The British Science Association’s vision is of a world where science is a fundamental part of culture and society.  We want to diversify the community of people who are engaged and participate in science.  We believe that more can be done to encourage, expect and allow non-scientists to champion, critique, and contribute to science.
 
Imran Khan, Chief Executive of the BSA, writes in this blog: “We’re talking about a huge cultural shift; one that will probably take at least a generation to realise, even with the efforts of all the organisations and individuals that are already helping promote the agenda.”
 
In order to measure whether or not our projects and programmes are succeeding, we have developed a new model for thinking about and segmenting our audiences, which we have published on our website today (29 May 2015). 
 
We looked at the behavioursconfidence, and self-identities of people in relation to science:

  • The scientists. The knowledgeable and involved; professionals - the people who produce or curate scientific knowledge. They’re confident discussing and contributing to science, even when it lies beyond their expertise, and identify as part of the scientific community.
  • The enthusiasts: The engaged and participative. They attend events, keep up to date, and contribute socially - but aren’t professionally involved. They’re the scientific equivalent of people who have strong amateur interests in music, sport, etc - the group the BSA thinks there isn’t nearly enough of.
  • The receptive: Interested in, and open to, science. They don’t self-identify as being interested in science, or make a special effort to stay informed - but aren’t completely alienated either. They see science as a specialist, professional field, and only consume science content passively.
  • The apathetic: Disinterested in science, and possibly closed to it. They see science as important, but something that is entirely the domain of scientists, and divorced from the rest of culture.

The BSA wants to help people move ‘up the scale’, to the point where they might become science enthusiasts, engaged consumers, critical friends. And we hope that this new audience segmentation map will influence what we do with them and for them.


It is a starting point, and we are looking forward to lots of discussion and debate – with our audiences, key stakeholders and colleagues from across the sector - in due, including how this translates onto other projects, such as the notion of increasing young people’s Science Capital.

For more information, please head across to our blog.