About us

What is ICSE?

The International Centre for STEM Education (ICSE) is located at the University of Education in Freiburg, Germany and focuses on practice-related research and its transfer into practice. ICSE sustainably links stakeholders from research, practice, policy and industry, nationally as well as internationally through the ICSE consortium.

The ultimate aim of ICSE is to help improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education across Europe. That is, to give students insights into authentic features of STEM subjects and their connection to real-life contexts, to raise achievement levels in STEM subjects and to make science literacy accessible to all students, no matter their gender, their cultural or socioeconomic background. Thereby, ICSE intends to promote the interest of young people in STEM careers.

In order to reach these goals, three aspects are central to the work of ICSE:

Practice-related research

ICSE focuses on practice-related research. Through the development of teaching materials and professional development courses, we aim to transfer these insights into teaching practice.

Working on the international and national level

We are working both, on the international and national level, in order to guarantee a prolific exchange between different countries as well as between stakeholders from our local area and within Germany.

Cooperation of Key Actors

Only through a close cooperation of stakeholders from research, practice, policy and industry, can we successfully develop the future of MINT education.

ICSE’s Vision

Our vision is that STEM teaching sparks enthusiasm for STEM subjects, supports the development of knowledge of and about STEM, makes learners understand the relevance of STEM for our lives, our world and our future and enables all young people to become responsible citizens.

ICSE’s Mission

We strive to be a central point of contact for all people involved in education along the STEM value chain: from educational research and practice, over non-formal learning providers to policy and Europe’s labour market with its innovation-driven businesses.

We offer wholistic research-based, practice-tested and policy-supported STEM education services to improve STEM education: information, materials, continuous professional development for teachers, vocational training and consultancy in Europe.

Our activities aim at developing a form of MINT teaching that supports all students (including those from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds) in gaining a mathematical and scientific literature education. This education is to reveal STEM subjects’ relevance for real-life contexts and for students’ professional future, amongst other things.

The activities of ICSE and its partners focus on the following six areas: inquiry based learning, connections to the world of work, real-life contexts, interdisciplinary STEM teaching, diversity in classrooms and gender aspects in STEM teaching.

Inquiry-based
learning

Connections to the world of work

Real-life
contexts

Interdisciplinary
STEM teaching

Diversity in
classrooms

Gender aspects
in STEM teaching

Our activities in these areas include, amongst others, the development, in-situ evaluation and refinement of high-quality classroom materials and professional development materials, the conduction of professional development courses and student workshops as well as the organization of international conferences and competitions. Furthermore, ICSE develops and executes numerous local and international projects.

Since 2006 the University of Education in Freiburg, Germany, has been successfully cooperating with numerous international partners from the STEM field. Through these collaborations, the university has emerged as a significant research centre and disseminator of innovative teaching approaches in STEM education. With the foundation of the International Centre for STEM education (ICSE) in 2017, this work has yet reached another milestone. ICSE’s activities focus on the connection of research in STEM education in Europe and its transfer into practice.

Our cooperation with major stakeholders from the field is the key to a successful development of STEM teaching. Thus, we continue to grow our network and to develop and implement innovative projects with our partners. ICSE was created to consolidate these activities and coordinate their future development, while sustainably growing the network of stakeholders from research, practice, policy and industry. Parallel to the foundation of ICSE, the ICSE consortium was founded in order to further strengthen the connection of leading research institutions from all over Europe. All of the consortium members focus on research related to STEM teaching and its transfer into practice.

What makes ICSE and the ICSE Consortium special?

  • Joint forces for STEM education across Europe: research-based, practice-tested and policy-supported approaches.
  • We are connected to a large network of universities, schools, professional development centres, educational authorities at the highest level, out-of-school learning providers and enterprises and therefore operate along the whole science value chain.
  • We encourage exchange and cooperation with all stakeholders involved in STEM education across Europe.
  • We offer research-based high-quality classroom materials and professional development materials based on the expertise of 14 universities across Europe.
  • Our solutions are transnationally and adaptable to each educational setting in each European country.
  • We are specialists for diversity and heterogeneity in classrooms: our concepts transform evolving challenges into advantages.
  • We are specialists in applications of STEM subjects and linking STEM subjects interdisciplinary: We transfer problems at the heart of our society and our planet into educational settings to educate young people in the sense of responsible citizenship.
  • We are experts in cooperating with practice and transferring research findings into practice offering educational concepts, materials and guidelines in ready-to-use quality.
  • We cooperate with industry and bring authentic, interesting questions and innovative insights from industry into the classroom.
  • We connect schools with local industry sectors to create beneficial links: students and teachers learn about and from real work life and STEM career options and businesses actively engage in supporting and attracting young talents
  • Our teaching approaches cover demands from both teachers’ and learners’ side.
  • We are highly experienced in teacher professional development and scaling-up of professional development.
  • We organize the only European conference specialized on scaling up of professional development in STEM education: the Educating the Educators conference series.