The Expedition Münsterland has been highlighting extraordinary science venues and university research activities in the Münsterland region since 2010. The project sees itself as a bridge between science and society. It works to disseminate information about the University's science endeavours to the general public, companies and communities, while also encouraging a process of exchange between the region and the University of Münster.
The Expedition Münsterland is implemented together with and by dedicated citizens. The Innovation Office is an active member of the citizen science platform Bürger schaffen Wissen and has contributed to the Citizen Science Strategy 2020 for Germany. At the European level the AFO represents the University of Münster in the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA). The Citizen-Science-Working-Group of the University of Münster has announced a University-Citizen-Science-Competition for the first time in 2019.
Furthermore, the project explores new ways to strengthen these networks and actively participates in current discourse on citizen science. The ideas for many of its events are provided by citizens who are interested in their surroundings and often play an integral role in carrying out joint research events – both thematically and organisationally. Expedition Münsterland not only relies on researchers, but also non-professionals who contribute in numerous ways as citizen scientists at the local level. Individual projects integrate a diverse range of innovative event concepts (bicycle tours, bus tours, guided tours, public readings, workshops), attract interested citizens to various scientific venues in the Münsterland, and present the scientific endeavours of all University faculties. The participants share information and knowledge in a relaxed atmosphere, and thereby dismantle the barriers between them. While children are introduced to the academic environment at an early age and pupils come in contact with students, citizens involved in Expedition Münster have the chance to immerse themselves in the world of science. And as an added bonus, participating students and scientists have the opportunity to discover the region as a living and research environment.
As part of Expedition Münsterland, a growing number of events have been developed together with schools. In 2013, this close collaboration between researchers, teachers, students and pupils resulted in what is now a firmly established subsidiary project called LINSE (Learning through Social Engagement). In this project, Expedition Münsterland actively engages in "service learning" which involves creating real-world learning situations for pupils with students in concrete locations, whereby the focus is not only to increase awareness of one's environment, but also to enhance the pupils' personal development. When developing LINSE projects for pupils, organisers often draw on the professional expertise of "GI@School – Geoinformatics in School", a research laboratory for secondary-school pupils established at the University of Münster.
Every Expedition Münsterland event is coordinated in cooperation with institutes of the University of Münster and a diverse array of regional partners and locations. These include cities and communities, clubs and associations, schools and committed citizens.
Visit the Expedition Münsterland website: www.expedition-muensterland.de