Science Week seeks to divulge and guide the interests of young people in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics in Bilbao, Vitoria and San Sebastián

Basque universities, and Spanish universities in general, have seen an increase in the number of students taking Science and Health Science degrees in recent years. However, experts in science, technology and innovation met last Monday to open the Science, Technology and Innovation Week and they stressed the need to continue encouraging science and technology vocations, especially among girls because, although 55% of Basque university students are women, only 26% of them choose to study degrees in science and technology.

Consequently, many experts stress the need to work on this issue at a basic level, i.e. in the educational system to implement a learning model in which science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics are addressed in an integrated manner in all fields of knowledge. Hence the significance of events such as the Science, Technology and Innovation Week, which is held throughout Europe based on a programme that includes dozens of activities aimed at popularising science. Among these, we must highlight Zientzia Astea, organised by the Basque Country University (UPV/EHU), given its volume and impact in making everyone who feels a special interest in their environment, whether they are children, young people, or adults, to have a chance to see, hear, feel, and speak about science with people who work in this field on a daily basis.

In particular, this Science Week will be held between 8 and 12 November at the Bizkaia Aretoa in Bilbao, from 9 to 12 November at Bibat, Museum of Archaeology and Fournier Cards in Vitoria-Gasteiz, and between 9 and 11 at Tabakalera, the International Contemporary Culture Centre in San Sebastian. In addition, this year’s edition in Bizkaia includes a new venue at the Clara Campoamor Civic Centre in Barakaldo, where the scientists will also offer speeches, workshops and presentations between 8 and 12 of this month in what has become an outstanding project by the UPV/EHU to disseminate and guide children’s interest in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.

About 3,500 schoolchildren in Bizkaia, 1,800 in Gipuzkoa and another 1,300 in Álava will attend the dozens of free and open workshops, science stalls, learning programmes, competitions, excursions, guided tours, and many more activities that will enable all citizens to enjoy the experiments, games, and demonstrations organised by professionals through which they will become more familiar with the fields of botany, mathematics, archaeology, astronomy, genetics, geology, chemistry, telecommunications, robotics, history, engineering, the arts, physics, or biology in an intimate and pleasant manner.

Many side activities have also been programmed, such as exhibitions and workshops where participants may also do experiments and have the chance to learn about the research being performed at the UPV/EHU. They may also chat with scientists and researchers from whom they will learn, obtain first-hand information, and find answers to their questions or interests. All this thanks the Zientzia Club, a series of talks and recreational activities held in Barakaldo on 9th November, in Vitoria-Gasteiz on the 10th, and in Bilbao and San Sebastian on the 11th. In addition, a number of guided tours organised by social organisations targeting and designed for secondary school students may be of interest and motivate them at a time when they are close to deciding which academic paths to follow.