Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN24_07a_H: Science, Technology & Education
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Aaro Tupasela, University of Copenhagen
Location: HA.1.1
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 1.

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Vocational Education and Training workers’ role in Spanish industrial firms’ innovation

Cristina Lavía, Beatriz Otero, Mikel Olazaran, Eneka Albizu

University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain

This study is based on the concept of innovation as an interactive learning process. The interactive learning model argues the importance of incremental innovation and the role in that innovation of qualified workers, but so far attention has remained focused on scientific personnel that tends to characterise high-tech industries and scarcely any attention has been paid to the role of intermediary workers in innovation processes. This study is based on evidence from a survey of 1,142 Spanish industrial SMEs and examines the degree to which technicians and employees with a vocational education and training (VET) profile are represented in these firms and their involvement in innovation activities. More specifically, it seeks to answer two questions: Are workers with VET qualifications involved in the companies’ innovation processes? and Which are the specific variables that condition participation by intermediary staff in innovation? To achieve these objectives, a synthetic weighted index of participation in innovation was constructed.Considering this index as a dependent variable, the best representation of the relations detected with other explanatory variables was performed by a binary logistic regression controlling for the technological level of the companies. The results show that in low-tech sectors, the presence of VET personnel in technical posts, the existence of external cooperation in innovation, the innovative capacity of the company and a greater level of involvement of operators in organizational learning practices were found to multiply the probability of greater participation in innovation.

Communicating, educating and engaging young people in disaster risk: the role of scientists

Ana Delicado

Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Natural and technological risks are a subject matter for constant expert assessment, monitoring and mitigation. But part of the role of scientists working on risk is also to engage with the public on these issues. Disaster risk management relies increasingly on the involvement of communities, in order to identify capacities and to build resilience. Young people are a relevant part of the community, but who are mostly seen as targets of communication or education, rather than active participants in case of an emergency. But several cases have shown how they can make a difference in the prevention, preparation and response to disasters.

This presentation aims to discuss how scientists working in the fields of disaster risk are involved in communication, education or engagement activities aimed at young people, how they envision their roles and how they perceive young people’s capacities and interests. In short, it purports to examine the encounters between experts and a particular part of the ‘lay’ public in the arenas of disaster risk reduction.

The presentation is based on the project CUIDAR Cultures of Disaster Resilience amongst Children and Young People, a European project (funded by the Horizon 2020) that aims: (1) to understand children's experiences of disasters; the impact on their lives, their resilience and the longer-term recovery process; (2) To discover how children can best be supported in disasters and how to enhance their resilience to future emergencies; (3) To influence emergency policy and practice to better meet the needs and build the resilience of children and young people.

Social Context of Mathematics Education as a Source of Barriers in Science and Technology Perception.

Anna Baczko-Dombi

University of Warsaw, Poland

The perception of mathematics in society seems to be based on stereotypes that “mathematicians” are opposed to “humanists”. In case of mathematical education we can observe a process of abandoning mathematics by a part of students who on quite early levels of education start to consider themselves as “humanists”. They start to feel anxiety toward mathematics that leads to serious decisions possibly narrowing down their further path of education and is recognized as a source of barriers in developing interest in the field of science and technology.

In my presentation I would like to refer to a selection of results of a study on Polish youth, parents and teachers. I will provide in-depth analysis of the social context of abandoning mathematics, with special emphasis on the role of support from parents and teachers. I am going to present considerations whether a student who has had problems with mathematics had got anybody whom he could ask for help. I will analyse both declarative and real resources of support. I would also like to address factors that expose children for risk of not receiving such help, which is leads to a higher risk of "escape" from mathematics and, as a consequence, science and technology.

The Problem of Recognition in Academic Communities

Mikko Salmela

University of Helsinki, Finland

Researchers strive for collegial recognition as the highest reward of their scientific activity, partly because it is instrumental in achieving academic positions, but also because it affirms their social identities as researchers (Hagstrom, 1965; Bourdieu, 1988; Bloch, 2012). Yet researchers depend on each other in getting recognition. This is the case with both main forms of collegial recognition, institutional recognition that manifests as top publications, tenured positions, and research grants, and social recognition, non-institutional practices of gift exchange such as knowledge sharing (Berthoin Antal & Richebé 2009) in everyday scholarly interaction. I suggest that academic rivalry hampers the recognition-based motivation of scientific activity, having detrimental consequences on the quality of research as well. I distinguish between structurally and psychologically driven negative epistemic effects of rivalry. The former operate through the pressure to publish more than one’s rivals, resulting in lower quality of publications, disruption of the communitarian ideal of science, impoverished scope of research topics, and academic misconduct (Landes, Marchman & Nielsen 2012). The latter manifest as psychological consequences of rejection, such as anxiety, anger, humiliation, shame, feelings of inferiority and loneliness as well as decreased creativity, productivity, and professional satisfaction; declined research collaboration; and abandonment of potentially fruitful but unappreciated lines of research (Day 2011). Finally, I identify a collective action problem that impairs the give-and-take of social recognition in conditions of academic rivalry, influencing researchers’ capacity to achieve institutional recognition as well. I propose collaborative research and publishing, both intra- and interdisciplinary, as means of alleviating this problem.

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