Latest news and upcoming events from across the network
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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.

This Month:


This Month's Top Stories

ASDC National Conference 2014: Thanks!

We would like to pass on a huge thank you to all the speakers, delegates, and sponsors, who made ASDC2014 a great conference.

You can read some of the tweets from the day via Storify.

At the conference we also announced that ASDC2015 will be taking place on September 24 2015 in At-Bristol, so save the date!

Photos from the day and presentations will be on our website shortly.


Your Life Campaign: your pledges, and new resources

Over 190 organisations have now made pledges to the Your Life campaign - which aims to inspire young people to study maths and physics as a gateway to exciting and wide-ranging careers. The list of signatories continues to grow. For those who have supported the Call to Action since the launch, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) looking to bring together examples of the great work organisations are doing to put their pledges into action. Examples can be sent to Chris Shipley
Resources and research on the Your Life website
One of the aims of the Call to Action was to support signatories in sharing research and resources. If you haven’t yet had a chance to register for the discussion forum, head over to the updated Your Life website to sign up and look at the documents uploaded by other signatories to date. 

The International Year of Light in the UK

2015 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Light, celebrating all the applications of light science and technology which are vital for existing and future advances in medicine, energy, information and communications, fibre optics, agriculture, mining, astronomy, architecture, archaeology, entertainment, art and culture.

2015 was chosen for the Year of Light because it marks a number of significant scientific anniversaries, from the early works on optics by Islamic scholar Ibn Al-Haytham in 1015 to Kao’s achievements on the transmission of light in fibres for optical communications in 1965.

The Year has a number of important objectives:

  • To promote light technologies for improved quality of life in the developed and developing world;
  • To reduce light pollution and energy waste;
  • To promote women’s empowerment in science;
  • To promote education amongst young people;
  • To promote sustainable development, in particular through the “Study after Sunset” programme to increase the availability of solar lighting in the developing world.

Events and activities will be held around the UK throughout 2015. Over 40 UK institutions are already working together to co-ordinate plans and develop resources. The Duke of York is supporting the Year in the UK as its Patron.
It is hoped as many people as possible will join in celebrating the International Year of Light in the UK by supporting events and organising their own activities.  Find out more by visiting, and keep a lookout for more news on events across the UK during 2015. 

Ecsite Space Group comes to London

7 November, Royal Observatory Greenwich
The Ecsite thematic group for Space, which counts over a hundred members within its ranks from across Europe, will be meeting at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, London on November 7 for the annual meeting. The meeting will be a chance to shape the group's activities for 2015/16. Previous campaigns have included 'Hook-up with Rosetta'. 

The Ecsite Space Group aims at improving and extending communication about Space by helping specialised Science Centres and Space professionals to work together with non-specialists and develop collaborative projects and events.

If you would like to attend, please contact 
Audrey Korczynska.

Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund

Deadline 31 October
Through this fund, the Royal Society of Chemistry aim to support the development of projects that raise awareness of chemistry in people’s everyday lives, and/ or develop the science communication skills of those who are already highly trained in chemistry. Members or anyone else organising such activities are invited to apply for financial support.
There are three categories of support available: small grants up to £2,000; medium grants between £2,000 and £10,000 and large grants of between £10,000 - £50,000.

To find out more and to apply please visit the link below.


Funding to support British Science Week Events

Deadline 14 November
For British Science Week 2015 (formerly National Science and Engineering Week), The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), through the British Science Association, are providing funds for a number of schools in challenging circumstances to organise their own science and engineering events as part of the Week.

BIS aims to stimulate and support scientists, engineers, science communicators and the general public to produce the largest range of self-sustaining events across the UK, in order to engage as many people as possible with science, engineering, technology, maths and their implications. 

The British Science Association has also revamped the Kick Start Grant and have increased the amount you can apply for in two ways. 
1. School activity grant: A grant of up to £300 for your school to run an activity during BSW.
2. ‘Our school community’ grant: A grant of up to £700 for your school to host a science event or activity which involves your students and the local community. 

The community can comprise of families/carers, members of local community groups, local businesses and local press.

The type of activity you run is up to you and depends on your own priorities and the resources at your disposal. 


Training for scientists: Invitation to Tender

The Royal Society are currently seeking proposals to offer 'media skills training and writing about your research' training for scientists.

The Royal Society currently offers communication skills training and media skills training courses to our funded researchers and the wider scientific research community. They have evaluated this current offering, and as a result the Society is inviting proposals for two training courses for
scientists: media skills training and writing about your research.
Organisations are invited to participate in the tender process for one or both courses, as outlined in the instructions for tendering available from the link below.

