Vienna University Children’s Office (KUW) was implemented in 2006 as a non-profit academic spin-off company owned by the University of Vienna. Based on our initial experience with Children’s University as an innovative pilot initiative, Vienna University Children’s Office has gained recognition on national and international levels as a relevant actor in the sphere of science outreach and social engagement in a wider societal and institutional context. Since the beginning, we were operating on the interface between universities, science, arts and humanities – and society. We are continuously searching for innovative ways of science engagement with children, young people and their families in the dialogue of science and society – and to reduce the obstacles in their access to (higher) education.
Our main focus is to develop and administrate such initiatives in that field, to promote those activities among universities and other authorities and to establish networks of institutions active in this sector. The overriding aim of our attempts is to counteract a falling interest in science and research among the young, to promote a positive attitude towards scientific careers at the earliest stage possible and help to overcome stereotyped notions – with a special focus on that social groups that are currently underrepresented in science, in (higher) education and in the societal dialogue in general.
Currently, KUW has 49 employed staff and a pool of approx. 50 continuous contractors from all relevant fields of experience and professional backgrounds.
Why we are Participating in the Project
Having a role in the MultInclude project helps as to deepen our knowledge and insight into innovative and successful models of science and social engagement across Europe. This shall lead to more impactful and more sustainable implementation of our own initiatives. At the same time, Vienna University Children’s Office can contribute with our existing networks and contacts as well as our profound expertise in this particular area and create added value for the entire consortium and beyond.
Our Role in the Project
Our role in the project is to contribute with successful examples of inclusive education models from the formal and non-formal sector which we are cooperating with. Moreover, we will develop an assessment scheme for education providers that allows them to estimate and compare their own status and preparedness for the concerns of inclusive education and social engagement – based on a well-proven set of key criteria deriving from successful model cases and regional factors.
Karoline Iber has a degree in Educational Science and is also trained in museums pedagogy, organisational development and business management. In her position at the University of Vienna, she was responsible for initiating innovation projects in the areas of staff development, diversity management, student counselling and public engagement. Since 2006 Karoline Iber is executive director of Vienna University Children’s Office.
Chris Gary received his initial training in mechanical engineering and has studied sociology at the University of Vienna. After some years in applied vocational training research, he joined Vienna University Children’s Office as a project developer and coordinator. In this regard, he has implemented foundational structures for international cooperation and exchange in the area of science engagement, educational opportunities and social inclusion, notably under FP6, FP7, H2020 and Erasmus+
Susanne Spelitz has a degree in Educational Science and worked with people with special needs in different settings for many years. Over the years she took on various tasks in the event sector, project coordination of company childcare and in personnel matters. Since summer 2019 she has been supporting Chris Gary in various international projects (E+, H2020).
Thomas Troy has a degree in educational science from the University of Vienna. He worked in childcare for several years before assuming responsibility for the coordination of company childcare for the Vienna University Children’s Office. He is involved in the field of democratic education and deals with the question of opportunities and limits of democratic education for children and young people.
Currently David Ala is in teachers training for Philosophy, Psychology and History. He is working as a media coach for children and active in his hometown youth culture association.