The reason for the foundation of eucu.net – the European Children’s Universities Network -was a growing need for exchange in this specialized format of science engagement. However, eucu.net was not only oriented to enable the communication amongst experienced organizers to develop the programmes further but also to encourage newcomers to start their own initiatives. Both perspectives – the urge for quality enhancement and the idea to foster new establishments of Children’s Universities – were born out of the convincement of a group of people who believed that children have a right for curiosity and a good start to enjoy science.
2008 – the birth of our network
Everything started after ECFUN – the virtual Children’s University. At the final conference of this EU-funded project the plan for a non-virtual network for Children’s Universities was born. In further consequence, a consortium of multi-angled organizers coming from diverse backgrounds as universities, arts institutions and information technology – was assigned by the European Commission to coordinate the European Children’s Universities Network. From the very beginning of the network in 2008, the aim of the project was to stimulate bilateral cooperation and to create basic standards for the organization and implementation of Children’s Universities. Furthermore first attempts of an evaluation of the impact of such programmes were accomplished.
In the first phase of eucu.net contacts with 120 partners all over the world were established and amongst other publications and tools the eucu.net white book – a reference guide on Children’s Universities was published.
2011 – the consolidation of eucu.net
The ongoing discussions about the diversity of Children’s Universities, the ever more important topic of social inclusion in science communication and many good of good practice examples were the reason why eucu.net was not discontinued after the EU-funding but re-founded as a membership organization in the year 2011.
The strategic objective of eucu.net is to support already consolidated Children’s Universities with fresh ideas and information and to foster the idea of equal access and better educational opportunities for children and young people. Having said that, our network is intended to increase interaction among member states and to extent existing practices in a professional and concerted manner not only in Europe but also on an international level.
Kick-Off Meeting for the FP7 eucu.net project, April 2008, Vienna.
Back row (left to right): Michael Seifert, Tim Petrovsky, Tatiana Richardson, Peter Dalquen, Chris Gary;
Front row (left to right): Alexander Onea, Emilia Lörinczova, Céline Bodin, Karoline Iber.
Founding Meeting for eucu.net as an independent membership organisation, April 2011, Krakow.
More than 30 founding members from 12 countries participated at the meeting in Poland.