The closing date is 6pm on Wednesday 8 October 2014.


Opportunities to apply for Bristol Green Capital 2015 funding

Various deadlines
Bristol 2015 Ltd, the organisation set up to facilitate Bristol’s year as European GreenCapital, has a call for three strands of funding: Strategic Grants; Small Grants; Neighbourhood Partnerships.

The Strategic Grants Fund will provide grants of between £25,000 and £50,000 and has ‘an intention to bid’ deadline of 10 October.

If you are interested in making an application please contact Fiona Hyland at the Centre for Public Engagement at Bristol University.


Kids in Museums: Sign up now for Takeover Days in England and Wales

Kids in Museums is inviting institutions to sign up for Takeover Day on November 21st 2014, when children and teenagers can run everything from tours to twitter feeds for institutions.  Last year 115 museums and galleries were involved, and over 3,000 young people. 


Call for workshop proposals

The Francis Crick Institute will be a world leading centre for biomedical research. Due to open in the King's Cross area of London in 2015, the Crick is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, University College London (UCL), King's College London and Imperial College London.
In the run-up to the festive season, the Crick's Communications and Engagement team is looking to deliver a programme of engaging and creative workshops with schools and community groups. It is envisaged that the project will bring the community together and allow people to explore science in a fun and accessible way, drawing links between creativity, art and science.
We invite proposals from companies or individuals to develop and deliver an arts-based workshop that can be delivered to local community and primary school groups. Participants should be able to create tangible objects, which can be taken home or incorporated into a collaborative piece for display. 
For further information, including how to submit a proposal, please follow the link below.


Sciencewise: Call for new projects

Are you considering public dialogue as an evidence strand for input to policy? Perhaps Sciencewise can help. Sciencewise is currently looking to identify public dialogue opportunities, which could benefit from Sciencewise financial support in the 2015/2016 financial year.

More and more policy makers are considering public dialogue as an input to policy. Often this is an aspect of open policy making. Sciencewise can provide assistance in a number of ways, including:
  • One-to-one advice on public dialogue 
  • Mentoring and training to individuals and/or teams to help raise understanding and appreciation of the value and the opportunities for dialogue
  • Financial support of up to 50% of the cost of the dialogue project. Increasingly, policy makers are interested in digital as well as face-to-face engagement and both can be supported by Sciencewise
  • When funding is provided, Sciencewise also provides support to policy makers in commissioning and managing the project.
Please note, all Sciencewise-funded projects should be in line with the Government’s Approach to Public Dialogue on Science and Technology (Guiding Principles). These set out how good quality dialogue should be done, and what and who it should involve. To apply for support, please contact James Tweed.

ScienceWise have also published their latest report, 'The best of Sciencewise reflections on public dialogue'.

Host an In-flight call (IFC) event with an astronaut

ESA (European Space Agency) Education has opened a call for venues to host two In-flight call (IFC) events with ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti in April 2015. The two events target children aged 8-12 years old and biology students aged 12-14 years old, and involve two different educational activities - the "Mission X: Train like an astronaut" project 2015 and the The "Food for Spirulina" experiment, respectively.

Deadline for applications 16 October.



New £2m plan for National Media Museum Emphasises Science

The National Media Museum in Bradford has secured substantial funding from both the Science Museum Group and Bradford Council, securing the future for the museum.

The plans include moving premises, and creating an interactive gallery on the science of light and sound, to sit alongside the museum's long-established commitment to the artistic and cultural aspects of the still and moving image.

Museum Director, Jo Quinton Tulloch said: “The investments announced today are a significant milestone in the strategic ambitions of this Museum: they will help us to be fully engaged with our local audiences with strong educational offers that meet the needs for schools and communities in Bradford and the region; they will help us to drive up our attendances, and increase our profile nationally and internationally; crucially, they also contribute to a sustainable financial future for the Museum here in Bradford.”


New Maths Gallery Coming to the Science Museum

A £5 million donation from philanthropists David and Claudio Harding is supporting the development of a new maths gallery at the Science Museum. Zaha Hadid Architects have been chosen by the Science Museum to design a pioneering new mathematics gallery, made possible by the largest individual donation ever made to the museum.

Ian Blatchford, director of the museum said, “with this gallery we want to evoke the kind of excitement around mathematics as our Collider exhibition has done around particle physics."

