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The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres brings together over 60 of the nation's major science engagement organisations, who together reach 20 million people each year

Welcome to the ASDC Newsletter

A round-up of the month's interesting updates, developments and opportunities for science engagement professionals across the UK.

A very warm welcome to our February 2017 newsletter.

A very warm welcome to the February newsletter, and a joyful and busy start to 2017.

ASDC is delighted to announce the dates for our 2017 National Conference which will be in September, hosted by Dynamic Earth in the lovely city of Edinburgh. Lots more details on this and our other events are below.

We would also like to announce the start of our latest National Science Programme which is in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry and BOC, and focuses on all the exciting future uses of gases.

Meanwhile, great news and huge congratulations to all our science centres who have been running the ASDC National Programme ‘Destination Space’, funded by the UK Space Agency. Together we have now engaged over 700,000 children and adults in these special astronaut workshops and shows across the UK.

As we enter a year of unprecedented change, we look forward to working with you all to champion and celebrate the values of collaboration, cooperation, differences and the need to protect our beautiful planet.

Dr Penny Fidler, CEO

This Month:


This Month's Top Stories

The 2017 ASDC National Conference

19 - 20 September

We are delighted to announce the dates for our 2017 National Conference which will be hosted by the excellent science centre Dynamic Earth, in the heart of the lovely city of Edinburgh.

The Main Conference will be at Dynamic Earth on Wednesday September 20 September with a host of great speakers, the every popular Pecha Kucha and a range of facilitated discussion sessions on topics highly relevant to staff at all stage of their careers. On Tuesday 19 September at 7.30pm we look forward to inviting you to the vibrant 2017 Conference Dinner. The ASDC AGM will be at 3pm on Tuesday 19 September. 

Closing the STEM skills gap inquiry

ASDC submitted evidence into this current inquiry on behalf of the sector which is published on the Parliament website. We strongly recommended all our members also submitted written evidence, and many of you have done so outlining the STEM programmes you run to address the STEM skills gap in the UK. We note that although the deadline has passed, the inquiry website still shows they are accepting evidence, so if you would like to submit, call the clerk and ask if that is still possible. Evidence submitted so far is here.

Submit written evidence via the inquiry page.

Science Communication inquiry

The Science and Technology Committee inquiry into how the Government, scientists, the media and others encourage and facilitate public awareness of – and engagement in – science, is still accepting written submissions of evidence.


ASDC Invites 22 Leading Science Centre Educators to CERN

We are delighted to be taking 22 science centre educators to CERN next week as part of Explore Your Universe Phase 3. This trip has been made possible by the generous support of STFC, and will provide an enriching and stimulating opportunity to see one of the world's most famous scientific facilities and meet some of the physicists and engineers working there. The group can then share their inspiring experiences with families and schools during EYU shows and workshops when they get back to their centres.

Explore Your Universe Partners welcomed to Edinburgh

As part of EYU Phase 3, participating centres have been invited to the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at Royal Observatory Edinburgh for a Training Academy in February. This lively 2-day event will include a tour of the site, training in the exciting hands-on EYU kit, and an invaluable opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with partners from across the UK. 

Newton's seeds update

The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres offered a unique opportunity for our member Science Centres and Museums to be given seeds from Newton's Apple Tree, and to use these to grow their very own offspring of Newton's tree. This rare opportunity was offered through a collaboration between ASDC and the team at Woolsthorpe Manor (National Trust) in Lincolnshire, birthplace and family home of Sir Isaac Newton. The tree is considered to be the inspiration for Newton's theory of gravity, when he sat in the orchard, watching the apples fall towards the earth.

This opportunity was to celebrate the World's first International Science Centre and Science Museum Day on November 10th 2016, a day backed by UNESCO and science centres around the world.

If you have your seeds planted and in the fridge, you can now take them out and put them on a windowsill. Please be aware they must stay cool so don't put them near or above a radiator. For further details click here.

BBC Terrific Scientific

Terrific Scientific is a major 18 month UK-wide campaign to bring practical science into the classroom and into our homes. Instead of lab coats and test tubes, the campaign will urge pupils, teachers and parents across the UK to grab lemons, leaves, tap water and other everyday items to join in with exciting and accessible mass-participation investigations.

Aimed at upper primary school level, Terrific Scientific will help deliver the objectives of the science curricula for 9-11 year olds across the UK. By breaking down the traditional confines of science, and exposing children from a young age to the concept that science is all around us, the BBC along with a host of partners will support teachers to show that a career in science is open to everyone.

