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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 December newsletter.

Wishing you all seasons greetings and a happy run up to Christmas. After such a unprecedented year it truly is a time for us to all champion and celebrate international collaboration, cooperation and the need to protect our beautiful planet.
Please do remember to submit into the latest select committee inquiry saying what your organisation does to help the STEM skills gap, and also to respond to their request for proposals for subjects for their future inquiries

Seasons greetings and warm wishes to you all. 

Dr Penny Fidler, CEO

This Month:


This Month's Top Stories

House of Commons Science and Technology Committee


NEW INQUIRY: Closing the STEM skills gap
ASDC would strongly suggest you all submit a written response into this new inquiry, saying what programmes you run to address the STEM skills gap. It would be great if we can have a strong weight of responses from UK science centres and others working across the science engagement sector.
Deadline: 13 January

Throughout its recent inquiries, the Science and Technology Committee has repeatedly received evidence that the UK is facing STEM skill shortages, often in key growth sectors, like big data. The Committee therefore invites written evidence on measures that organisations, businesses, schools, colleges and individuals have taken to close the STEM skills gap. These could include, but are not limited to, apprenticeships, vocational courses, mentoring, teacher placements in industry and establishing links between business and schools/colleges. Submissions should outline:
  • The STEM skills that were needed but were found to be in short supply or missing;
  • How this particular skills need has been addressed, including specific details of the measures introduced (eg whether the measures are focused on developing generic skills (such as management), sector-specific skills or raising awareness, how they have been implemented and delivered, and how many people have taken/are currently taking part)
  • The cost of the measures and how they have been funded.
  • The results of any evaluation of the measures / schemes introduced.
We would also like to hear from people who have participated in skills programmes and learn more about their experiences, both positive and negative.
The Committee welcomes written submissions on Closing the STEM skills gap by Friday 13 January 2017.
Submit written evidence via our inquiry page.

Open call for topics for scrutiny: #MyScienceInquiry

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has decided to create an open opportunity for the science community and the wider public to suggest science and technology areas for scrutiny.

Inquiry proposals will be considered on the basis of merit, and the Committee would be interested to receive proposals for work in areas that might otherwise escape its attention.

A list of inquiries that the Committee has already held in this Parliament are available on the Committee website. Proposals should outline in less than 200 words the nature of the issue that the Committee should explore, why it deserves attention, and how Government policy in this area could be developed or improved.


Get Involved with Hypatia UK

ASDC is leading The Hypatia Project in the UK: a European project across 14 countries that aims to tackle gender bias within science education.
A central vision of the project is to encourage greater partnerships between schools, science centres, policy makers, industry, STEM organisations and teenagers themselves to help encourage more 13 - 18 year olds, especially girls, to consider STEM for a future career.
The Hypatia Project has now created a toolkit of resources that represent best practice from across Europe. These activities aim to effectively engage teenagers in a gender inclusive way in order to unlock the full potential of both boys and girls.
In February, ASDC will host a national hub meeting for any science centres or outreach organisations who directly engage with teenagers and want to get involved in the adaptation and dissemination of this toolkit.  Our vision is to create a national strategy of best UK practice.
Please contact Shaaron Leverment if you are interested in attending on behalf of your organisation.


The Physiological Society Public Engagement Grants

Deadline: 14 January
Public Engagement Grants of up to £5000 are available to both Member and non-Members of The Physiological Society to promote the discussion of physiology with public audiences. 
They encourage collaborative applications, including those between expert science communicators, facilitators of public engagement, artists, musicians, thespians and their Members. 

New funding scheme for public engagement with research

In April, the Wellcome Trust announced they were pausing their public engagement funding to thoroughly review and explore the best ways for them to support public engagement activities in future. They are now sharing the outcome of this work.
They’ve created a new funding structure for public engagement. It’s designed to: 
  • be easier to navigate
  • have fewer barriers to access
  • be flexible enough to support ideas from the broadest range of people and organisations
  • enable them to work more effectively with our communities to seed ideas and drive innovation

Propose an event for the British Science Festival 2017

Deadline: 27 March

Would you like to bring cutting edge science to a wider audience at the British Science Festival?

Taking place in Brighton from 5-9 September, the Festival will be co-hosted by the Universities of Brighton and Sussex, with a focus on showcasing cutting-edge science. Thousands of people come together to celebrate the latest developments in science and to engage in open discussion about issues that affect our culture and society.

The Open Call for proposals is now open to academics, individuals and organisations. Proposals should be aimed at non-specialist adults with a broad interest in science.


Comedy science theatre show now taking bookings

What's the Matter? A physical comedy about physics is taking bookings for Spring/Summer 2017.

The Last Baguette theatre company's family friendly sci-fi adventure about the atom has been performed at science festivals, theatres and schools throughout the UK, including the British Science Festival.
An unexplained cat theft from a physics laboratory leads scientist Smithy on a journey through his own experiment into the subatomic world. Featuring scientific slapstick and a search for Schrödinger’s cat, the play is written by Tiffany Woodsmith (winner of the Sunday Times playwriting award), with science advice from Dr Helen Heath (University of Bristol)
The show is aimed at school groups Key Stage 3+ as well as adult science and comedy enthusiasts. Hands-on workshops involving fun physics experiments are available. It requires 5m x 5m flat floor space, and tours with lighting and sound equipment.


