Education comes first: the opening of the ISS Education Fund
The International Space Station Education Fund (ISSEF) was set up to help ESA encourage students to understand, study, and support science and technology. This Fund complements the ISS Education Programme, which develops and distributes educational information using Human Spaceflight as a tool to capture the imaginations of children of all ages.
The ISS Education Fund reached its first significant milestone on 28 August 2003, when it was formally opened for external participation. The inaugural board meeting ratified the objectives and budget for the Fund, allowing projects to go ahead and new supporters to be welcomed on board.
Projects supported by the Fund in its first year include the production and dissemination of 41 000 copies of the ISS Education Kit aimed at teachers of pupils aged 12-15 years; the pilot version of the ISS Education Kit for primary-level pupils; a series of two video lessons covering scientific experiments filmed both in space by ESA astronauts and in classrooms on Earth; and the Yes2 project. Yes2 is a technological demonstration of both inflatable re-entry and tether technologies developed by university students from all over Europe.
The Fund appointed key individuals, including Prof. Manuel Paiva, who accepted the position as Fund Chairman. Founding participants in the Fund came from industry, government, and education across Europe, as well as from international organisations.
The Fund got off to a flying start: before the meeting almost 1 million Euros was provided as seed funding by ESA. Even before the launch, companies were already investing their money into the Fund, visibly demonstrating their commitment to help make Europe the leading knowledge-based economy in the world, and helping to stimulate the imagination and interest of children in science and technology.
Intensive marketing of the Fund will start throughout Europe in autumn 2003. Organisations and individuals seeking advance information on the Fund are invited to visit http://www.esa.int/issef. ESA can offer significant funders a range of strategic, tangible, and targeted benefits in return.
Advisor to the ISS Education Programme
Directorate of Human Spaceflight
European Space Agency
Noordwijk (the Netherlands)
Phone: +31 71 565 6042
Fax: +31 71 565 4499