After working very closely with partners in South Africa on STEM on the move and collecting ideas, inspirations, and multipliers from England, we took the post covid opportunity to deepen the cooperation with Spanish partners and drew on mutual learnings and new concepts for the STEM on the move topic.
Therefore, Eckehard Fozzy Moritz and Martin Strehler from Innovationsmanufaktur represented the STEM on the move consortia and among other stops visited two high performance sports centers (HPC or in Spanish “CAR”) who promised collaboration in this field. First, we met with Josep Escoda at the CAR Barcelona to talk about the status quo and possibilities. Unfortunately, we learnt, that covid had interfered with the mission to make the centers available for the public. A very strict restriction policy does not allow the public access to the facilities. But there is a school directly connected to the HPC and a lot of pupils even life in the CAR Barcelona. Josep was very excited to see the many examples of STEM on the move already present in our STEM Database and promised direct connections to their STEM teachers. We are sure they can add many inspiring examples from the high-performance sports to the database and thus to the world.
A few days later we also visited the CAR in the Sierra Nevada. Unlike Barcelona the athletes do not life there permanently but come for intense training weeks and a unique possibility to be completely immersed in the world of sports without disruptions. Alfonso Sánchez Bernard the Director of the CAR welcomed us at the 2300 meter high training facility and together we developed the concept of “Sports & Society Ambassadors. Athletes who train there can become role models and inspire young people not only to feel the joy of movement but also to approach STEM topics like physics from a sports perspective. Depending on their sports focus (young) athletes can demonstrate how e.g., the throwing angle affects distance or why vital signs analysis needs biological know-how as a background. From this STEM experiences taught by the Sports & Society ambassadors benefits arise for everyone involved: The athletes would invest some time but gain more insights into their own sports as well as more followers and more publicity, and students could apply the theoretical STEM topics practically and in parts of their real world and the CAR Sierra Nevada would gain publicity and at the same time provide benefits for society (attracting young people to sports, STEM and a to an active lifestyle).
So, what are the next steps? STEM on the move partners together with CAR will try to start a low-threshold, small-scale pilot and evaluate the action, before next involving bigger players such as ministries for health, sports, or education, regional stakeholders, sports associations and so forth.