The School of Engineering of the University of Minho is coordinating the Erasmus+ project STEAMigPOWER “STEAM approaches at higher education for mIGrants, refugees and asylum seekers’ empowerment”. The project involves several research centers of the School of Engineering – ALGORITMI Center, ISISE and CEB – and the Presidency of the School.
The project will focus on the development of the STEAM courses to be offered to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, namely women and pupils in upper secondary school (15 – 18 years old), who are particularly vulnerable to being marginalized in STEAM. The consortium will develop 5 STEAM courses, mainly in the environment, climate change and sustainable development study fields, which comes in line not only with European priorities but also with their home countries’ needs, preparing the participants both to remain in Europe in the future as well as to return to their home countries, when conflicts come to an end, with the appropriate tools and skills to rebuilding them in a sustainable way. The STEAM courses will be offered both face-to-face in the partner Higher Education Institutions and online aiming to reach all the interested migrants, no matter where they are located. The face-to-face programme will be complemented with a preliminary blended program on Social Inclusion and on Digital Storytelling.
“Higher Educations Institutions must play an active role in the social, educational and labor integration of migrant communities, especially towards refugees and asylum seekers who normally have more unfavorable conditions for proper integration in resettlement countries, which is why this project was created. It’s main objective is to attract these migrants to Higher Education, especially for the Engineering areas, taking into account the needs of the labor market” reveals Sofia Barbosa Pereira, Principal Investigator of the project at UMinho.
The project, funded by the European Commission with an overall budget of 400.000,00 €, includes a balanced international partnership formed by UMinho (Portugal), Università degli Studi di Perugia (Italy), Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona (Spain), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), Middle East Technical University (Turkey) and S.E.A.L Cyprus (Cyprus). The consortium was carefully chosen considering the Mediterranean migrant routes and the impact of the migrant crisis in this region. All partners are truly committed with the mission to integrate the migrants, working together for establishing a platform that will offer STEAM courses, skills and competencies oriented to these communities, and creating a network of HEIs and other organizations which will work on a long-term with the same goal.
The project has started in December 2022 and will last for 36 months.