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 new ASDC newsletter

Every month we'll be highlighting interesting updates, developments and opportunities for science engagement professionals across the UK.

This Month:


May's Top Stories

Creating the future: a 2020 vision for science and research - a consultation on proposals for long-term capital investment in science and research

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) are carrying out a consultation on long-term investment in science and research. Based on this they are going to produce a road map for investment.

ASDC has been very busy representing the sector to ministers and civil servants and are pleased that they have taken on board some of our recommendations.

One of the strands that they have included is on public engagement. "It is important to build on public interest and build public understanding of, and engagement with, science. The Government is interested in exploring innovative ways to do more of all of this, building on and better utilising existing science engagement infrastructure to inspire, engage and involve the public in scientific research and development." on page 52 in the consultation document. They propose an 'Inspiring Science' Capital fund for those who can't access other capital funding, to a total of £22 million.

We would encourage you all to respond. Full details are in the link below. The deadline is 4 July 2014.


ASDC launches report on UK science centres: Effectively engaging under-represented groups

Science engagement organisations within the ASDC network in all parts of the UK run a large number of science programmes working directly with under-represented groups on a large scale. For this reason the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) commissioned ASDC to write a report with a series of case studies to share knowledge and best practice of the STEM programmes and activities that are already successfully reaching these groups everyday across the UK.

The report covers interventions addressing three specific groups of society who are under-represented in STEM; school children and families from socio-economically disadvantaged areas, school children and families from a range of ethnic backgrounds, and women and girls in physics and engineering. You can download the full report from the link below.


Annnouncing: Launch of Explore Your Universe Phase 2

Explore Your Universe is a strategic partnership between the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) which aims to inspire a sense of excitement around the physical sciences through sharing the amazing stories and technologies of STFC.
This highly successful programme has already reached 156,880 children and adults, bringing alive the physical sciences at 12 science centres, science museums and STFC facilities who were part of the partnership in Phase 1.

We are now seeking 10 new organisations to increase its depth and reach.
Applications will be open to Science and Discovery Centres, National and other Museums, Learned Societies, Universities and others who engage families and schools with the sciences  (criteria will be published online).


Obituary: Alan Friedman 1942-2014

With the death of Alan Friedman, the former Director of the New York Hall of Science, the science centre movement has lost one of its greatest friends.  Until Alan’s illness suddenly became apparent just a couple of months ago, he was engaged in a busy programme of international consulting.
He was a physicist by background, had sat at the feet of the great Robert Oppenheimer, and – before moving to New York – had been director of physics and astronomy at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California.  He was a courageous fighter for the freedom of museums to determine their policies independently of political and sponsorship pressures.  He traveled widely to understand how other science centres and museums worked to improve their engagement with the public, and he led the New York Hall of Science from a ruined shell to a distinguished science centre which commanded worldwide respect.  Valuing and developing his staff was always his first priority, and the rest followed.
In ‘retirement’ Alan was in great demand as a consultant because he was both perceptive in his analysis and generous in his judgements.  He was one of those rare people who combined assurance with humility.  He shared his experience with warmth and insight; he encouraged the newcomers and he challenged the established.   There is a legacy of this work on his website:
Alan’s sudden passing will be a great loss to our community, and of course to his family and friends.  The New York Times has an obituary here, and the Hall of Science has a page which contains many appreciations, the more touching because the first ones are from friends who knew that he had become critically ill, and were hoping for the best:
-Colin Johnson, May 2014


BIG Event Best Demo Competition OPEN

Touted as 'providing some of the best fun you can have in your STEM engagement career' the Best Demo Competition from BIG is now open for applications.

This fun competition allows professionals to share their most exciting demos across all areas of STEM with the lovely participants of the BIG event. The competition will take place on Thursday 24 June at the BIG event in Oxford. Full details about how to apply and the simple rules can be found at the link below.


Josh Award 2014: Nominations now open

Established to recognise and support up-and-coming talent in science communication. The award recognises a defining moment in the career of a science communicator; a person who is a practicing scientist or someone who has chosen science communication as their profession. The award provides the opportunity to become the science communicator in residence at the Manchester Science Festival 2014, developing and delivering a new project or event while show-casing best practise in the field of science communication.

The winner will receive support to nurture their development in the field and their involvement in the Manchester Science Festival from both the Festival team and the British Interactive Group (BIG).


Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2014 - call for science centres to host events

Each year the Royal society runs its Young People's Book Prize. The Prize celebrates the best science books written for the under-14s and aims to inspire children to read about science.
As in previous year, they want to hold fabulous events across the UK to celebrate the books shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2014, encouraging young people to read and enjoy science books. These will complement the event at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London. Last year events were run by Jodrell Bank, Eureka and Techniquest. All events will be supported by the Royal Society.
In addition, they are seeking a venue in which to hold the prestigious award ceremony in November 2014.
The closing date is Friday 20 June 2014.
If you are interested in either of these opportunities the person to contact is:
David Chapman
Events Officer, Public Engagement
T +44 20 7451 2254

Festival of Nature 2014: Bigger, Better, Wilder!

This year The Festival of Nature will be venturing beyond it's Bristol Harbourside habitat, and offering events beyond the festival week (14-15 June) with a series of adult talks, 13 Bristol community events, plus two new events at Bath and Chew Valley Lake.

The adult talks will include speakers from the BBC, Germaine Greer, writers and poets and even a scuba diver. For full details visit the website.


