The University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) has been established in 2004, it is the product of a fusion of several smaller public universities in Northwestern Switzerland financed by the four cantons ('states') of Northwestern Switzerland and by the federal government. The FHNW has several "schools", e.g. for engineering, arts, social sciences and teacher education. It counts more than 5'000 students, half of them in the 'School for Teacher Education'. The FHNW offers several bachelor and master programs; it is also engaged in professional development. Foci of research and development are on engineering, social sciences (in particular psychology and social work), arts, and education. The School for Teacher Education is one of the biggest in Switzerland: future teachers for pre-school, primary, lower and upper secondary schools get their training here. The School has an Institute for Teacher Professional Development that offers a broad spectrum of in-service-teacher training courses, i.e. several hundred per year from day-long courses to 'certificates of advanced studies' (CAS) and 'masters of advanced studies' (MAS), for example a CAS in 'Teaching science and technology to kids between 4 and 11 years'. Five research centres focus on pedagogical problems and/or subject specific didactics, among other things science and technology education. Research and development projects in science and technology education include a tri-national video-study that compares physics instruction in Finland, Germany and Switzerland, an intervention study in order to improve interdisciplinary science instruction (science-technology-society-environment, STSE), the development and validation of standards in science education, the evaluation and improvement of the use of hands-on-activities and lab-experiments in physics instruction, the organisation and evaluation of a large in-service-training program called 'Innovation SWISE (Swiss Science Education)', and the development of concepts for exhibitions, fairs and museums.
Prof. Dr. Peter Labudde is the head of the Centre of Science and Technology Education since 2008. He received his teacher diploma in physics, chemistry and mathematics, a PhD in physics, and his Venia Docendi (postdoctoral lecture qualification, 2nd thesis) in science education from the University of Berne, where he has been vice director for almost 20 years, later director of the Centre for Teacher Education for Upper Secondary Schools. Before this he was a science and math teacher in secondary schools for seven years. Since the beginning of the nineties of the last century he has led about 20 research projects, with a volume of more than two million euros, half of them financed by foundations like the Swiss National Science Foundation. He runs all the projects mentioned above. His research interests are in learning-teaching-processes in sciences, in particular in physics, interdisciplinary approaches in science instruction like STSE at the lower and upper secondary level, development and evaluation of new teaching materials and units, gender studies in science instruction, development and evaluation of standards, international large-scale-assessments like TIMSS and PISA, and teacher professional development. He is member of several national and international committees and boards, e.g. co-director of the consortium that develops the standards in science instruction in Switzerland, representative of Switzerland in the PISA science group, member of the advisory group of the Austrian project 'Innovations in Mathematics and Science Teaching', and president of the scientific advisory group of the 'Project School Development' in Hamburg in Germany. He has organized several large national and international conferences in science education. Peter Labudde has written and edited respectively 7 books and written more than 120 articles in science education. He had lectureships at the Universities of Klagenfurt, Vienna, Lyon and Zurich.
Johannes Börlin is a PhD student at the Centre of Science and Technology Education. As a project member of the tri-national video study "Quality of Instruction in Physics" he is focusing on the video based analysis of practical work. Before he started doing research, he worked as a physics teacher in upper secondary schools.