The permanent gallery will tell stories that place mathematics at the heart of our lives, exploring how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the world from the turn of the 17th century to the present.


World Space Week

4-10 October, annually

World Space Week is an annual celebration of all things space, designated by the UN. This year's theme is on 'Guiding Your Way', all about Global Navigation Satellite systems.

If you are running an event be sure to add it to the events calendar via the link below.


Science centres and museums are joining forces with zoos, aquaria and botanical gardens

On 10 September Ecsite signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BCGI). They are joining forces to engage audiences with biodiversity conservation. Together, the zoos, aquaria, botanic gardens, science centres and museums (etc.) members of these three organizations receive more than 240 million visitors a year. They are uniquely placed to deliver a large public education and engagement campaign in Europe, raising awareness about local biodiversity. We are hoping to launch it in September 2015.



Watch and learn: how visitors interact with digital in museums

Detailed research has been carried out at the V&A and Natural History Museum into how visitors react to digital interactives and how this conforms or differs from intended use. Cameras attached to visitors' bodies allowed researchers to pick up non-verbal cues in detail.  The academics Theano Moussouri, Eleni Vomvyla, Sara Price and Carey Jewitt have allowed the V&A to blog some of their main findings ahead of journal publication later in the year.  These include:
  • The surrounding physical space affects how people respond to digital, with visitors describing the Natural History Museum’s curved Cocoon space as modern and inspiring adventure.
  • There is a ‘commitment cost’ to engaging with digital – for example if an iPad-like device in a gallery does not respond as you would expect from an iPad, then the learning curve is steeper and it becomes easier to give up.
  • People pick up non-verbal cues from each other about how to make technology work.  It may be easier to teach people through staff interacting with digital displays, rather than written instructions on the walls.
  • The study also discusses how to elicit information from people without getting an inaccurate answer because they have guessed what researchers want to hear.

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

World Space Week

4-10 October

Nobel Prize Annoucements

6-13 October

Call for Proposals - 2015 Ecsite Annual Conference

14 October

Ada Lovelace Day

14 October

Space For All - community funding scheme

9am 20 October 2014

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) public engagement large awards 

Deadline 6 November

Wellcome Trust Art Awards

Deadline 28 November

Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference

18-21 October, Raleigh, North Carolina (United States)

Widening Participation in Higher Education Conference

28 October, University of Salford

Interpreting the Information Age: New Avenues or Research and Display Conference

3-5 November, Science Museum, London

Communicate 2014: Changing Stories

4-5 November, At-Bristol, Bristol

Ecsite Director's Forum

12-14 November, Science Centre AHHAA, Tartu, Estonia

Women in Science and Engineering Awards 2014

13 November, South Bank Centre and Grange Hotel Tower Bridge, London

Association for Science Education Annual Conference 2015

7-10 January 2015, University of Reading
The Association for Science Education Annual Conference 2015

Exceptional ideas and resources for science teaching at the flagship, four-day conference from ASE. Over 300 sessions dedicated to science education across all subject areas and phases, offering hands-on activities for the classroom and inspiring talks from the forefront of scientific research. Whatever stage you are at in your career, be inspired by world-class ideas for your professional development, with practical learning, sharing best practice and take-home resources. Certified CPD. Book now through the link below.



Techniquest Glyndŵr
Deadline: On-going

Learning and Access Manager 

Centre of the Cell - Blizard Institute
Deadline: 5 October

PA to Deputy Director

Science Museum
Deadline: 5 October

Senior Policy Adviser (education)

Royal Society
Deadline: 5 October

Learning and Access Manager 

Birmingham Museums
Deadline: 7 October

Communications Officer

Deadline: 8 October

Marketing Coordinator

Deadline: 8 October

Volunteering Manager 

Horniman Museum and Gardens
Deadline: 13 October

Clothworkers’ Associate in Mathematics

Royal Institution
Deadline: 13 October

School Events Performer

Maths Busking
Deadline: 13 October

Exhibition Project Coordinator 

National Museums Scotland
Deadline: 14 October

Policy Manager - Public Engagement with Research

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Deadline: 14 October

R&D Communications Officer

University Hospital Southampton
Deadline: 14 October

Keeper of Medicine

Science Museum
Deadline: 17 October


W5 at Odyssey
Deadline: 17 October

Senior Communications Officer (Development Programme)

The Pirbright Institute
Deadline: 19 October

Research Liaison Officer

Arthritis Research UK
Deadline: 23 October

Public Engagement Officer

Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford
Deadline: 31 October
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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