Grants to support community-led activities during British Science Week

As part of its commitment to growing and diversifying the community of people interested and involved in science, the British Science Association has opened its third annual British Science Week (BSW) Community Grant Scheme. BSW is an annual grassroots celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, and this grant scheme supports community-based participation. BSW 2017 will run 10-19 March.

Tell me more about the grant scheme!

The mission of the BSW Community Grant Scheme is to expand the audiences that engage with science and self-identify as having an interest in science by empowering and supporting community groups to run their own science activities during BSW. The scheme offers grants for community groups that work directly with audiences who are traditionally under-represented and currently not engaged in science activity, specifically:

  • people who are Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME)
  • people with low socio economic status (SES)
  • young people with anti-social behaviour, including those not in education, employment or training (NEET)
  • people with a disability, defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term effect on someone’s ability to do normal daily activities (Equalities Act 2010)
  • people living in a remote and rural location (settlements of less than 10,000 people with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more)
  • girls and women

Based on the success of the scheme in 2015 and 2016, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has provided funding to expand the scheme: for BSW 2017 we are offering more £500 grants, as well as introducing larger grants of up to £1000:

  1. £500 grants are for community groups to run one or more events during BSW
  2. Up to £1000 grants are for community groups to run one or more events during BSW, as well as follow-up activities that will lead to continued engagement after BSW.

What did the grant scheme achieve last year?

For BSW 2016, 50 grants of £500 supported a range of events, including sports science sessions with football and boxing clubs, community-created science exhibitions in mosques, community gardens and pubs, community-led research projects, and scientifically-informed art activities. The scheme is estimated to have engaged over 16,000 people.

Based on geodemographic and engagement segmentation, our evaluation of last year’s scheme found that overall grant-supported activities attracted more marginalised groups and audiences with lower SES. 76% of event attenders were first-time participants in BSW, and 81% of attenders who didn’t work in a science-related job recorded an increase in their level of interest in science as a result of attending a grant-funded event. The impact on levels of interest in science for BAME attenders was particularly positive, with 53% of those who didn’t work in a science-related job saying they were much more interested in science after attending an event, compared to 32% of White attenders.

Case studies with some of last year’s grant recipients got to the root of why supporting community-run science activities is crucial for reaching under-represented audiences: “Science is one of those things that I think people without money, without the ability to go to some big science museum or science project, which kids love, can’t do. So to bring science right into the heart of their community and make it accessible to them has done something really good because it’s made people sit up and think ‘yeah, this is something that I can engage with, something about me and my world’, which they would never have seen and done before”.

How do I apply?

Additional information about the grant scheme, including the grant guidelines and information on how to apply, can be found on the BSW website. Please read the grant guidelines before applying to ensure that your proposal has the best chance of being awarded funding. Grant applications for BSW 2017 will close on 21 November 2016 at 5pm.

Get in touch with the BSW team at if you have any questions or concerns, and hopefully next year we’ll be getting feedback like this from you:

“I had a fantastic time organising our BSW event and the feedback from attendees has been amazing.”

“We had a brilliant experience and our feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

“It was fantastic. I can't express how useful the grant has been to our organisation.”