zdi networks

How does a zdi network come about?

A regional MINT network becomes a zdi network or zdi center by developing a zdi concept for the region, in which the following "six sub-concepts" to be discribed:

regional political



STEM concept
for the region

resource or financing


The zdi office provides a catalog with key questions for developing the sub-concepts.

The founding of a zdi network takes place through a formal founding act with the participation of the NRW Ministry of Science. At the founding event, the Ministry and the regional partners sign a "Joint Declaration" that sets out the goals and areas of work of the zdi network and the contributions of the individual partners. At the end of the founding act, the ministry presented a zdi seal of quality. Thereafter, the seal of quality must be renewed annually.


A zdi network is supported by regional actors from schools, universities / science, business and regional politics. In the joint declaration, the partners undertake to help ensure that the jointly defined goals are achieved. The partners determine which of them will act as the regional zdi coordination office. This institution thus becomes the formal legal sponsor of the zdi network. In order to be able to cope with the necessary coordination tasks, sufficient personnel capacity must be provided by the executing agency and the partners. A financing plan with a horizon of at least two years is drawn up and regularly updated for the work of the coordination office. A zdi network is the central point of contact in the region for all questions relating to STEM education via its coordination office. It collects and views all MINT offers in the region outside of school lessons and presents them to the outside world in a transparent manner for the schools, universities and companies in the region. In principle, a zdi network is free to choose its organizational structures. However, it is necessary for the most important partners to meet regularly to take stock and to discuss further short and long-term work, including priorities. To this end, many centers have formed an advisory board or steering committee made up of representatives of central MINT actors in the region, which takes care of strategic questions relating to the orientation and financing of the zdi network.

A coordination team with representatives of the most important partner groups organizes the day-to-day business and the design of the zdi network's offers. This team or the sponsor organizes partner meetings of all supporters of the zdi network several times a year to report on their work and that of the advisory board. The partners also have the opportunity to make suggestions here. Under the moderation of the coordination team, the zdi network creates a STEM concept for the region and updates it regularly. As a rule, a zdi network has several locations (the partners) where STEM courses are offered for schoolchildren.


A zdi network coordinates and develops a regular MINT course program for schoolchildren in the region to supplement the regular school curriculum. The course program is regularly evaluated and further developed on the basis of participant surveys. The zdi network can be both a provider itself and a pure coordinator and multiplier. In coordination with its partners, a zdi network organizes offers for in-depth study and career orientation in the MINT subjects and coordinates these with the labor market players in its region. They are to be understood as subject-specific additions to the new transitional system "No degree without connection" (KAoA). On the one hand, it is the contact for teachers who are looking for contacts with companies or universities to supplement their STEM lessons, and on the other hand, they are the contact for universities and companies who want to offer the schools in the region projects in the MINT field. A zdi network works with universities and scientific institutions in the region to better disseminate their offers for young people and, if necessary, to further develop or supplement them. In this respect, it makes an active contribution to the short- and long-term Study orientation as well as for the utilization of current knowledge from universities and science for subject teaching in schools and projects.

The sphere of activity of a zdi network covers the entire area of ​​the region served. It sets itself the goal of involving all schools and companies in the catchment area in the long term. In districts, this is associated with the aim of gradually winning over as many school authorities and municipal business development agencies as possible to the zdi work. This usually requires the development of several locations in the zdi network. In the zdi centers of the urban districts, this is linked to the requirement to gradually involve all schools along the entire education chain in the zdi work.

A zdi network aims to support the entire educational chain from kindergarten to transition into long-term Study or to get a job. It promotes the talents of as many young people as possible and thus contributes to educational equity and permeability in the education system. Operates a zdi network Press and Public Relations on MINT topics for the joint work of the zdi partners. The carrier of a zdi network organizes the joint application for all partners zdi funding.

In return, the partners undertake to participate in the fulfillment of all necessary documentation and reporting obligations in a timely manner. A zdi network participates in the rounds regularly organized by the zdi office to exchange experiences and in the semi-annual data collection by the zdi state office (zdi monitoring and status reports). In order to constantly improve in its work, a zdi network regularly takes part in the training courses offered by the zdi Academy part.

What is the significance of the zdi seal of quality?

The zdi seal of quality was developed in a dialogue between the zdi networks and the zdi office in a joint process over the years since the start of the community offensive. Based on a series of characteristics, it describes the criteria for a successful zdi work. These criteria are not to be understood as static.

Rather, they are regularly adapted to the dynamic development and the common goals of the zdi partners. The Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, as the initiator and coordinator of the zdi community offensive, awards the zdi seal of quality for the first time at a founding event of a zdi network on the basis of the present "six sub-concepts". Thereafter, the seal of quality must be renewed annually. The following requirements exist for an annual renewal of the quality seal by the Ministry of Science:

Participation in the half-yearly monitoring and reporting activities of the zdi office

Carrying out an annual status meeting between the zdi office and the network, in which the previous development and the development prospects are checked and documented

If the development prospects are positively evaluated, the zdi office recommends that the Ministry of Science renew the zdi seal of quality for another year. The zdi seal of quality is usually awarded around the middle of the year. With the award, the employees of the zdi networks have access to further training, can exchange ideas with other MINT activists at zdi events and use networking offers throughout NRW. You also have your own zdi community platform the ability to market and manage their offerings, build digital communities around STEM, and distribute badges and STEM resumes.


You can also find more information about the regional networks under the following links.