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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.
I am delighted to share with you our November newsletter from The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. It's fabulous to hear how all your science centres have been  bringing great hands-on science to hundreds of thousands of families across the hugely busy October half term. Likewise it was wonderful seeing many of you at our National Conference in Bristol at the end of September and hearing the projects and great ideas that have begun as a result.

Here at ASDC we have also been very busy, running a number of major national strategic science programmes. We have now trained and equipped 20 UK Science Centres to run 'Destination Space', the ASDC programme funded by the UK Space Agency to celebrate our astronaut Tim Peake, who blasts into space on December 15th this year. The programme brings some fabulous space kit, family and schools activities and a great website to over 250,000 children and adults across the UK.
20 science centres and universities are also busy delivering the ASDC 'Explore Your Universe' programme, funded by STFC. Hundreds of thousands of children and adults have now taken part in this great national physics and engineering programme - and importantly of the 4,500 school children we evaluated, we found that girls were equally inspired by the physics activities as the boys, and just as likely to say they were interested in a career in this area.
Wishing you all  a very successful November,

Dr Penny Fidler, CEO

This Month:


This Month's Top Stories

Introducing the new Special Projects Manager at ASDC

We are delighted to welcome Andy McLeod to ASDC as our new Special Projects Manager

Andy will be coordinating the Wellcome Trust funded project, The Crunch; a national programme of events and activities aimed at getting people talking about our food, our health and our planet.

Before joining ASDC, Andy was a member of the Live Science Team in At-Bristol Science Centre and has previously worked with Edinburgh International Science Festival as a Touring Science Communicator, Events Developer, Production Assistant, and Staff Manager.
The ASDC National Food and Drink programme is supported by The Wellcome Trust and will engage and inspire 130,000 people in families across the UK with the amazing stories and science behind our food and drink. The programme kicks off in April 2015 and we will be partnering with nine science centres in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who will involve a wide variety of their communities and families with this programme


Destination Space blasts off across the UK

Tim Peake, the European Space Agency’s first British astronaut, is due to launch and travel to International Space Station on December 15th. Tim will spend around 6 months living and working in space. To celebrate this fantastic event and the many people that make space flight possible ‘Destination Space’ has now launched in 20 Science Centres across the UK. 

Funded by the UK Space Agency, Destination Space will inspire young children, families and school groups with exciting and engaging hands on activities.  Ride on a hovercraft, launch a rocket or learn how to control a robot arm, all of these activities and much more are found in our family shows currently taking place, launch events in December and schools workshops due for launch in January 2016. 

To find out more visit


Have you found your place on the Destination Space crew yet? Find out which crew member you could be by completing our online personality test.  Will you be a flight surgeon monitoring the health of our astronauts, or maybe a mission planner? Find your role at

Whilst you’re, there check out what UK science centres are doing as part of Destination Space and how they are celebrating Tim Peake’s principia mission. Tim Peake launches on December the 15th so join the Destination Space crew as we celebrate our first British European Space Agency astronaut and the people that make his mission possible.


Inspiring Girls with Science

The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres are delighted to announce that they have been selected to partner with 13 other EU nations to deliver an international programme to inspire girls with science. The project is called Hypatia and will involve headteachers and science centres across Europe to consider how we can use the latest international research to address gender biases in everything we do. It will also be looking at  ways to inspire more girls aged 13 - 18 to consider adventurous careers that involve science. ASDC will be the UK hub and we hope to run some national gender lens training as part of the programme and involve UK science centres as the programme progresses.
(And just for information, Hypatia was a Greek mathematician, astronomer and philosopher. She became the head of the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria around AD400.)

How will we power the UK in the future?

ASDC is delighted to announce a series of public lectures by The Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Mark Walport. These will be happening at Science and Discovery Centres across the UK over the next few months, and will address how we currently supply and use energy, and the options we have for the future. 

Tuesday 8th December: At-Bristol Science Centre

Monday 18th January: New Walk Museum, Leicester

Tuesday 9th February: Glasgow Science Centre


British Science Week Grants

Deadline: 23 November

Each year, the British Science Association makes grants available to schools and organisations to help them put on events or activities for British Science Week. Grants may be used to fund a range of activities – from inviting a speaker to providing resources or organising a trip.  

In 2016, there are a number of grant schemes available, providing small pots of funding from £200 to £700. 


XMaS Scientist Experience

Deadline: 10 February

The University of Warwick and the University of Liverpool have announced a competition open to female 1st year A level Physics students to win an all-expenses paid, four day trip to France. There, they'll visit world leading science facilities and meet the amazing scientists who work there, as well as exploring the beautiful French city of Grenoble. To enter, email to get an entry form.


Primary Science Teaching Trust International Conference

9 - 11 June 2016, Belfast

From 9-11 June 2016, the Primary Science Teaching Trust will celebrate excellence in the teaching of primary science from across the world, with their inaugural International Conference in the vibrant city of Belfast. This unique three-day event will include workshops led by outstanding educators, awe-inspiring speakers and showcases of the best primary science practice from across the world.

Early bird discounts of 40% off teacher delegate packages currently apply. Please enter the promo code PSTT40 when booking to take advantage of this offer. The first 100 teachers to book are also eligible for a discount of 20% on accommodation costs. (Ts and Cs apply, see the website for further details.) 


In Memoriam: Sally Duensing

It is with great sadness I share the news that the very lovely Dr Sally Duensing passed away last week. Sally touched the lives of countless people all over the world especially those working in, and visiting, science centres and museums.
Sally had an international reputation for her work in science engagement. She spent 25 years at the Exploratorium where the Director, Dennis Bartels, described her as ‘an Exploratorium legend, whose work and legacy touches nearly every person who works at the Exploratorium’.
Sally's curiosity, warmth, optimism and passion for science engagement shaped a field and I feel privileged to have worked with her over the past 15 years in Bristol and Miami, and through a variety of European and international projects. Sally was also a close friend of Prof Richard Gregory who introduced us, and I understand she introduced him to the Exploratorium all those years ago.
Sally worked with a large number of science centres and academic departments. She held the Collier Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at Bristol University from 1999-2001 and was later a visiting professor at both Bristol University  and Kings College London.  She was also (amongst other things) the director of the Center for Informal Learning and Schools at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Sally was a delightful, charming, warm lovely, bright lady and will be very sadly missed by everyone who was lucky enough to call her a friend, and all those who were lucky enough to have worked with her.

Her family have set up this website for everyone who knew Sally, to share your thoughts and memories. Please do contribute
In sadness,

Dr Penny Fidler
CEO of the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres

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

British Science Week Grants

Deadline: 23 November

Communicate 2015

10 - 11 November, Bristol

NCCPE Engage Conference 2015

2 - 3 December, Bristol

Ecsite Annual Conference 2016

9 - 11 June, Austria

Primary Science Teaching Trust International Conference

9 - 11 June, Belfast

EuroScience Open Forum 2016

23 - 27 July, Manchester

Deputy Director

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
Deadline: 09 November

Research Communications Manager

Diabetes UK
Deadline: 09 November

Heritage Officer

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
Deadline: 11 November

Science Writer

The Science and Technology Facilities Council
Deadline: 15 November

Outreach Project Manager

Women's Engineering Society
Deadline: 15 November

Impact and Engagement Manager

Manchester Metropolitan University
Deadline: 16 November

Programme Manager, South West and Wales

Royal Society of Chemistry
Deadline: 22 November

Chief Executive

Science Gallery International
Deadline: 09 December
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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