The online platform www.forschungsboerse.de was launched in 2010 by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the “Science Year” as an instrument for science communication and knowledge transfer. The platform connects schools of all types with scientists from academia crossing all research fields to promote direct and personal exchange between students and scientists nationwide. The personal encounters between researchers and schoolchildren aim to create a better understanding of scientific questions, methods and goals of research, to promote “scientific literacy” and to demonstrate potential career paths in science. Currently, the online platform arranges about one school-scientist contact per day and over 1,000 scientists are participating on a voluntary basis.
For the researchers, interacting with school children strengthens their communication skills and promotes the mission of science as a social task. For the inviting teachers, the expert’s presentations and hands-on demonstrations support and enrich teaching of their respective subject content. Above all, the students benefit from the direct interaction with active research scientists, and as a result, over 30,000 students have already welcomed a scientist to their classrooms thanks to the Forschungsbörse.
In this contribution we introduce the Forschungsbörse to the geoscience community and use one lecture (on seamounts), conducted for ninth-graders at a rural comprehensive school in 2019, as a case example. That lecture was evaluated by the 29 participating students by using standardized questionnaires.