The BIG Little Event

11 January, Thinktank Birmingham

The Little Event is BIG’s one-day training session for people who are relatively new to STEM communication, whether you work in a science centre or museum, volunteer for a festival, are involved in university outreach, or do anything else to engage people with science, technology, engineering and maths.

The day is crammed with sessions focusing on developing the different skills that are useful in face-to-face STEM communication; they are delivered by experienced science communicators following BIG's usual hands-on approach.


STEM & Beyond Workshop

Friday 19th May 2017, Brunel University London

This one day workshop will develop dialogue on informal learning, focusing upon STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) subjects, SAH (social sciences, arts and humanities) subjects and relationships between the two. It recognises the ‘STEM agenda’ as a political force that has shaped ideas and practices around informal learning and science communication over the past fifteen years. The workshop will focus upon successes and challenges, providing an opportunity to critically reflect on the STEM agenda and its impacts. By taking seriously the role of science communication in the arts, humanities and social sciences, and their relationships with STEM, the workshop will address a neglected area of research and provide a platform for developing and improving informal learning practice.

The call for contributors is now open, and seeks research papers, performance pieces and reflections on experiences of existing practice or future directions in informal learning and science communication across the disciplines. The deadline is Friday 6th February.


Science in Public Conference 2017

10 - 12 July, Sheffield

Science in Public are very pleased to announce that the 11th Annual SiP Conference will be on the theme of  “Science, Technology and Humanity”.

It will be hosted by the University of Sheffield, July 10-12th, 2017.

The Call for Open Panels is now live, and the closing date is 31st January.


Hundreds of school children enjoy a fun day out for World Science Centre Day

Over 250 primary school children took part in cloud observation and water cycle science workshops for World Science Centre Day at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne.
World Science Centre Day was celebrated on 10 November in over 300 international science centres from Europe, Asia, Africa , the Middle East, as well as North and South America.
The event was a UNESCO and ASTC (international Association of Science and Technology Centres) collaboration to explore and celebrate new ways for the science community to address global issues such as poverty, inequality, and
climate change.

Read more... 

Youth Grand Challenges

The Youth Grand Challenges is a new initiative that aims to inspire young people, aged 11-to-19, to see how science and technology can be deployed to tackle global health issues. It calls on students to come up with innovative solutions that have the potential to change the world, and will reward the best projects from young people created in response. This exciting competition is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

The Youth Grand Challenges encourages young people to use their skills, passions and interests to develop creative solutions to contemporary issues aligned with the BMGF Global Grand Challenges – unsolved scientific challenges that could lead to significant advances in terms of preventing, treating and curing diseases across the developing world.


Explorers Fair Nottingham

9 - 11 February

Explorers Fair is Broadway’s three day celebration of arts, play, science and technology.
Part of Nottingham’s Festival of Science and Curiosity, the fair is a world for young creative explorers, families and educators to:
  • Discover exciting New Creative Tech.
  • Meet Inspiring Artists and Inventors.
  • Make and learn together with Playful Projects.
  • Get hands on with Awesome Experiments.
Taking place on the 9-11 February, Explorers Fair aims to reach ‘Creative Explorers’ aged 7 - 13 plus their teachers and families with the aim to stimulate curiosity and engage in the exciting world of STEM. 


Could you be an astronaut?

Deadline: 7 January

A brand new BBC Two series is looking for 12 men and women, from all over the UK, to take on the challenges involved in authentic astronaut training.

Have you ever dreamed of taking a spacewalk? Are you physically able and mentally capable and think you’re made of the right stuff? Over four intense weeks, 12 men and women from all over the UK will take on the challenges involved in astronaut training. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find out if you’ve got what it takes to become an astronaut. At stake: the honour of knowing that you could take on the toughest job in the universe.


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

The Physiological Society Public Engagement Grants

Deadline: 14 January

The BIG Little Event

11 January, Birmingham

Science in Public Conference 2017

10 - 12 July, Sheffield

British Science Festival 

5 - 9 September, Brighton

Outreach Ogden Science Officer

Northumbria University Newcastle
Deadline: 19 December
Read More... 

Communications Assistant

The Institute of Cancer Research, London
Deadline: 19 December
Read More... 

Media and Communications Officer

The Francis Crick Institute
Deadline: 2 January
Read More... 

Research Assistant – 6-month Internship

Raspberry Pi, Cambridge
Deadline: 3 January
Read More... 

Project Manager – Education and Learning

Wellcome Trust
Deadline: 3 January
Read More... 

Education Assistant

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum
Deadline: 3 January
Read More... 

Project Manager in patient and public involvement in research

University of Manchester
Deadline: 6 January
Read More... 

Communications Manager

British Pharmacological Society
Deadline: 6 January
Read More... 

Programmes Assistant

Bristol Natural History Consortium
Deadline: 8 January
Read More... 

Communications Officer

Imperial College London - Department of Chemical Engineering
Deadline: 8 January
Read More... 

Public Engagement Manager

The Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge 
Deadline: 8 January
Read More... 

Science Policy Officer

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