Tender: Evaluation and Curation of Soil Education Resources

30th July 2020

On Friday 31 July, the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) launched a tender inviting bids for a project to evaluate and curate soil education resources.

The full tender details are set out below and are also available on Research Professional:


Evaluation and curation of soil education resources for the British Society of Soil Science

The British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) is an established international membership organisation and charity committed to the study of soil in its widest aspects. The society brings together those working within academia, and practitioners implementing soil science in industry. Soil scientists’ research findings are essential for investigating the feasibility of agricultural, landscaping, construction, conservation and archaeological projects. Our members are employed by both private and public sector institutions including academic universities, conservation charities, construction companies and consultancies.

Background

Soil resources are the biogeochemical foundation of the world’s terrestrial ecosystems and of human society. As such, their sustainable management is critical to tackling major global challenges such as climate change and food security for future generations. Knowledge of soil science is therefore needed to address these challenges.

Despite this, soil science teaching in schools and colleges in many countries, including the UK, has been in decline over the last forty years. Soil science is not explicitly taught as part of current UK school curricula and fewer students are being inspired to study soils through their primary, secondary and tertiary education. For this trend to be reversed, we need to provide support for inspiring educators to rekindle an interest in teaching soil at primary and secondary education levels.

BSSS has education and outreach as part of its core strategic aims and charitable objectives, which are supported by the Society Education Committee. The Education Committee develops activities and events to support the education of soil science across a wide range of individuals and age groups. It aims to achieve this by providing information and resources to teachers, farmers, agronomists, growers, industry and land managers and the public via grants, outreach events, training courses and teaching materials.

BSSS is hosting the World Congress of Soil Science in 2022 and to capitalise on this we aim to develop a framework for soil science in schools as part of the congress legacy.

Objective

We are looking for an enthusiastic individual or team experienced in soil science, with knowledge of academic review, soil education and data synthesis, who will search for and review the current published global soil education materials.

Tasks

1. Evaluate online soil education resources available in the UK and beyond (existing BSSS content, websites, activities, video content) across diverse platforms (e.g. institutional webpages, other learned societies, STEM-NET, other educational resources and YouTube). Evaluation should be based on:

a. scientific accuracy
b. educational relevance
c. contemporary information
d. resource type
e. longevity of resource (e.g. external website hosting) as well as other criteria developed within the project.

2. Signpost resources in terms of relevance to current national curricula (using preliminary curriculum mapping from BSSS Education Committee).

3. Identify gaps in resources that link to national curricula in the UK (identified by initial work by education committee) and contemporary soil science themes/topics.

4. Devise a database for collating soil education resources into soil related themes and topics (this is likely to be co-developed as the resource evaluation takes place).

5. Map the content/links for curating soil education resources on the BSSS webpage. Review other similar webpages for education resources (e.g. IBG, BES etc). The BSSS website will be revised in 2020/1 and this will feed directly into the development of soil science education pages and content.

Deliverables

1. A new database of soil education resources to include relevant metadata and structure that links different resource types according to soil themes/topics and pedagogy and map their content onto current school curricula (primary and secondary) in the UK

2. Sitemap for soil education resources, which is designed to be added to the BSSS website

3. A project report to include a summary of available soil education resources, their limitations, and key gaps for future resource development

4. Monthly progress updates.

Key Dates

Tender release: 31 July 2020

Tender submission deadline: 31 August 2020

Successful applicant(s) notified by: 10 September 2020

Project start date: 1 October 2020

Project end date: No later than 31 January 2020.

Maximum funding available: £7,280 which is payable in the following instalments:

  • 50% of project value on delivery of the database in its draft form (deliverable 1)
  • 50% of project value on completion of deliverables 2 – 4 and final version of deliverable 1.

To Apply

To apply, please submit the following as part of the tender:

1. Summary of how you will deliver the tasks and deliverables

2. Gantt chart

3. Budget breakdown (including staff resources)

4. Relevant experience and CV of individual(s).

Please submit your tender to sarahgarry@soils.org.uk by 17:00 on 31 August 2020.

The successful organisation will be expected to sign a Service Level Agreement with BSSS before commencement of the project.