Institute for Innovation and Development of University of Ljubljana

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Interests & Recruitment In Science

IRIS is a collaborative research project, supported by the European Commission (7th Framework programme) and involving six partner institutions in five European countries. The project period ran from 2009-2012, but results from the project are still being disseminated.


IRIS addresses the challenge that few young people in general, and women in particular, choose to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM. The objective of IRIS is to develop knowledge and recommendations informed by evidence on how young people, and women in particular, may come to see STEM as an educational choice that is right for them and to persist in their STEM education until graduation. Specifically, the project addresses the following questions:

  1. What are the priorities, values and experiences on which young people base their educational choice?
  2. What are the success factors for interventions aimed at recruiting more young people (women in particular) to higher STEM education? and
  3. How do STEM students who drop out/opt out before graduation, explain their choice?

IRIS recommendations and potential impact

IRIS aims to stimulate informed discussion concerning improved participation in STEM. Results from IRIS have been – and will be – discussed in different fora. A book based on the IRIS consortium collaboration is scheduled to be on the market in 2013 (Henriksen, E.K., Dillon, J. and Ryder, J., eds., in preparation (2013). Understanding student participation and choice in science and technology education).

Guidelines and recommendations aimed at stakeholders in the educational system, government, industry, and professional societies, are listed in the  project publishable summary, under the following headings: Understanding educational choice and supporting STEM choice; Develop school science curricula that support informed participation in post-compulsory STEM;  Support teachers in providing STEM instruction that creates and maintains interest for female and male students; Develop varied recruitment initiatives with opportunities for personal meetings; support undergraduate STEM students to enhance retention, and Address the views on STEM presented through media.


The following six European partners are forming the IRIS consortium:

  • University of Oslo, Norway (coordinator): Ellen K. Henriksen, Maria Vetleseter Boe, Fredrik Jensen
  • King’s College London, UK Justin Dillon and Elaine Regan
  • University of Leeds, UK Jim Ryder and Jaume Ametller
  • Associazione Observa, Italy Giuseppe Pellegrini, Alessandra Allegrini
  • University of Copenhagen, Denmark Henriette T. Holmegaard, Lene Moller Madsen and Lars Ulriksen
  • IRI UL, Slovenia Tina Hribar and Slavko Dolinšek

Web site
Duration: 1.5.2009–30.4.2012
Contact: Tina Hribar