Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership for Vocational Education
UPPScience was a partnership made up of 21 universities, schools, education authorities and other organisations from 9 countries under the leadership of the Norges Teknik-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet of Norway. UPPScience stands for Using Profiling and Publishing for the upping of Scientific Approaches. It built on the success of the VISConti project and widened the scope and functions of the Community of Practice that was created in VISConti. It brought and still brings together professionals from management of vocational education and training and students from early Higher Education into one Community that is e a platform for publishing of small research projects through an intensive exchange by way of peer review and mentoring.
UPPScience fell squarely within EU strategies for fostering research, better quality education and a stronger European Research Area. It built on a Community of Practice (CoP) for managers, teachers and trainers of STEM and IT subjects in Vocational Education and Training (VET) that had been successfully initiated in a previous VISConti project.
UPPScience created a CoP with a larger active membership than VISConti, including students in undergraduate HE. It increased cross border cooperation around the use of professional profiling, research and publishing as a strategy for upping the quality of, and bringing a more scientific approach to VET. It supported participants in the augmented CoP with four training activities in which they received training in research methodologies, innovation and creativity. They were encouraged to push their own boundaries outside their usual comfort zone and to bring in their colleagues and peers through leadership by example. Every partner organisation appointed an Ambassador of Change to promote the benefits of UPPScience and to catalyse the adoption of UPPScience methodology as a quality and internationalisation strategy within their own institutions.
The project helped the target groups within the CoP and their colleagues and peers within VET and HE in general overcome the perception that research is exclusively for the academic professions and researchers. It helped players in education and industry overcome their inhibitions and to engage in research and publishing, through small but high quality initiatives in this area, within a safe but rigorous environment. During the project lifetime, the members of the CoP produced 135 research projects and publications that were all subject to peer review by at least two other members of the CoP. This was be supported by a web-based virtual work space, enabling the building and functioning of an active community without borders.
UPPScience thus used professional profiling as a strategy for better quality education and better employability of managers, teachers and trainers in VET. It also enabled HE students in the first years of study to further their professional training and to engage in research in topics pertaining to STEM, IT and areas such as sociology, economics and fields affected by or that have an effect on the world of science. These two target groups worked, collaborated and operated as a CoP that has as its objective the attainment of new or better standards in education and training