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

Thanks for coming to the 2015 ASDC Education Conference!

Many thanks to everyone who came to the Education Conference at MOSI on 25th February. It was a fantastic day, attended by over 70 delegates from 45 organisations across the UK. Photos from the day are now available on the ASDC website.

See the photos...

National Celebrations for the UK's first Astronaut

On Friday November 20th 2015 Tim Peake will launch into space as the European Space Agency’s first professional British astronaut. He will be spending 6 months on board the International Space Station, before returning to earth in May 2016.
To celebrate this exciting mission with families across the nation, the UK Space Agency has joined forces with The UK Association for Science and Discovery to create a National Astronaut programme. We invited Science and Discovery Centres and Science Museums across the UK to take part, and we thank you for your applications which arrived for the 10 March deadline. The Selection Panel will convene at the UK Space Agency on Monday March 16 and we will notify successful science centres in the following week. Programme details are here
This is a hugely exciting national programme to engage, inspire and involve UK families and school age children with the amazing stories, science and innovative ideas of human space flight and the achievements of Tim Peake. The selected centres will be given an Astronaut show for families, special equipment, access to great footage from Space, activities and more. We also hope to announce additional funding to enable science centres to run a full Schools and Communities Astronaut Programme, and will share full details with UK Science and Discovery Centres once this has been finalised.

Are you ready for the Solar Eclipse?

At 9.29am on Friday March 20th 2015 the UK's skies will darken as the Sun becomes partially eclipsed when the Moon blocks between 80 to 90% of the Suns light.

The eclipse will begin around 8.15 am and end around 10.40am with maximum eclipse around 9.29am depending on location. A total solar eclipse will occur in the Northern reaches of Europe and the Arctic. The longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 47 seconds near the Faroe Islands. This will be the last total eclipse to occur in Europe for a decade, with the next due on August 12th 2026.

Principia Grant Scheme

Deadline: 27 March

The UK Space Agency is making up to £100K available to organisations that are seeking to run schemes that support the education and outreach opportunities presented by British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Between 2 and 10 proposals are expected to be funded and applications are now welcome. The scheme is open to both organisations and individuals who meet the eligibility criteria.


Public Engagement Innovation Grant Scheme

Deadline: 8 June

The Public Engagement Innovation Grant Scheme was introduced in 2013 by the Royal College of Pathologists, as a result of feedback from Fellows, to give financial support for 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.


Society for Endocrinology Public Engagement Grants

These grants have been developed to help Society members and public engagement professionals (non-members) organise and deliver outreach activities, aimed at school children and/or the general public, to communicate the science of endocrinology.

The grants will provide up to £2,000 of funding and will be awarded throughout the year. 


British Science Festival open call for proposals

Deadline: 23 March

This year, the British Science Festival is taking place in Bradford between 7-10 September. Academics, individuals and organisations who are interested in bringing cutting edge science to a national audience this year are invited to submit a proposal.

The British Science Festival’s aim is to bring cutting-edge British science to the fore and celebrate the importance of science in our culture and society. The programme aims to focus on research presented through a series of lectures, debates and discussions. By working with more than 250 of the UK’s leading researchers across the UK to showcase their ideas, innovations and passions, the British Science Festival aims to re-energise and engage with new and existing audiences.

The British Science Association sets no restrictions on its call for proposals; anyone can suggest content for an event – staff and organisations from Universities, individuals, freelancers, organisations or academic institutions from all over the UK.




Call for Proposals: science stalls for Einstein's Garden

Deadline: 31 March

Einstein’s Garden is the area of Green Man Festival ( that hosts a fusion of science, art and nature. We have a diverse programme of performances, workshops and installations that use creativity, play and participation to engage people with science and research in unexpected ways. 

We are looking for organisations that would like to bring a stall to Einstein’s Garden with the aim of engaging festival audiences with science. Stalls can explore fundamental scientific ideas or phenomena, the process of science or current scientific research. It is essential that stalls include as much interactivity and participation as possible for festival goers and that they embody the creative and playful spirit of Einstein’s Garden.

Read more and apply...

Wanted: biodiversity learning materials

Deadline: End of March

Ecsite has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and BGCI, Botanic Gardens Conservation International. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was designed to allow the associations to conduct a joint campaign, and following discussions, they have decided to concentrate the campaign on the theme of local biodiversity.  

For the campaign, they aim to produce a unified set of educational materials that will inform the public on these three points and encourage them to take part – and for this they need your help! If your institution already has learning materials which would help raise awareness of the biodiversity in your country or region, help people plan and manage a space for local biodiversity, and measure that biodiversity, they'd be very grateful if you could send them directly to EAZA’s Communications Manager David Williams-Mitchell at

An out of this world competition!

Deadline: 3 April 

Send your students’ computer code into space with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake

Ever wondered what it would be like to be involved in space exploration? To look for cosmic rays or to make a video flyover of our green planet at nearly 16,000 mph? Well, now you have the chance!

