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August 4, 2023

Minister Polaschek Visits ISTA Summer Campus & Scientists

Minister visited summer campus and had scientists explain research projects

The Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) is not only visited by 250 children and young people throughout August, but also got a visit by Austrian Minister for Education, Science and Research, Martin Polaschek, this Thursday. Common interest of all the visitors: To learn more about how research searches for knowledge in Klosterneuburg. The Minister visited groups of the ISTA summer camps for schoolchildren and had scientists in the laboratory explain the approaches and results of interdisciplinary research projects at the Institute.

Federal Minister Martin Polaschek (right) observes, how plants grow for science, with participants of the ISTA Summer Campus in the “Pink Room” of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA). © Anna Stöcher | ISTA

“At ISTA one senses on the one hand that international atmosphere, with world-class researchers from more than 80 countries. On the other hand, the Institute strives to communicate the importance of science to the general public and especially to children precisely through its Science Education programs such as the Summer Campus,” said Federal Minister Polaschek. This means that the Institute forms not only part of the international scientific landscape, but is also—embedded in the physical landscape of the Vienna Woods—an important player in science education in Austria. “If children get in touch with science at an early age, they can discover their own scientific talents and interests. Curiosity-driven basic research is a perfect match for children’s inquisitiveness and curiosity. Through a better understanding of what research is exactly, they also develop more confidence and trust in scientific findings,” Polaschek explained.

Gaia Novarino, neuroscientist and ISTA Vice President for Science Education (left) and Federal Minister Martin Polaschek (right) with participants of the ISTA Summer Campus in front of the Science Education TukTuk of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA). © Anna Stöcher | ISTA

Real understanding of science

Gaia Novarino, ISTA’s vice president for science education, supported these statements, stating: “What unites all of our scientists and staff at ISTA is their curiosity and enthusiasm for questions that don’t yet have answers. Without curiosity and creativity, research would be unthinkable.” Showing how ‘cool’ and exciting science can be creates enthusiasm for science, she said. “But we take it a step further,” said Novarino, who is a leading neuroscientist herself. “We also explain how science works, that is, how results are obtained, checked, discarded, changed, and adapted. In this way, we want to create —in addition to enthusiasm—actual understanding of science,” Novarino said. The host and the visitor agreed: The common goals of the Ministry and the Institute, that is first-class research and broadly effective science communication, will continue to be pursued by both organizations with full commitment.


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