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Queen's University Science Shop

The Science Shop is a community engaged research and learning (CERL) initiative in Queen's University Belfast. They collaborate with community partners to develop research needs into project ideas and work with students and staff to create small-scale curriculum-based projects. They are leaders in the CERL movement within Europe and internationally.
Queen's University Belfast

Established in 1989, The Science Shop is a community engaged research and learning (CERL) initiative based in the Centre for Educational Development in Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), working directly with students, academics, communities and international partners. The core team is small, with two staff members jointly leading projects and a third staff member providing administrative and finance support. All their partnerships are based on the principle of collaboration for societal benefit. The Science Shop collaborates with community partners to develop their research needs into project ideas, working with QUB students and staff to create small-scale collaborative research projects based on the needs of community organisations into the curriculum for both undergraduate and master’s students. They work jointly with The Science Shop at Ulster University to provide a single point of access to the resources of both universities for community partners.

They are core funded through the Department for the Economy and Northern Ireland’s Higher Education Innovation Fund. The Science Shop plays an important role in delivering on QUB’s commitment to focusing on the needs of society, locally and globally. Between 2019-22, they worked with staff in 13 of the university’s 15 schools, supporting 830 students on 63 academic pathways. They worked with 88 community organisations, including 32 new partners over this time period, designing 210 projects and completing 171 projects. Alongside this, they led the Erasmus+ Partnership Project CIRCLET, developing and running learning circles for CERL across five partner universities. They have underpinned curriculum development for CERL both within QUB and internationally.

QUB Science Shop is a leading member of the Science Shop International Network Living Knowledge and is acknowledged as a leader in developing CERL in higher education institutionally, nationally and internationally. Staff members mentor and publish regularly and produce resources which are used across Europe and beyond, at the level of both policy and practice. They were recently awarded almost €400,000 in prestigious EU Mission funding as part of a proposal for soil education, which will offer them a platform to pursue their longstanding goal of driving further innovation within higher education for societal benefit.

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