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.

A very warm welcome to our April 2017 newsletter.

A very warm welcome to the April newsletter, and a happy Easter to you all.

In our latest news, we are delighted that Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh will play host to our 2017 National Conference, on September 19th and 20th this year. We look forward to a vibrant day of great speakers and discussions and to seeing many of you there.

The Select Committee has recently published their latest report, focusing on science communication across the UK which I gave oral evidence to and which has some valuable guidance for the media and Government. I feel the recommendations for policy makers and the media to clarify what is the science and what are other political considerations, will be especially helpful for all of us who are communicating about climate, carbon and the environment for the future.

Meanwhile in our National STEM Programmes, 733,017 children and adults have now participated in activities and events as part of ASDC's Destination Space programme celebrating Tim Peake's mission at 20 science centres across the UK. ASDC also took colleagues from across the UK to the European Astronaut Centre to learn more about their work to inspire students here. 347,008 children and adults have now participated in ASDC's Explore Your Universe Physics and engineering programme taking the total for just these two programmes to well over a million people.

We look forward to working with you all more over the coming months, especially as we begin two more National STEM Programmes, one on gases and how these will be used in the future, and the other, an exciting new National Environment Programme. 

Dr Penny Fidler, CEO

This Month:


This Month's Top Stories

The 2017 ASDC National Conference

19 - 20 September

We are delighted to announce the dates for our 2017 National Conference which will be hosted by the excellent science centre Dynamic Earth, in the heart of the lovely city of Edinburgh.

The Main Conference will be at Dynamic Earth on Wednesday September 20 September with a host of great speakers, the ever popular Pecha Kucha and a range of facilitated discussion sessions on topics highly relevant to staff at all stage of their careers. On Tuesday 19 September at 7.30pm we look forward to inviting you to the vibrant 2017 Conference Dinner. The ASDC AGM will be at 3pm on Tuesday 19 September. 

ASDC Ecsite Dinner – Save the Date!

ASDC are once again hosting a Members’ dinner for those attending Ecsite this year. The dinner will be held at a restaurant very close to the Porto City Hall, where the Speakers’ Reception will take place. As with previous years, this is an informal chance to catch up with others from our membership, join us for dinner, or just drinks if you prefer. The dinner will be hosted by Dr Penny Fidler and Andy McLeod of ASDC.

Please book through Eventbrite to let us know you are coming.

Come and work for ASDC

We are delighted to be seeking a new full-time member of staff to join our vibrant team in Bristol.

Over the next month we will be searching across the UK for a brilliant new projects associate who can work closely with the ASDC team to deliver our national STEM programmes. The person appointed will help organise our events, national training academies and our national conference.

We want to get someone brilliant for this role, so please do share it widely and on social media.
The deadline is 2 May 2017.

For more details, please see our website

Closing the STEM skills gap inquiry

ASDC submitted evidence into this current inquiry on behalf of the sector which is published on the Parliament website. We know many UK science centres and other ASDC members also submitted written evidence, outlining the STEM programmes you run to address the STEM skills gap in the UK. Do check the inquiry website to see if they are still accepting evidence if you would like to submit some. Examples submitted so far can be found here.

Submit written evidence via the inquiry page.

MPs call for fairer science reporting and policy making

The Science and Technology Committee inquiry into Science Communication has published its report. 20 UK science centres and many partners submitted written evidence, the ASDC CEO gave evidence in person to the committee, and the report was launched at the Science Museum. The report recommends that the Government avoids confusing science with other political considerations when making policy and that there is proper redress if the media misreports science. All very helpful to what we do, especially around climate.

The full report is here, and if you want the latest from the committee, follow them on twitter @CommonsSTC


Industrial Strategy: Science and STEM skills

House of Commons
Science and Technology Committee
The Committee’s Report Industrial Strategy: science and STEM skills, will be published on Wednesday 12 April on the Committee’s website. 

Read more

ASDC National Meeting on Gender Inclusion in STEM education

Hypatia, an EU project promoting gender inclusion across formal and informal STEM education, launched in the UK on International Women's Day (8th March) with an inspirational meeting of researchers, school teachers, science centres, industrial partners, local and national authorities, STEM professionals, ambassadors, activists and organisations all striving together to make a national impact.

From all the evidence disseminated and discussed from 15 speakers and 60 participants across the day, the top voted ways in which educators can combat gender bias and stereotyping were:

1. Include whole families and encourage parental support
2. Train all STEM educators in unconscious bias
3. Keep science relevant by using diverse and gender balanced contexts & examples
4. Use female and male role models showing a range of scientists at all career levels
5. Appoint someone senior to take responsibility for gender inclusion with your organisation

For all outcomes, presentations and resources presented or to make your own personal pledge at our meeting please see our Hypatia newsletter

Newton's seeds update

The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres offered a unique opportunity for our member Science Centres and Museums to be given seeds from Newton's Apple Tree, and to use these to grow their very own offspring of Newton's tree. This rare opportunity was offered through a collaboration between ASDC and the team at Woolsthorpe Manor (National Trust) in Lincolnshire, birthplace and family home of Sir Isaac Newton. The tree is considered to be the inspiration for Newton's theory of gravity, when he sat in the orchard, watching the apples fall towards the earth.

This opportunity was to celebrate the World's first International Science Centre and Science Museum Day on November 10th 2016, a day backed by UNESCO and science centres around the world.

Your seeds should have been out of the fridge for a month and on a window sill. We know that many of your seeds have germinated and are just showing their first leaves. Do nurture them well and tweet pictures of them using @sciencecentres and #newtonsseeds.