Have your say on the future of Snibston Museum

Leicestershire County Council are asking for views on proposed changes to Snibston Museum.  The consultation is open from 14 April to noon on 7 July 2014.

Proposed changes include developing the Mining Museum, Demolishing the existing Snibston gallery, and improving the country. The full consultation document and information on how to respond are through the link below.


Build Tomorrow Today: £10m Longitude Prize Launched

The Longitude Prize 2014 is a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to help solve one of the greatest issues of our time. Engage your visitors with the 6 challenges and encourage them to vote for the winner. Full details below.


The Breath Project

BREATH is a multi-media installation project which explores perception, the cycle of decay and renewal. Breath combines documentary and multi-media art, connecting the worlds of science, art, technology, humanities and well being through extraordinary imagery and sound-design. It is supported by web content and second-screen behind-the-scenes materials to engage and inform the public and raise awareness of the questions raised.

The project is now seeking partners to run workshops with children. Full details and a trailer video can be found in the link below.


Dundee Science Centre secures major funding towards expansion plans

The Wellcome Trust has recently awarded Dundee Science Centre £850,000 towards it's £1.6m expansion plans proposals which will focus on its two prime audiences – visitors and learners.  Complementing a fantastic new exhibition, focusing on non-invasive medical technologies, will be state-of-the-art learning facilities, including a lecture theatre and live links to Ninewells Hospital clinicians.

The plans have been drawn up by AIM Design Dundee, multi-award winning and multi-disciplinary architects and interior designers.    It is hoped that work will commence on site in the Autumn of 2014.

The highlight of the plans is the new exhibition, where visitors will discover how today’s medical therapies can be administered without scalpels and scars. Robots, bubbles, ultrasound and lasers are all being developed at the Institute for Medical Science and Technology (IMSaT) in Dundee, and the exhibition will inspire and excite visitors of all ages, introducing them to the world of medical intervention beyond surgery. 


Royal College of Pathologists public engagement innovation grant scheme

Deadline 30 June 

Wellcome Trust: Science Learning Plus

Deadline 10 July

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

Deadline 6 November

Organise an event for National Women in Engineering Day

On-going until 23 June

ASDC Events

ASDC Annual Conference 2014

24 September, Royal Society, London

We are delighted to announce The 2014 ASDC National Conference will be held at The Royal Society On Wednesday September 24th 2014.

We also invite you to the Conference Dinner and the ASDC AGM at the Royal Society on Tuesday 23rd September. 


Other Events

Universities Week: Ideas for Life

9-15 June

Universities Week will take place from 9-15 June 2014.  The campaign will explore how university research impacts the lives of all of us - every single day - and is addressing the challenges the public wants solving.  A week-long celebration of university research will take place at the Natural History Museum from 9-13 June, featuring researchers, exhibits and other public engagement activities.  It also includes a late opening on 11 June, from 17.00-22.30.  All events are free and open to anyone to attend.
The Natural History Museum exhibition will take place against a backdrop of a week of public engagement activity at universities and university museums across the country, all of which will promote the everyday impact of higher education.  Universities Week 2014 is also being supported by a local and national PR and social media campaign.
This public engagement campaign is aimed at members of the public, including families, schoolchildren, students, tourists and university alumni.
To get involved in Universities Week 2014, please visit the website or telephone Ian Morton, Universities UK Campaigns Manager, on 020 7419 5424.


What’s so Special about STEM? Free conference on transition for disabled STEM students

11 July, University of Greenwich

Does studying and working in STEM fields really pose a specific challenge for disabled students?  Have you ever thought that as the needs of disabled students are so wide-ranging you wouldn’t know where to start in supporting their STEM studies/employment?  This free conference is for anyone involved in the engagement with disabled individuals with a post-16 interest in STEM subjects.  The conference, organised by the STEM Disability Transition Group (STEM DTG), will take place on 11th July 2014 and is hosted at the University of Greenwich.  Our keynote speaker will be Prof Les Ebdon CBE, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, and workshops include Science online – can technology re-open a school’s lab door? and What is science communication? An exploration of the implications for disabled graduates looking to work in this field.
Book your free place here: and for any questions, contact the Chair of the STEM DTG Lucy Yeomans on  For more information on the STEM DTG see our linkedin page and our blog.

Women in Engineering: The Challenge 

23 June, London

Wrexham Science Festival 2014 - call for contributors 

17-25 July, Wrexham
Please contact Dawn Pavey.

British Science Festival

6-11 September, Birmingham

Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference

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

10x Full Time Science Communicators

Bloodhound SSC
Deadline: ongoing

Schools and education policy manager

Society of Biology
Deadline: 9 June

Head of Department – Science Strategy, Performance and Impact

Wellcome Trust
Deadline: 9 June

Senior Science Communications Officer

Cancer Research UK
Deadline: 10 June

Duty Manager

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
Deadline: 11 June

Research Communications Officer 

Alzheimer's Society
Deadline: 12 June

Communications Project Manager – Food Engagement Initiative

Wellcome Trust
Deadline: 13 June

Senior Web Project Manager

Science Museum
Deadline: 13 June

STEM Resources Officer

Science Oxford
Deadline: 16 June

Media & Communications Officer Vacancy

Physiological Society
Deadline: 25 June

Visitor Services Assistant

Grant Museum
Deadline: 29 June


Eden Project
Deadline: 30 June

Project Manager

National Schools Observatory
Deadline: 7 July
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