For more information visit:

To get involved contact Executive Producer Dan Gooding 

National Programme on Gases for our Future

The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres, The Royal Society of Chemistry and BOC, the UK’s biggest industrial and medical gases company, are delighted to announce the launch of a new partnership bringing together some of the most fascinating and diverse chemistry in the country with the talents and infrastructure of the nation’s largest network of science engagement organisations. 
The partnership comprises a 2-year national programme that aims to engage, inspire and involve school-age children and their families with the amazing stories and science of gases, investigating the latest innovations, dispelling myths and exploring how gases will be used for a greener future. ASDC is delighted to be working with Winchester Science Centre as a development partner on this programme.

Apply for the new Public Engagement Fund

In November 2016 the Wellcome Trust announced a new funding structure for public engagement, designed to be flexible and more accessible.

The scheme has now launched, and the application form for the new Public Engagement Fund is available. There is no application deadline, so you can apply any time you’re ready.


Public Engagement Innovation Grant Scheme

Deadline: 5 June

This fund was introduced to give financial support for the delivery of a range of pathology-related events throughout the UK. Grants of up to £1000 are available for individuals or organisations who wish to develop pathology-related public engagement activities or events.

The Innovation Grant Scheme aims to: inspire innovative and creative pathology related public engagement projects and activities; raise public awareness of, and engagement with, pathology, in particular with those who would not normally engage with the topic; develop the science communication skills of pathologists and laboratory scientists; stimulate discussion about pathology between pathologists and the public in order to motivate, inspire and enthuse both parties about the value of pathology as the ‘science behind the cure’.


NCCPE Engage Academy applications open

The Engage Academy cohort meets in Bristol for three two-day sessions that explore the role of PURPOSE, PROCESS and PEOPLE in underpinning engagement excellence. Each meeting combines presentations led by individuals prominent within the engagement, funding and policy communities; practical workshops; and opportunities for peer-supported learning. Mentors with expertise in public engagement strategy, culture change, evaluation, and community engagement are available to provide one-to-one support.


Call for BIG Event session proposals

Deadline: 19 February

BIG is now accepting session proposals for their 2017 conference, taking place between the 19th and 21st of July at the Centre for Life in Newcastle.

Bring a show, a workshop, something needing tweaking, something you think is fab; bring your skills in evaluating, managing, developing, presenting, fettling; bring your planetarium, your STEM tap-routine, your busks, your IPad session. But whatever you do, make it hands-on, make it collaborative, make it a truly sharing contribution.


Museum University Partnership Initiative

Are you a museum looking to work with university? Or an academic wanting to work with a museum? Then the Museum University Partnership Initiative could be what you have been looking for.
Funded by Arts Council England, the project is offering museum staff and volunteers the opportunity to meet with academics to develop mutually beneficial partnerships. The MUPI match events cover each region of England, and are particularly targeted at small and regional museums who are ACE accredited (or working towards accreditation) who haven’t had the opportunity to work in partnership with a university. During the event there is a chance to meet academics, and to come up with partnership ideas. Participants can then apply for ‘thinking funding’ to develop their partnership approach.
You can choose to attend an event in your region, or join us for a national event. The current dates are on the NCCPE website.

Do you have news to share with the network? Send it to us!

Public Engagement Innovation Grant Scheme

Deadline: 5 June

Visitor Studies Group 2017 Conference

22 - 23 March, Royal Geographical Society, London

Science in Public Conference 2017

10 - 12 July, Sheffield

BIG Event 2017

19 - 21 July, Newcastle

British Science Festival 

5 - 9 September, Brighton

The 2017 ASDC National Conference

19 - 20 September, Edinburgh

Science Policy Officer

European Geosciences Union, Munich
Deadline: 5 February
Read More... 

The Naked Scientists Radio Producer

Cambridge University
Deadline: 6 February
Read More... 

Programme Manager (Citizen Science)

The Raspberry Pi Foundation
Deadline: 6 February

Chief Executive

The Deep
Deadline: 6 February

Genetics Society Centenary Project Manager

Royal Institution
Deadline: 6 February

Midlothian Science Festival Manager/Administrator

University of Edinburgh
Deadline: 7 February
Read More... (Ref: 038733)

Public and Regions Engagement Manager

Institute of Physics
Deadline: 10 February

Schools Engagement Executive

Royal Society of Chemistry
Deadline: 9 February

Head of Communications and Engagement

John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory
Deadline: 9 February

Press Officer

British Ecological Society
Deadline: 17 February

Public Engagement and Communication Officer

University of Edinburgh
Deadline: 20 February
Looking to recruit someone? Want to attract as wide a pool of candidates as possible? Send us details. On average the job opportunities listed attract a large proportion of the click-throughs from the newsletter, which is sent out to a broad range of professionals working in and with the science engagement sector.
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