A team of leading UK Space companies have joined forces with British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake to offer students the chance to devise and code their own app or experiment to run on a Raspberry Pi which will be taken to the International Space Station as part of Tim's mission.


Early Bird Registration for the BIG Event

Deadline: 5 April

Registration is now open for the BIG Event, Wed 22 - Fri 24 July 2015 at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. Early Bird discount is available until 5 April 2015

The BIG Event is a three-day conference offering an unmissable opportunity to squeeze the skills and ideas out of all the STEM engagement people you can in a short space of time.



Online Science Communication Course

Deadline: 10 April

Science communication: people, projects, events is a short online course run by the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England. It has been created to offer professional development for people new to science communication who want to develop their skills and knowledge in science communication practice. This course is run entirely online and is designed to be accessible to participants from around the world.

The course draws on the expertise of the team that delivers UWE's popular and practical Science Communication postgraduate programmes.

The ten-week course will run from 20 April 2015 until 5 July 2015. Each weekly ‘unit’ will have opportunities for independent and directed learning, including online lectures, group activities and self-assessment opportunities. In addition, there will be five online tutorials involving Science Communication Unit staff.


Young people needed to judge Royal Society book prize

Deadline: 27 April

The Royal Society are inviting groups of under-14s to join their collection of Judging Panels across the UK. These groups will pick the winner of the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2015If you have a science club or would like to form a panel for the Prize then they would love to hear from you.

75 Judging Panels will receive a free set of shortlisted books, so this is a great opportunity to receive six brilliant books aimed at enthusing and exciting children about science.



Election 2015 - Engaging with Parliamentary Candidates 

Ahead of the Election, CaSE has been inviting Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to write for CaSE on why science and engineering is important to the UK and how they would support this as a Member of Parliament.

So far they've received over 100 responses from candidates and will be publishing their comments regularly in the run-up to May 7th. To keep up-to-date on with these articles you can subscribe to the CaSE newsletter here.

Teacher Training Collaboration

The Royal Observatory Greenwich have been running teacher training sessions for primary and secondary teachers for a number of years now and have developed a strong local audience. They are now looking to broaden their reach and would like to deliver some sessions throughout the country as well as just locally. To do this they would love to work with other centres in the ASDC network. All they need are host centres that would like to give this a whirl with them. The centres must be able to provide space to run the sessions and promote them with local teachers.

If you are interested or have any questions, please get in touch with Liz Roche - Senior Manager, Astronomy Education at


NCCPE Public Engagement Academy

Are you working to enhance the quality, visibility and impact of public engagement with research? Are you responsible for developing a strategic approach to engagement with research for your department, research organisation or university? Would you like to work with others to develop your skills in this role?

If so the NCCPE’s Public Engagement Academy could be for you. The Academy provides a space for professional development for those working to embed high quality engagement with research in their institution, to encourage them to develop their practice, confidence and skills.


Free Resources from the Society of Biology

The Society of Biology has produced free teaching resources to engage children with the eminent and sometimes unsung heroes of biology. 

A poster and teaching notes have been produced for lessons with 7-11 years olds, and the website can be used in both primary and secondary school science lessons. There is also a free app available.



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

Regional Grant Scheme for Scotland

Deadline: 16 March

The Biochemical Society - Scientific Outreach Grants

Deadline: 29 April

Communicate 2015

10 - 11 November, Bristol

Science & You Conference 2015

2 - 5 June, France

ASDC Members' Meal at Ecsite 2015

10 June, Trento, Italy

2015 Ecsite Annual Conference

11 - 13 June, Trento, Italy

Science in Public Conference 2015

9 - 10 July, Bristol

The Big Event 2015

22 - 24 July, Norwich

ASDC National Conference 2015

24 September 2015, At-Bristol

Communications and Administration Manager, Einstein's Garden

Green Man Festival
Deadline: 15 March

Education and Outreach Officer 

Harcourt Arboretum 
Deadline: 16 March

Communications Officer, Science and Engineering Education Team

Gatsby Foundation
Deadline: 16 March

Visitor Services Assistants

At-Bristol Science Centre
Deadline: 18 March

Project Manager

Deadline: 18 March


The Centre for Life
Deadline:19 March

RCUK Head of Public Engagement

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Deadline: 22 March

On The Road Administrator

Cambridge Science Centre
Deadline: 23 March

Project Officer, Public Engagement

University of Aberdeen
Deadline: 23 March

Senior Facilitator and Coordinator - Public Engagement

University of Oxford
Deadline: 23 March

STEM Development Manager

Museum of Science and Industry
Deadline: 29 March

Programme Manager, Science and Engineering Education Team

Gatsby Foundation
Deadline: 30 March

Event Support Staff

At-Bristol Science Centre
Deadline: 31 March
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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