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(This English version is mostly, but not exclusively, for our friends and partners in Indonesia and in Malaysisa who have helped to carry out Science Bridge courses in Asia and establish them permanently in some cities.)
Science Bridge is a non-profit association at the University of Kassel. For 23 years we have been supporting schools in the region and far beyond with courses in modern life sciences. Science Bridge is thus probably the oldest school laboratory in Germany. In addition, Science Bridge is involved in science communication with the general public. The president of the University of Kassel has now decided to discontinue the small but urgently needed funding for Science Bridge. The successful and sustainable project may thus be discontinued.
A sustainable commitment of the University of Kassel for the successful concept of Science Bridge for
- Teaching at schools
- Teaching at the university
- Support for students
- Science communication
- Transparent science for the public
- the permanent establishment of at least a 50% scientist position for Science Bridge
- the permanent integration of Science Bridge into the university infrastructure
- the full endorsement of Science Bridge by the university.
The necessary financial means for the work (consumables, equipment, reimbursements for mentors) are generated by Science Bridge.
What is achieved by this? - Approximately 1,000 students per year can profit from courses offered by Science Bridge. - Approximately another 1,000 people per year can profit from Science Bridge's lectures, workshops and other science activities. - Approximately 20 students per year can continue to experience teaching, research and science communication by the Science Bridge program. - Science Bridge is connected to national and international networks in teaching and science communication, collaborates with other organisations and contributes to making science transparent and understandable for "ordinary citizens" - also on behalf of the University of Kassel.
For 23 years Science Bridge e.V. at the University of Kassel has been engaged in science communication, conducting practical courses at schools and for the public, organising scientific lectures, teacher training and workshops. But that's not all. Science Bridge provides a free space for students in the life sciences to obtain laboratory practice, soft skills and teaching as well as communication skills far beyond the obligatory curriculum. Many students were motivated by Science Bridge's school courses to study life sciences. Many of Science Bridge's student staff have embarked on a successful career in research, teaching or industry, not least because of these diverse commitments.
A unique model of success at the University of Kassel!
For 20 years Science Bridge was run on a voluntary basis without any costs for the University of Kassel. When the university professor and Science Bridge chairman Wolfgang Nellen retired in 2015, funds could be raised through sponsors and the university to hire a scientific coordinator to ensure the continued work of Science Bridge. This was initially successful and has cost the university €10,000 a year.
Sustainability - no Thanks?
Despite very efficient work (see Annual Report 2018 at: sciencebridge.net/uploads/akt-ver-attatchments/Science_Bridge_Jahresbericht_2018.pdf) and an existing cooperation agreement, the University discontinued funding at the end of 2018 without any explanation. The president refused any talks about the continuattion of the public laboratory, about science communication, about supporting schools and about the continuation of further funded projects. In the meantime, the coordinator had to move to another position and keeps Science Bridge alive on an honorary basis.
Science Bridge has a very good reputation both nationally and internationally. Apparently, however, not with the president of the University of Kassel. While other universities and institutions in Germany are developing concepts to make science understandable and transparent for schools and the general public, the president of the University of Kassel is thoughtlessly rejecting an inexpensive, proven and sustainable project. This is in complete contrast to the Institute of Biology and the FB10 (Mathematics and Natural Sciences), which both have supported Science Bridge for years within their limited possibilities.
Support our petition to save Science Bridge!
If applicable, please indicate your academic title and job title. Use the comment function and indicate why you support Science Bridge, what experience you may have had with Science Bridge and why you are committed to save Science Bridge. Thank you very much!
Wolfgang Nellen, Dr. rer. nat. Prof. for Genetics a.D. Chairman of Science Bridge e.V.
Further information about Science Bridge e.V. can be found at sciencebridge.net/ueber/