground. A pool of regional MINT actors is also being set up, who can be booked as speakers in the field of MINT young talent promotion.

The cumbersome application procedure pays off

According to Tolidou and Vinnemeier, the application process should not be underestimated. A joint main application is followed by individual applications from all network partners. The main application in particular is complex. It is clearly an advantage here if the partners involved have experience in preparing project applications. The effort of the second application is all the less for the zdi networks. The conclusion of the two zdi coordinators: The coordination and close coordination of the applicants is time-consuming, but the effort is worth it. Thanks to the MINT clusters, structures are being strengthened and created in many regions that guarantee sustainable and nationwide MINT promotion of young talent.

The deadline for submitting project outlines is April 26, 2021.

Further information

The text of the announcement can be found here:

About the interview: Information about the MINT action plan - call for applications for MINT clusters (2019)

Here it goes to the pages of the zdi center pro MINT GT.

And here to the pages of the zdi center KReMINTec.

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