IRIS Interests & Recruiment in Science – University of Copenhagen

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30 April 2012

IRIS Interests & Recruiment in Science

IRIS was an EU-project about recruitment and retention in higher education in technology, science and mathematics. It followed the ROSE-project and also included a survey in a number of countries.

DSE was responsible for the work package on retention, which was studied qualitatively using interviews and observation of teaching. Further we conducted an analysis of register based statistical data concerning the educational trajectories of a number of cohorts of students finishing upper secondary school with specialisms in science and technology.

Project duration: May 2009 - April 2012

DSE Project members: Lars Ulriksen, Henriette Tolstrup Holmegaard (PhD student), Philipp Lorenzen (master student)

Project cooperation partners: Ellen K. Henriksen and Camilla Schreiner, (University of Oslo), Justin Dillon (King's college London), Jim Ryder (University of Leeds), Tina Hribar Trifunovic and Slavko Dolinsek (University of Ljubljana), Valeria Arzenton (Associazzione Observa, Italien).



Henriksen, E. K., Dillon, J., & Ryder, J. (Eds.). (2015). Understanding Student Participation and Choice in Science and Technology Education. Dordrecht Springer Netherlands.


  • Ulriksen, L; Madsen, L.M.; Holmegaard, H.T. (2010). What do we know about explanations for drop out/opt out among young people from STM higher education programmes? Studies in Science Education 46 (2), 209-244. (
  • Ulriksen, L. (2012). Attracting Students and making them Stay: The importance of expectations and experiences in the recruitment and retention of engineering students. In: Proceedings of the 40th SEFI Annual Conference 2012: Engineering Education 2020: Meet the Future. Chapter Keynote Lectures.(pp. 68-81). Brussels, Belgium: SEFI: European Association for Engineering Education. (
  • Holmegaard, H. T. (2012): Students’ Narratives, Negotiations, and Choices. IND’s Skriftserie 26/2012. (Ph.d.-afhandling) København: Institut for Naturfagenes Didaktik, Københavns Universitet (Further information at
  • Ulriksen, L., Holmegaard, H. T., & Madsen, L. M. (2013). Weaving a Bridge of Sense: students' narrative constructions as a lens for understanding students' coping with the gap between expectancies and experiences when entering higher education. European Educational Research Journal, 12(3), 310-319. doi:   
  • Holmegaard, H., Madsen, L., & Ulriksen, L. (2014). A journey of negotiation and belonging: understanding students’ transitions to science and engineering in higher education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 9 (3) 755-786.
  • Holmegaard, H. T., Ulriksen, L. M., & Madsen, L. M. (2014). The Process of Choosing What to Study: A Longitudinal Study of Upper Secondary Students' Identity Work When Choosing Higher Education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 58 (1), 21-40. (
  • Holmegaard, H. T., Madsen, L. M., & Ulriksen, L. (2014). To choose or not to choose Science: Constructions of desirable identities among young people considering a STEM higher education programme. International Journal of Science Education, 36 (2) 186-215 (
  • Holmegaard, H. T. (2015). Performing a Choice-Narrative: A qualitative study of the patterns in STEM students’ higher education choices. International Journal of Science Education, 37(9), 1454-1477. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1042940
  • Holmegaard, H. T., Madsen, L. M., & Ulriksen, L. (2016). Where is the engineering I applied for? A longitudinal study of students' transition into higher education engineering, and their considerations of staying or leaving. European Journal of Engineering Education, 41(2), 154-171. doi:10.1080/03043797.2015.1056094
  • Ulriksen, L., Holmegaard, H. T., & Madsen, L. M. (2016). Making sense of curriculum—the transition into science and engineering university programmes. Higher Education, 1-18. doi:10.1007/s10734-016-0099-4
  • Holmegaard, H. T., Madsen, L. M., & Ulriksen, L. (2017). Why should European higher education care about the retention of non-traditional students? European Educational Research Journal, 16(1), 3-11. doi:doi:10.1177/1474904116683688
  • Ulriksen, L., Madsen, L. M., & Holmegaard, H. T. (2017). The first-year experience of non-traditional students in Danish science and engineering university programmes. European Educational Research Journal, 16(1), 45-61. doi:doi:10.1177/1474904116678628

Read the full project description (in Danish).