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Introducing youth to science and science to youth

Bringing science closer to young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Seine-Saint-Denis department.

The Science Ouverte association develops educational projects in Seine-Saint-Denis for young people. Supported by the Foundation, the association allows young people to discover scientific disciplines in a concrete way, by organizing one-week scientific and cultural courses in their premises or on university campuses. In order to support motivated and curious young people over the long term, the association also offers academic support, tutoring and orientation sessions.

A lack of scientific vocations in Seine-Saint-Denis

In this department, young people do not tend towards long scientific studies. This phenomenon can be explained by self-censorship linked to a lack of knowledge about the world of research and science, but also by insufficient guidance and support. It can also be explained by the absence of success models in the environment of these young people who come from modest families.  

It was the violence of November 2005 in parisian suburbs that confirmed the association's desire to offer an alternative for the young people of this territory. Their work is part of a fight against the feeling of confinement and powerlessness of young people from priority neighborhoods.

In Seine-Saint-Denis, nearly half of all middle school students come from a disadvantaged background. *

Developing curiosity about science

The scientific training courses offered by the association have the following objectives :

  • to remove the barriers due to school difficulties
  • to help young people discover the pleasure of studying science
  • to encourage debate and reflection on scientific subjects
  • to give young people a realistic image of research, to help them formulate their career plans

In addition, the association accompanies the young people with tutoring and homework help. The group support then allows :

  • to work on the cognitive development of the student by going beyond homework
  • to act on their personal development
  • establish a reflection on their aspirations and ambitions
  • to encourage solidarity and mutual aid between young people
  • to accompany parents in the follow-up of their children's schooling

150 Young people supported per year

15 Planned internships in 2022

Introducing science to young people

Science ouverte organizes one-week training courses with lectures, practical workshops and outings. A research project is also worked on in small groups of 3 or 4, followed by an oral presentation in front of the researcher at the end of the course. The themes are proposed by the association's Scientific Council, adapting to the concerns of high school students and to current issues: "Science and Society", "Science and Food". In 2020, an online course on the theme of "Science and Covid" enabled 22 young people to follow a dozen expert speakers. Students from Polytechnique, Telecom Paris and ENSTA also organize internships for young people such as "Python Pilot" or a one-week accompaniment to prepare for higher studies.

Long-term support is also offered in the association's premises. Indeed, students sometimes do not have a family environment or a socio-economic context that allows them to work in good conditions and to aspire to higher scientific studies. This need for support was all the more felt during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In groups of 5 to 8 students for 2 mediators, they start the session with common exercises in mathematics, and continue their learning by helping them with their homework, mainly in scientific subjects. Thanks to volunteers, employees of the association and trainees from the Ecole Polytechnique, presentations of scientific jobs and studies are organized. This 2-hour help in the evening after school continues during the vacations with 4 days of support.

Finally, other activities are offered throughout the year, such as family support, weekly neighborhood activities and scientific exhibitions.

What the Air Liquide Foundation is doing

The Air Liquide Foundation finances the remuneration of the project leaders and supervisors of the scientific internships and the educational support actions. It therefore participates in the proper conduct of these scientific dissemination activities for young people, as well as in their accompaniment and orientation.

Association Science Ouverte


"Science Ouverte is an association well anchored in its territory and very dynamic. It has already been in existence for several years and works in a network with other scientific mediation associations. Its mission to open up young people to science and science to young people, in a socially disadvantaged area, fits in well with the Foundation's mission of "acting within local communities."

Corinne Chovet, responsable du CTE