About the project

Project title: “In the Society of Microbes”

Project coordinator: Croatian Microbiological Society (CMS)

The project “In the Society of Microbes” by the Croatian Microbiological Society is funded by the European Social Fund and also by State budget of Croatia in the period from 19th March 2018 to 18th January 2020. The aim is to contribute to the introduction, development, improvement and sustainability of service learning, as a part of the academical learning.

Service learning (SL) is an educational approach in which students use the knowledge and skills gathered through the study to provide solutions for a concrete problem recognised in society. SL is also recognised as a powerful way for connecting general society to academy with students as the principal mediators.

This is the first service learning project in the field of microbiology in Croatia and it will be carried out in collaboration with academic institutions (Catholic University of Croatia, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rijeka, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zagreb) and NGOs (Bioteka – an association for promotion of biology and related sciences, BIUS – an association of biology students).

Project objectives will be achieved through multiple activities. In the first part of the project, both volunteers and academia employees will be educated about service learning through workshops and excursion. The workshops include:

  • education about service learning, applying new education approaches and evaluating student`s performance. This education will be held by assoc. prof. Nives Mikelić Preradović, PhD (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb), an expert on service learning.
  • education about lessons planning and supervised service learning programmes planning. This education will be held by assoc. prof. Ines Radanović (Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb), an expert on applied educational approaches.
  • education about interpretation of scientific subjects through public media. This education will be held by Emma Clayton, mag. oecol. et. prot. nat. (Frontiers for Young Minds editor), an expert on communication between scientific community and general public, and Sanja Lepur (Virtual Factory), an expert on interactive web design.

At the end of first part of the project, supervisors and volunteers will visit the museum of microbes “Micropia” in Amsterdam. The museum stands out with its unique approach in presenting microbiological exhibits to general public giving it an important social role.

In the continuation of the project, students of partner faculties will take their part. For most of them, the participation in the project “In the Society of Microbes” will be the first opportunity to apply their knowledge in solving societal problems and to contribute to society as its active members. After finishing required education (for applying gathered knowledge in local community, for development and improvement of communication skills, for applying service learning, and for preparation of interactive learning contents), students will, with mentor`s support, identify microbiological problems in society and prepare materials for Virtual Museum of Microbes. Besides that, students will also give workshops for children in elementary schools and in Bioteka, and will also give public lectures to educate general public.