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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 August newsletter.

ASDC are wishing all our science centres and museums a happy and busy summer holidays, bringing great hands-on science to hundreds of thousands of families across the UK.

In July I was delighted to have been invited to Number 10 by the Prime Minister to welcome home Tim Peake and for our role in Destination Space. Teresa May, who had been in post just 3 days, gave a great speech about inspiring young people with STEM and Tim Peake said how impressed he has been by all the great work of the science centres.
We have also been pleased to see the Science and Technology Select Committee taking such a lively interest in how the public engages with science across the UK, and I shall be giving evidence to the Select Committee in early September for their inquiry into science communication. More details on both are below.
We are also delighted that the ASDC bid for capital funding for UK science centres, 'Inspiring Science' has now been launched and is open for applications. The Fund is managed by the Wellcome Trust, who put in  £10 million, accompanied by £20 million from BEIS (formerly BIS). Workshops were held by the Wellcome Trust in July and August where science centres were able to find out the details. This capital investment from Government and Wellcome marks a major step forward for the sector to inspire young people and families with STEM.
We hope you enjoy this science engagement-filled newsletter and look forward to seeing colleagues at the 2016 National Conference in September at the Royal Society in London

Dr Penny Fidler, CEO

This Month:


This Month's Top Stories

The 2016 ASDC National Conference

Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th of September 2016
We are delighted to announce that registration for The 2016 ASDC National Conference is now open. This year's conference will take place on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th of September in the wonderful Royal Society, London.
This lively national conference will bring together professionals from the UK's leading Science and Discovery Centres, Science Museums, Natural History and Environmental organisations as well as Public Engagement organisations and science-based visitor attractions.

Register now!

Welcoming Tim Peake back to earth, at Number 10

On July 18th, I was delighted to have been invited to Number 10 by the Prime Minister to welcome home Tim Peake and for our role in Destination Space. It was a week of great Parliamentary change. When I opened my invitation from The Prime Minister, on July 11th, I assumed it to be David Cameron, but by that afternoon all had changed, and it was clear the UK would have a new PM in 2 days and it would be Teresa May hosting us.
This happy event celebrated Tim's mission and welcomed him home. It was attended by his family, the UK Space Agency team and many of us who have the privilege of working with him and the UK Space Agency to highlight his mission. I would like to pass on to all science centres who are part of the ASDC National Destination Space Programme, that Tim personally thanked you all for all your great work inspiring children and adults with STEM and celebrating his space mission. He was delighted the programme has now reached over 491,000 people who have taken part in Destination Space schools workshops, space activities and family shows at 20 science centres across the UK, and is one of the flagship programmes of his mission. Congratulations to you all!

The £30 million 'Inspiring Science Fund' for UK Science Centres

ASDC and the science centres are delighted that the ASDC bid for capital funding for UK science centres 'Inspiring Science' has now been launched and is open for applications. The scheme is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS, formerly BIS) and the Wellcome Trust, and managed by the Wellcome Trust.
The 'Inspiring Science Fund' is a capital fund that will support science centres across the UK. It is open to existing not-for-profit or charitable science centres in the UK that have been in existence for at least one year, attract a minimum of 30,000 visitors a year, and have a proven and viable business model. This exciting capital investment will support projects from £150,000 to £3 million that:
  • Create opportunities for young people and the public to learn about, and engage with, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
  • Sustain and extend the centre's audience base, with an increased focus on underrepresented and underserved audiences
  • Improve the organisation’s financial sustainability and resilience
All the details and who to contact if you have any questions are here: Inspiring Science Fund.

The deadline for Preliminary Applications in Round 1 is 14 October 2016, with full applications in February and Interviews June 2017.There will of course be more on this at the The 2016 ASDC National Conference in September, with speakers from BEIS and the Wellcome Trust.

The Select Committee inquiry into Science Communication

Dr Penny Fidler, CEO of ASDC, has been invited to give evidence to the next session of The Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into UK Science Communication. This session will be on September 7th 2016 and is open to the public, and will likely be on Parliament TV.
The ASDC written submission can be found on the Parliamentary website here. All your submissions can be found here.

If you have not yet sent your submission, please contact the committee. The Science Centres and museums across the UK are the major science communication and engagement providers in the UK so please do share what you do.


Ecsite 2016 and 2017

It was a great pleasure to see many ASDC members and colleagues at The 2016 Ecsite Conference in Graz, Austria, in June. Thank you to the 50 or so colleagues who joined the ASDC Dinner in Graz.

Next year the conference will be in Portugal in Porto, one of the most unique, ancient and vibrant historical cities in Europe. The ASDC dinner will be on Wednesday 14 June 2017 with the Conference on 15-17 June 2017. The call for session proposal is open now, and closes October 16th.


