Space science

The view from European school students

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Res Sci Educ (2018).

Jennifer DeWitt and Karen Bultitude


Gender imbalance in the physical sciences and engineering is a longstanding and well-documented concern within science education, industry, and policy. The current study is motivated by this issue and focuses on space science in particular, which has been promoted as a physical science with the capacity to inspire both boys and girls. 

A survey of over 8000 pupils aged 9–16 from 11 European countries was utilised to provide the first large-scale investigation of school students’ perceptions of space science. 

Enthusiasm for space science was clear within our sample, and individual differences were more important than background characteristics (gender, age, country) in driving attitudes to space science. 

However, although these positive attitudes and perceptions were shared by boys and girls, substantially fewer students, particularly females, expressed interest in pursuing a career in space science.

Funding Information
EU Space Awareness was funded by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, H2020—COMPET—2014 under the Grant Agreement 638653.


Martin Delahunty

Managing Director, InspiringSTEM Network

Founder & Managing Director, InspiringSTEM. Formerly, Global Director at Springer Nature. Highly experienced scientific technical and medical publisher. Extensive experience of working with international science research organisations, universities and academic researchers working on journals, digital communities and conferences. Proud UK Stem Ambassador. Experienced speaker and presenter. European Irish.