Learning laboratories network GenaU

"Together for scientific technological teaching/learning"

(Gemeinsam für naturwissenschaftlich-technischen Unterricht)

Primary school pupils in the course    "air pressure and vacuum"

Primary school pupils in the course "air pressure and vacuum" in the learning laboratory physik.begreifen [understanding.physics]- at  DESY Zeuthen


Establishing a network of  regional learning laboratories to create synergies; improve, expand and  provide long term security of offered services

Argument for inclusion

With GenaU we present a large well established network of RECs in Germany. Since successful cooperation between RECs is one of the biggest future challenges, GenaU presents one good practice example from Germany.

Relevant information in short

Main Research Partners

Campus Berlin Buch, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, Zeuthen, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., Ferdinand-Braun-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik & Lise-Meitner-Schule Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, GeoForschungs Zentrum Potsdam, Hahn-Meitner-Institut Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin

Educational partners

Many different schools all over Berlin and Brandenburg

Other partners

Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Science Center Spectrum der Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin, Science Center Exploratorium Potsdam, Science Center Orbitall – FEZ Berlin-Wuhlheide

Age classes

Students: Age 6 -19, Groups up to 30 Persons

Thematic orientation

Science and technology

Main Focus

To attract young people to science and engineering

Duration of activity

Since 2005


Supported by:  Lernort Labor (LeLa) - Center for Consulting and Quality development; Robert Bosch Stiftung; TSB Technologiestiftung Berlin.



Contact person

Malte Detlefsen

Context and conditions

In the GenaU network there are 11 learning laboratories united from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and earth sciences. The learning labs are based at universities and research institutes in Berlin and Brandenburg. The initiative was taken by the learning laboratories. Its basis consists of an informal agreement to cooperate. Through the establishment of a coordination office in mid-2006, the network started its public relations. With the GenaU coordination office a central point of contact for schools, school administration, politics, economics, science and the press has been created in the region for the first time.

GenaU network

The GenaU network has since developed into an important hub for the promotion of science and technology between young people and has become a nationwide model project for regional networking of learning labs. The main concern of GenaU is to combine existing resources and create synergies. The aim is to steadily improve, expand and  provide long term security of offered servicesTogether with external partners GenaU developes concepts for future scientific and technical learning. GenaU is - in contrast to other (mostly specialised) learning laboratory networks - an interdisciplinary network. In addition, the region of Berlin-Brandenburg has a unique nationwide density and diversity of learning labs. The location in the same region and similar current challenges suggest cooperation. The close tie to research centres distinguishes the learning labs in the network. Other features of the network are the great variety of services and a high demand on their quality.

Activities and Contents

Chemistry teachers in training in NatLab   (Free University of Berlin)

In 2006 - 20,854 pupils experimented in the eleven learning laboratories of the network,
- 802 teachers attended courses here and
- 201 teacher students were in training.
The demand far exceeds the supply. Therefore, the aim of the GenaU network is to gain support for long-term financial security and for expansion of its services.
One of the first successes of the network is the increasing public awareness of the Berlin and Brandenburg learning labs. For the first time, an overview of the offerings in the region has been assessed. With its website www.genau-bb.de, the network offers services for all target groups. Another important success is that the Berlin Senate has given long-term assurances to the existing ‘Lehrerabordnungen’  of the labs. Also, quality development is being enhanced through the network for example for teacher training. GenaU learning labs with several years of experience are currently advising 5 initiatives with planning how to set up new learning laboratories.


Upper school pupils in the geography   course 'magnetic field of the earth' in   the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam

In the laboratories of the GenaU network, pupils experiment on their own. The aim is to attract young people to science and engineering and to give new inputs to science courses at school.
The members of the GenaU network offer regular laboratory science courses for entire classes or upper school courses. In addition, there are special offers for interested and talented pupils.
Teachers can attend training courses at the learning labs. In these courses, scientists provide current scientific knowledge and information on new methodical didactical developments. At three of the labs students (Lehramtstudierende ) are being trained as teachers. Supported by scientists and teachers, they gather practical teaching experience from the beginning of their studies.

Curriculum relevance

All offers of the participating learning laboratories are relevant to the curriculum

Mutual benefits

The distinguishing feature of the learning laboratories in the GenaU network is that they are located in research institutions or universities. Through these labs , students can experience authentic and unique places of work. They get to know the outline of a profession as a possible career in science and technology, and of subsequent study opportunities.

Pictures from the network website