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Ciência Viva - Agência Nacional para a Cultura Cientifica e Tecnológica

Pavilhão do Conhecimento, Largo Jose Mariano Gago, 1, 1990-073 Lisbon (Portugal)

Ciência Viva, the Portuguese National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture, was created in 1996 to promote public awareness of science and technology and science education at national level, with a special focus on young people. Established as a unit of the Ministry of Science and Technology, it is now an association whose members include public bodies and research institutes. It promotes and supports science education projects in schools, internships for secondary school students in research laboratories during the holidays and summer science activities for the general public. Since its creation, Ciência Viva has developed activities along three different and complementary strands: science education (schools), public awareness of science (citizens) and a national network of science centres. The Pavilion of Knowledge, in Lisbon – the headquarters of Ciência Viva – is the largest science centre in Portugal. Ciência Viva’s network of 20 science centres, in cooperation with universities and local authorities, serves as a platform guiding regional development in scientific, cultural and economic dimensions.

Ciência Viva has extensive experience in the science/society relationship, in particular in mobilising and involving the public, researchers and industry. Since 2002, it has participated in more than 50 European projects, dedicated to scientific awareness, science education, virtual/digital sharing of scientific resources and, more recently, responsible research and innovation. Ciência Viva is also a leading institution in European science and society projects and has accumulated extensive experience and expertise in project coordination, general management and financial administration.

At present, Ciência Viva has 120 paid employees, while the Education Department accounts for approximately 40 per cent of its staff. The importance given to continuous professional development is mostly justified by the characteristics of the post-modern society that increasingly place new demands, not only on ‘knowing’ but also on ‘knowing how to do’ especially focused on professionals in the field of education. Professional development should focus on the enhancement of knowledge, but above all on the development of competences. Lifelong learning should be adapted, as far as possible, to the reality of each school and its group of teachers or other professionals. The training developed by the Professional Development Centre Ciência Viva is distinguished from others by a clear proximity to the scientific community, focused on the application of innovative methodologies and interested in the contexts in which learning takes place. The Professional Development Centre is officially recognised by the Ministry of Education and involves approximately 700 teachers per year. Ciência Viva has acquired solid experience in IBSE methodology, particularly through an active role in key European projects, establishing partnerships with experts in inquiry-based science/mathematics education from higher education institutions who have motivated and supported teachers in integrating innovative methodologies into their daily activities.