The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) is a network of more than 60 organisations in the UK who engage over 20 million people each year with the wonders of science. Together we strive for a society where people of all ages and backgrounds have an opportunity to enjoy and explore science, and feel a sense of shared ownership over its direction. 
Collaboration with like-minded bodies and individuals is essential to our work, and our research, academic, collegial and funding partnerships extend not only throughout the UK and European Union but around the globe. Although the vote to leave the EU was surprising and disappointing on many levels, we remain committed to working with our UK membership, European partners and the international community to fulfil our shared vision of a society where people are intrigued, inspired and involved with the sciences. 
As your association, we will provide a voice for science engagement in the negotiations which will lead up to our exit from the EU, and we encourage you to let us know if you have any specific concerns or issues you would like put forward.



ASDC are delighted to be the UK partners for CIMULACT, a European-wide project to shape the future of European research. This citizen participation project is funded by Horizon 2020 and has already engaged over 1000 citizens across 30 European countries. Citizens have given their ideas and opinions on scientific research areas and the results will be sent to the European Commission to form topics for future research and innovation.

ASDC, along with colleagues from the Danish Board of Technology and The Technology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences took a CIMULACT exhibition stand to the EuroScience Open Forum 2016 in Manchester. The CIMULACT stand challenged delegates to answer the question: “what can we gain from asking citizens where research funding should be allocated?”. The majority of responses were very positive, with most delegates seeing the value that citizen participation can add to research and innovation.

Read more…

The Crunch in action

Science centres across the ASDC network have been busy delivering activities as part of The Crunch over the summer months.

Among the many highlights so far, our delivery teams have engaged with under-represented audiences at large agricultural and rural events such as The Royal Cornwall Show and The Balmoral Show in Lisburn, as well as dozens of other fairs, festivals and community events. Science centres have also been delivering activities in-house as part of summer holiday programmes across our network.

The delivery team at ThinkTank, Birmingham Science Museum also had some food-themed endorsement from Howard Middleton (Great British Bake Off) and Tom Kerridge (winner of two Michelin stars) at their recent outreach activities at CarFestNorth.

The Crunch is ongoing throughout the rest of summer, and right up until October half term, so please look out for events happening near you on the website! You can also play Hungry City, our fantastic game developed with Aardman Animations, which has also formed an extensive part of The Crunch delivery programme. Join Ethi and Cal on an epic quest to save the citizens of Hungry City from Lord of the Fries, by feeding them healthy, delicious and future food!

Festival season for Destination Space

Tim Peake may be back on terra firma, but Destination Space continues to expand the reach of the programme, delivering activities at Farnborough International Airshow and the Bluedot Festival at Jodrell bank discovery centre.  Both events saw 1000’s of adults and children launching rockets, controlling robot arms and learning about life on board the International Space station and Tim Peake’s mission.

Together with members of staff from the National Space Centre, ASDC and the UK Space Agency, Destination Space inspired many minds both young and old with the fascinating world of human space flight and the achievements of British ESA astronaut Tim Peake and the space scientists that made his mission possible.  Destination Space has now reached over 490,000 people since its launch last October.


International Science Centre and Science Museum Day

Great news! Thursday 10 November 2016 marks the first ever International Science Centre and Science Museum Day, backed by UNESCO. If you’ve not yet planned your activities, now’s the time!
Science centres around the world are celebrating, and this inaugural global day offers us a unique opportunity to put our work in the UK spotlight.
Please can you all have a think about what we can do collectively that can be covered by our media partners and national news (some have long lead times). Perhaps something from one of the ASDC national strategic programmes, such as Destination Space, that we can all do simultaneously and collectively? The aim is also to celebrate what we all do towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
For starters, make sure you have a press release ready celebrating what your organisation does and how many people you engage with science. 


British Ecological Society Outreach Grants

Deadline: 16 September

The British Ecological Society offers outreach grants for projects that promote ecological science to a wide audience. They support projects that increase public understanding of, and engagement with, ecology, stimulate discussion about ecology and its implications for society, inspire and enthuse people of all ages about the science of ecology, and develop skills in communicating the science of ecology


Biochemical Society Scientific Outreach Grants

Deadline: 23 September

The Biochemical Society wishes to support scientific outreach activities that communicate the excitement of molecular bioscience to young people and the community.

Applications are invited for sums up to £1000 to assist with the direct costs associated with an event and expenses incurred (e.g. transport and/or teacher cover).


