zdi community event 2022

How zdi networks benefit from each other throughout NRW

Finally personal exchange again! During lively discussions and lectures, the zdi community came to an understanding about new trends, experiences and challenges. Which current research trends should the STEM networks keep an eye on in the future? How do you motivate young people to get involved outside of school? And which soldering irons are best for building a lightsaber? This was only part of the questions and topics that the zdi community faced together on June 09th in the Bluebox at the Bochum University of Applied Sciences.

The visitors of the zdi community event are happy to finally be able to network personally again.

It puts a smile on my face that we can finally see each other in person again. And I see that smile reflected in the faces in front of me.

With these words, Georg Mertens from the Ministry of Culture and Science NRW opened the zdi community event. The zdi community shared this enthusiasm at the network meeting in the blue box of University of Bochum. In addition to informative lectures on current trends in the MINT scene, the focus was clearly set: the participants were able to present their projects and pass on their experiences and recommendations in personal discussions.

An important impetus set by various participants was the promotion of talents at all levels: Not only study support, but all MINT areas should be considered. This was also reflected in the projects represented on site, many of which pursue a tactile and low-threshold approach and thus achieve success.

Offering young people opportunities that they don't necessarily have at school and creating opportunities and access to new technologies - that's what drives us

emphasized Brigitte Timmer from the Ministry of Science and Culture NRW.

On the new technologies to be accessed in the future, Dr. Ulrich C. Gerth and Guido Lohnherr in their lectures. Technologies such as theragnostics, whereby reagents can be used for diagnosis and therapy at the same time, or regenerative medicine were identified as the "scientific topics of the decade" in the field of bioeconomy. With the latter, Dr. Gerth has high hopes for the training of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which are obtained from non-pluripotent stem cells by artificial reprogramming.

In his presentation, Guido Lohnherr emphasized the core task of the zdi networks, not only to deal with these new technologies, but also to promote knowledge transfer processes in order to disseminate the current results from science and research as far as possible and on all educational and social levels.

Guido Lohnherr as speaker at the zdi community event 2022

The theme of social mixing was that zdi youth advisory board especially at heart. The representatives of the advisory board, which was founded in September 2021 and consists of young people and young adults aged 13 and over, will in future support the zdi networks with ideas, insights and concepts. Inquiries to the youth advisory board can be made via Isabell Stollenwerk from zdi.NRW addressed to the members.

Representatives of the zdi youth advisory board with their LGS supervisors
Isabell Stollenwerk (zdi-LGS), Patrick (zdi youth advisory board), Elena (zdi youth advisory board) and Fabio Mancarella (zdi-LGS)

The two representatives of the advisory board present at the event asked themselves and the participants the question: How do you reach young people who lack the motivation to deal with STEM topics outside of school?  

One approach to a solution came from the ranks of various zdi actors: children and young people from a wide variety of backgrounds were addressed with low-threshold campaigns that score points with their more haptic approaches. Projects that offer a tangible sense of achievement would increase motivation and thus also the willingness to get involved in the long term. In this way, even small-scale projects can achieve a lasting effect.

Visitors enthusiastic about direct exchange

The personal exchange between the actors of the zdi networks, some of whom are struggling with similar challenges, also brought lasting advantages for the networks.

Visitors to the zdi community event in exchange

Many projects within the regions have only become possible thanks to the support and cooperation in the zdi network. The exchange across regions has so far been neglected, which is why today's event is particularly valuable for us

says Caroline Wilke, project manager at OstWestfalenLippe GmbH for the STEM Community 4.OWL, which includes six zdi networks.

The visitors of the zdi community event were able to give each other tips, exchange experiences and advise each other. For example, there were very practical questions such as: Which soldering irons are best suited for building a lightsaber?

At the zdi community event, many new impulses for existing and future projects and cooperations could be given. The partners within the zdi network, from the LGS to the youth advisory board to the coordinators and actors are looking forward to the cooperative and participatory cooperation - which we are happy to be able to take place more in real life again.

It was a firework of exchange! We really want to continue what caught the spark today

summarizes Magdalena Hein, project manager of zdi.NRW, the event.

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