About StarT

In the StarT-programme, we offer learning communities support, recognition and awards for carrying out interdisciplinary, collaborative project-based learning. We invite schools, kindergartens and other learning communities as well as other interested to join us in sharing the joy of collaborative learning!

Everyone can participate to StarT-programme by reporting their work. We encourage the learning communities to participate the StarT process in a way that best supports their needs. The topic of the projects is free of choice; the only requirement is that it links somehow to science, technology or mathematics. Furthermore, students’ active role, collaboration and interdisciplinarity are emphasized. 

In the StarT-competition, teachers and students who have carried out projects receive recognition and visibility on many levels, and best practices and projects are even awarded.

Why StarT?

StarT is an exciting and encouraging platform that supports carrying out projects related to science, technology and mathematics. The StarT way of working and thinking is based on research and it empowers children and youngsters to use science, technology, mathematics and 21st century skills in order to solve real-life issues related to their own lives and future.

We encourage all the participants to base their projects in the questions and interests of the students. In addition to that, we hope to motivate the StarT participants to cooperate with e.g. other schools, universities, organizations, and companies. StarT also encourages the use of modern technology as well as taking learning to environments outside of school. The projects and creations in StarT involve combining natural sciences, mathematics, and technology with other disciplines including music, visual arts, drama, languages and sports.

StarT has received the international “Global Best Awards 2018” award as the best STEM education initiative bridging the gap between education and working life in Europe (STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at the IPN2018.

Aims and implementation

We aim to implement a new interdisciplinary, collaborative StarT way of working and thinking to schools. It is based on research and enforced by the newest core curriculum of Finland. StarT is operated by LUMA Centre Finland, which is a network of Finnish universities. We are working on to ensure the high quality of science, technology and mathematics teaching in Finland.

Through StarT we also aim to encourage young people to take up an interest in science, technology and mathematics and to strengthen their science skills.

In StarT, students from early childhood education to upper secondary school learn together and from each other by carrying out interdisciplinary projects in groups. The projects created by children and young people integrate science, mathematics, and/or technology naturally with any subject.

StarT promotes project-based learning and active collaboration within the learning community and also outwards. Through collaboration, students get real-life experiences of science, technology and mathematics. StarT aims to bring for example companies, universities and other organizations closer to schools and kindergartens. Learning can be exciting, meaningful, and effective all at the same time!

StarT gives schools and kindergartens new ideas and support for the implementation of project-based learning. It also establishes a new kind of science festival culture that focuses around collaboration. We emphasize the role of learning communities as a collaborative learning environment. In StarT, learning communities network, get visibility and recognition for their activies, and learn from each other. The best student projects and best practices developed by educators are awarded by the StarT-jury.

StarT places students in the core and encourages them to carry out science, math, and technology projects on topics that interest them. The students’ projects and the educator’s best practices will be on display at StarT events allowing them to get recognition for their work.

This is why the StarT model is remarkable: in StarT both young people and teachers share their expertise and creativity with their peers worldwide, providing everyone participating with new ideas and inspiration. StarT encourages schools and kindergartens to develop their own models of interdisciplinary project-based learning!

The StarT model emphasizes that learning is sharing, and therefore a pivotal part of StarT is bringing the project works and the educational practices out of classrooms. StarT is implemented on four different levels.

  1. Local level: StarT projects carried out in kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools, high schools, and extracurricular activity groups. Read more about the project work.
  2. StarT-Days: young people and their teachers share their work with their own local community
  3. StarT-Fests: regional science festivals where young people share their work with an even wider audience. In Finland, StarT-Fests are organized by the regional LUMA Centres. However, also a few other countries have started organizing StarT-Fests – read more about our partner countries.
  4. International level: we share project work carried out around the world and award the best student projects and best educational practices annually at the International LUMA StarT Gala. We maintain and share a free material bank for teachers and instructors. The material bank constitutes of the internationally distinguished project work and educational practices, and it is updated annually.

StarT is more than a competition

The international StarT-competition has two categories:

  1. Projects by children and youngsters (3-19 y.o.)
  2. Best educational practices by educators (teachers, instructors, parents…)

Even though the form of the international StarT is a competition, StarT is a lot more than that: it is a medium for bringing people from across the world together to share the joy of learning! StarT is exceptional as everyone learns together as a learning community by carrying out phenomenon-based and cross-curricular projects. Furthermore, in StarT different learning communities share their best educational practices.

Find out more on how you can participate.


To understand and improve what we do on StarT-programme, we carry out research related project-based learning. Below are listed some published articles related to StarT-activities. For a more comprensive list, see LUMA Centre Finland’s website.

StarT is organized by the LUMA Centre Finland

The owner of StarT is LUMA Centre Finland, a network of Finnish 11 science and technology universities. StarT has been an important part of its yearly action plan since 2016.The StarT-programme is organized in collaboration with sponsors and other collaboration partners.

Contact us

You can reach the whole team through our shared email: luma-keskus((at))helsinki.fi

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Director of StarT and the LUMA Centre Finland