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 establishment 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” in which the goals and work areas of the zdi network as well as the contributions of the individual partners are set out. At the end of the founding act, the ministry presents a zdi quality seal. The quality seal must then be renewed annually.


A zdi network is supported by regional actors from the areas of 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 point. This institution thus becomes the formal legal body of the zdi network. In order to be able to handle the necessary coordination tasks, sufficient personnel capacity must be provided by the provider and the partners. For the work of the coordination office, a financing plan with a horizon of at least two years is drawn up and updated regularly. A zdi network, through its coordination office, is the central contact in the region for all questions regarding MINT education. It collects and sifts through all MINT offerings in the region outside of school lessons and presents them transparently to the outside world for schools, universities and companies in the region. In principle, a zdi network is free to choose its organizational structures. However, it is necessary that the most important partners meet regularly to take stock and discuss further short- and long-term work, including priorities. For this purpose, many centers have formed an advisory board or steering group made up of representatives of central MINT actors in the region, which takes care of strategic questions regarding the orientation and financing of the zdi network.

A coordination team with representatives from the most important groups organizes the ongoing day-to-day business and the offering of the zdi network. This team or the sponsor organizes partner meetings of all supporters of the zdi network several times a year in order to report on their work and that of the advisory board. Here the partners also have the opportunity to provide suggestions. Under the moderation of the coordination team, the zdi network creates a MINT concept for the region and updates it regularly. As a rule, a zdi network has several locations (the partners) where MINT courses are offered for students.


A zdi network coordinates and develops a regular MINT course program for students in the region to supplement regular school lessons. The course program is regularly evaluated and further developed on the basis of participant surveys. The zdi network can be a provider itself or 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 actors in the region. They are to be understood as subject-specific additions to the new transition system “No qualification without connection” (KAoA). On the one hand, it is a contact for teachers who are looking for contacts with companies or universities to supplement MINT lessons, and on the other hand, it is a contact for universities and companies that want to offer projects in the MINT area to the region's schools. A zdi network works with universities and scientific institutions in the region to better disseminate their offerings for young people and, if necessary, to further develop or supplement them. In this respect, it makes an active contribution to short- and long-term study orientation as well as to the use of current knowledge from universities and science for specialist teaching in schools and projects.

The scope of a zdi network covers the entire area of ​​the region served. The goal is to integrate all schools and companies in the catchment area in the long term. In regional districts, this is associated with the aim of gradually winning over as many school authorities and local economic development agencies as possible for zdi's work. This usually requires the establishment of several zdi network locations. In zdi networks in independent cities, this entails the aim of gradually integrating all schools along the entire educational chain into zdi work.

A zdi network has the long-term goal of opening up the entire educational chain from kindergarten to the transition to a degree or career. It promotes the talents of as many young people as possible and thus contributes to educational equity and permeability in the education system. A zdi network operates Press and Public Relations on MINT topics for the joint work of the zdi partners. The sponsor of a zdi network organizes the joint application for all partners zdi funding.

In return, the partners undertake to participate in fulfilling all necessary documentation and reporting obligations in a timely manner. A zdi network takes part in the rounds regularly organized by the zdi office exchange of experiences as well as the half-yearly data collection carried out by the zdi state office (zdi monitoring and status reports). In order to continually improve in its work, a zdi network regularly takes part in further training courses 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 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, is awarding the zdi quality seal for the first time on the basis of the present “six sub-concepts” as part of a founding event for a zdi network. The quality seal must then 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 find further information about the regional networks under the following links.