If there is no sign of life, put them on a sunny window sill (but not above a hot radiator) and they still might germinate. The experts tell us if they don't germinate this year, they could do so next year, so persevere, and keep them safe and lightly watered until then. For further details click here.

Destination Space Engages 733,017 people across the UK

ASDC is celebrating the completion of our ‘Destination Space’ national engagement programme, celebrating Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS and human space flight. Funded by the UK Space Agency and delivered by 20 science centres across the UK, this national programme engaged 733,017 children and adults through school workshops, family shows or launch and landing celebration events. Of these, 100,244 were school students who had been brought by teachers to science centres to take part in specific curriculum-linked schools’ workshops. Overall, 75,741 people met and spoke with a space scientist or engineer through the special meet the expert events, helping to showcase the types of careers that are possible with science.

The final report for this programme will soon be available via the ASDC website.

Host a Hydrogen Hack!

Arcola Energy Education are looking for venues for the World's First Hydrogen Hack! This Hack will bring together hundreds of young programmers and engineers aged 8 to 18, over the course of a full week (Mon-Fri) during the Summer holidays.

They will use fuel cells and programming to hack hardware to make it move faster, longer or to take its first steps as an animate object. There will be a London-based competition over the weekend, where each team will compete to win the soon to be highly coveted Arcola Cup! For more information contact Arlan.

Cheltenham Science Group has opened its science centre!

34 people visited the science centre in Coronation Square on its first day, Tuesday 11th April. Dave and Kirsty Watson founded Cheltenham Science Group as a community interest company in June 2015. Their first event was in the early years discovery zone at Cheltenham Science Festival that month and since then the organisation has engaged the public at 28 events, run 22 school days, facilitated 9 science evenings for uniformed groups and held 3 pop-up science centres.

Thanks to funding from the Comino Foundation and UnLtd, as well as support from a local engineering firm, we have transformed an empty retail unit in a deprived neighbourhood of Cheltenham. There are 12 exhibits, with more under construction to be added over the next few months, as well as a maker space. We have had a very positive reaction from the local community on our first day! 


Five major projects get Science Learning+ funding

With the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Wellcome Trust is supporting five new informal science learning projects.

The projects will help to increase understanding of how informal science learning activities affect children and young people’s enjoyment and understanding of science. All five are collaborative partnerships between organisations in the UK and the USA, and between teams with expertise in research and expertise in leading informal science learning activities.


The Presenter Network Conference 2017

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is proud to introduce the very first Presenter Network Conference.  This special one day conference will be held on Thursday 7th September 2017 at Royal Museums Greenwich in London.
The Presenter Network has been running for a number of years now but this will be our very first conference. This network has been designed by presenters for presenters so whether you are just starting out or want to freshen up your skills there will be plenty to suit. The day will be jam-packed with sessions  facilitated by members of the network but don’t panic, there will be plenty of time to network and share best practice too.  The key note speaker this year will be the fantastic Greg Foot. 

Places are free but allocated only to those actively involved in presenting.
For more information or to book please contact Liz Avery.

Young people’s views on science education

This week, Wellcome Trust launched the results from Science Education Tracker, a survey of young people’s attitudes towards and experiences of science education and careers.

The results show that students’ interest in science, science lessons and related careers are high, consistent with recent PISA findings.


The Lucky Iron Fish

During the past year, the Lucky Iron Fish has been featured as part of The Crunch and used in various Science Centres across the UK to demonstrate a simple solution that can help tackle some of the world's most challenging nutritional problems. The Lucky Iron Fish is a carefully formulated health innovation that has been shown to substantially reduce instances of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia. The little, but mighty Fish is a simple cooking tool that releases a significant proportion of daily required iron intake in any liquid or broth based meals.


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

Public Engagement Innovation Grant Scheme

Deadline: 5 June

Managing Volunteers in Charities Conference

15 May, London

Science in Public Conference 2017

10 - 12 July, Sheffield

BIG Event 2017

19 - 21 July, Newcastle

British Science Festival 

5 - 9 September, Brighton

The Presenter Network Conference 2017

7 September, London
For more information or to book please contact Liz Avery

University Museums Group Conference

11 - 12 September, Birmingham

The 2017 ASDC National Conference

19 - 20 September, Edinburgh

Weekend Science Communicator

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium
Deadline: Rolling deadline

Education Officer

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium
Deadline: Rolling deadline

Stimulating Physics Network (SPN) Project Administrator

Institute of Physics
Deadline: 17 April

Assistant Editor (MNRAS)

The Royal Astronomical Society
Deadline: 18 April

BioMedia Meltdown Project Manager

The Linnean Society
Deadline: 18 April

Public Engagement Intern

Royal Society
Deadline: 18 April

Chief Executive Officer

Women's Engineering Society
Deadline: 18 April

Centre Public Engagement Manager

King's College London
Deadline: 19 April

Science Communications Manager

Cancer Research UK
Deadline: 19 April

Engagement Manager

University College London
Deadline: 19 April

Press Officer

Deadline: 21 April

Engagement Officer

Bournemouth University
Deadline: 23 April

Research Engagement Manager (Manchester)

Cancer Research UK
Deadline: 24 April

Marketing Manager

Science Gallery London
Deadline: 27 April

Science in Schools Coordinator

The Royal Institution
Deadline: 1 May

ASDC Projects Associate

The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres
Deadline: 2 May

Public Engagement Associate

University of Bristol
Deadline: 2nd May

Communications Manager

The Francis Crick Institute
Deadline: 8 May
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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