Partnerships for pathways to Higher Education and science engagement in Regional Clusters of Open Schooling


01/10/2019 – 30/09/2022

GA Number


Topic ID



Open schooling and collaboration on science education

Funding Scheme

Horizon 2020

Project Type

Coordination and Support Action (CSA)

Classroom-centered teaching and learning is often disconnected from day-to-day life of the community. Both schools and universities are challenged by the discussion about the societal relevance of their achievements and their level of interaction with society. This is visible in current debates about societal connectivity, ranging from models of “Third Mission of Universities”, “Responsible Research and Innovation” to “Swafs” or “Community Based Learning”.

These models of engagement which can be beneficial for educational establishments and for the social communities in a wider context, provided that the involved actors have the capacity and knowledge to approach them.

The PHERECLOS project is built around three particular concepts as the main pillars:

  • The concept of Science Capital, which perceives individual representation of science as a bundle of commonplace habits, expectations and attitudes which are directly linked to and influenced by the everyday social sphere of individuals and all social actors herein.
  • The concept of Children’s Universities (CUs), which stands for non-formal university-based science engagement programs for children and young people as unconventional and non-traditional recipients of the academia.
  • The understanding of an Open School culture, in which schools reflect on external ideas, topics and challenges and incorporates them in their teaching approaches and everyday school life, and in return, provide the creativity and potential as the assets of their pupils and teachers to the community around them.

PHERECLOS will therefore develop models and recommendations for new ecosystems in education, where schools will become a hub of a community of to embark on new engagement strategies in STEAM, in fostering individual educational pathways towards higher education in reflection of the 21st century skills.

PHERECLOS will address the following specific objectives:

Objective 1: Establishment

Establishment of Local Education Clusters (LEC) composed of key stakeholders as experimental testbeds for educational cooperation in six model regions.


Objective 2: Mentoring

Mentoring in ten cross-sectoral Transnational Education Mentoring Partnerships (TEMPs) between differently experienced parties in innovative education to create a snowball effect for the implementation and dissemination of transferable outcomes from the LECs.


Objective 3: Assessment

Assessment of regional effectiveness and impact to generate transferable implementation guidelines and policy briefs to enhance the sustainability of the overall approach.


Objective 4: Development

Development of a Good Practise Library, a White Book on Open Schooling Education Clusters and a Teacher Training Innovation Toolkit based on a thorough analysis of the school-community engagement models and their implementation within a profound methodological framework.


Objective 5: Implementation

Implementation of digital representation of accomplishments with a OpenBadge ecosystem for labelling reliable and responsive actors and to share this commitment for sustainable development.

The key element of PHERECLOS is the development of models for Local Educational Clusters (LECs). The 6 pilots are all introduced by Children’s University providers who are profoundly experienced in the design and arrangement of science engagement programs at school-age levels. They are located in Vienna (Austria), Kuopio (Finland), Lodz (Poland), Porto (Portugal), Trieste (Italy) and Medellin (Colombia).

LECs are communities of practice and shall serve as incubators of change in local education ecosystems. They will operate with different thematic focuses (ranging from class room design to active citizenship), involve diverse schools (from kindergarten to upper secondary) and explore and deploy various didactical concepts and approaches (from co-creation to problem-based learning) with a clear focus on an inclusive and gender sensitive way of teaching and learning.

LECs will involve different stakeholders and will be working on a local topic of shared interest, including schools and school networks, for serving as an experimental testbed. All LECs will implement similar means of community building to create a benefit for all participants of the clusters.

The LECs aim at establishing learning communities in a holistic way that is focused on institutional development and that puts schools in the center. New types of partnerships will be established across the sectors and create new opportunities for educational landscapes, based on interconnected and innovation-geared activities. In this context, Children’s Universities will take the role of mediation, of translation between the sectors and accelerating the learning.

Finally, the structural and processual insights gained from piloting such clusters will be transferable to other communities, but going to be responsive to particular thematic focuses, methods, regional aspects as the required baseline for new models.

Learning in communities

PHERECLOS means learning in a community of practice. It will establish a network of Local Education Clusters to prompt an immediate impact for the STEAM engagement opportunities in a particular area. It is going to support organisations to establish educational partnerships and to develop their social role and institutional learning.

Amplify ideas

Mentoring Partnerships (TEMPs) will be established in order to amplify the ideas and insights gained from the implementation of the LECs and adapt them for further early stage innovation in education in further countries/regions.

White Book

The major outcomes from the activities with in the LECs and TEMPs and an analysis from the perspective of transfer- and implementation studies will be summarised in the White Book on Open Schooling Education Clusters together with the “Library of good practice” identified in the stocktaking. This guidance framework shall become a leading resource for the exploitation of reference models as incubators of innovative cooperation in formal and non-formal STEM education in Europe.


PHERECLOS involves well-established international networks (School Heads, Teachers, Parents and Children’s Universities) from the very beginning. They generate a vast commitment and potential for dissemination and exploitation of project outcomes and resources even after the project’s lifespan.


Midterm impact from the PHERECLOS approach will be retrieved from the established LECs and the TEMPs network, which will remain connected via the MML-P (Mobilisation and Mutual Learning Platform) and in particular through the OpenBadge ecosystem. Open Badges will provide easy to share visual tokens of educational relationships and will boost the attention and visibility of the project for a wide audience.

Teacher training

The potential for long-term implications of PHERECLOS lies in the Open Schooling Teacher Training Innovation Toolkit. Teacher training needs to take into consideration in its objectives and curricula the requirements and skills for cooperative teaching approaches outside the classrooms or with educators from other sectors. It will be aimed towards curriculum administrators and practitioners in teacher training and will provide new inspirations for future teachers.

Science Awareness

In the long run, the impact of PHERECLOS will be measured against the number of children who are aware of scientific issues but who are actually embarking on careers in STEAM related fields.

Positive effects

PHERECLOS has the potential to maximise this impact and to tremendously expand the positive effects when universities, schools, economy and civil society institutions listen to each other, learn from each other – and when science engagement in formal and informal learning environments are better connected and embedded in communities of education, research, economy and civil society.