Ingenious Public Engagement Awards

Deadline: 17 October
Ingenious has funded over 189 projects to date, providing opportunities for over 2,000 engineers to take part in public engagement activities, to gain skills in communication and to bring engineering to the very centre of society.
The Ingenious awards programme aims to inspire creative public engagement with engineering, stimulate engineers to share their stories, passion and expertise in innovative ways with wider audiences, develop engineers’ communication and engagement skills, and create debate between engineers and people of all ages to raise awareness of the diversity, nature and impact of engineering


OurFuture.Energy is an exciting new web resource to drive STEM engagement for 11-16 year olds, particularly within the energy sector.

Developed by Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) for an industry wide team and BIS, it has relevance for young people, students and educators across the UK. GSC would appreciate your feedback on the resource, as well as request that ASDC members, with their reach into education communities across the UK, help to publicise the site in support of their own STEM engagement initiatives.

To discuss providing content or further engagement contact Gemma Berry.

Engage 2016: Expression Of Interest


Deadline: 13 September

The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement is currently inviting contributions to Engage 2016. They are looking for workshops, interactive experiences, dialogue events, performances, and conversations that catalyse new ways of thinking.

Contributions must contribute to one or more of the following: Culture change: creating a culture where engagement is valued and supported; Effective practice: sharing insights into high quality engagement practice; Engaged research: creating impactful research; Engaged students: the role of engagement within teaching and learning; New ideas: taking our thinking forward about the role of engagement within higher education.


Biology Week 2016

8 - 16 October 

The Royal Society of Biology would like to invite organisations to take part in this year's Biology Week. You don’t have to be a member of the Royal Society of Biology to organise events; they welcome the support of scientists, outreach professionals or anyone who has a passion for biology.


The 2017 Summer Science Exhibition

Each year over 10,000 members of the public and 2,000 school students visit the Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society. Many more are reached through coverage on TV, in the media and online.

The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to raise the profile of your institution with key influencers, including potential funders, government and the public.

The exhibition will take place next year from 3 - 9 July. The call for proposals for next year's exhibition is now open, and closes 26 September 2016.


Play your part in The Big Bang Fair 2017

The Big Bang Fair is calling for companies, activity providers, education institutions and show organisers to play their part in next year’s Fair, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 15-18 March 2017.
Celebrating its ninth year in 2017, The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair brings together the STEM community in a collective effort to inspire over 70,000 young people, their teachers and parents across four days each March.


Culture Shock

17 November, London

Culture Shock is for professionals looking to be inspired, challenged and provoked about how they engage with different audiences and approach interdisciplinary partnerships.

This new event explores the interface between science and other areas of our culture, and how they can work together. The one-day event will be a series of thought-provoking talks and interviews to explore the emotional journey taken by people, who immerse themselves in another world, following the four stages of culture shock - honeymoon, anxiety, adjustment and assimilation.

For their first event, the British Science Association and Fun Palaces are partnering to bring together scientific and arts audiences, to look at how we can create a new culture.


Superbugs Mobile Game Launched

The Longitude Prize is challenging innovators of all ages to develop a novel, rapid, affordable and easy-to-use diagnostic tool to be used anywhere in the world, and reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics. The winning test could tell us whether we need antibiotics, or could also go further to tell us which antibiotics we should or shouldn’t use. 

Superbugs is an app-based game, aimed at 11 to 16 year olds, which encourages them to fight superbugs, using existing and new antibiotics. An easy-to-play and fun game, players play to survive for as long as they can against the most virulent strains of superbugs. 


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

British Ecological Society Outreach Grants

Deadline: 16 September 

Biochemical Society Scientific Outreach Grants

Deadline: 23 September 

Ingenious: Public Engagement Awards

Deadline: 17 October

British Science Festival

6 - 9 September, Swansea

The 2016 ASDC National Conference

27 - 28 September, London

Communicate 2016

2 - 3 November, Bristol

WISE Conference 2016

10 November, London

Engage 2016

29 - 30 November, Bristol

Science Community Co-ordinator

Natural History Museum
Deadline: 19 August
Read More... 

Science Educator (full time)

Natural History Museum
Deadline: 19 August
Read More... 

Science Educator (part time)

Natural History Museum
Deadline: 19 August
Read More... 

Science Educators (weekends)

Natural History Museum
Deadline: 19 August
Read More... 

Engagement Coordinator

Genomics England
Deadline: 19 August
Read More... 

Director of Strategy and Operations

British Science Association
Deadline: 22 August
Read More... 

Outreach Communicator

Cambridge Science Centre
Deadline: 26 August
Read More... 

Outreach Officer

Institute of Physics
Deadline: 30 August
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Christmas Lectures Assistant

Royal Institution
Deadline: 30 August
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Public Engagement Officers, Astronomy

Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Deadline: 4 September
Read More... 

Research Events Officer

Imperial College London
Deadline: 5 September
Read More... 

Partnership Communications Manager

Medical Research Council
Deadline: 5 September
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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