As the year draws to a close, it offers us a chance to reflect on what's been going on at the British Science Association over the past 12 months, and the impact we've had on people underrepresented in, and underserved by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

In our final blog post of the year, we’ve gone back through the archives and pulled together milestones from the past year.

But before we get stuck in, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and interest in our work. We hope to keep you engaged and inspired for many years to come, and work together to create a future where science is more relevant, representative, and connected to society.

This blog was adapted from the December edition of our monthly e-newsletters. To get the latest news, project updates and ways to get involved in the British Science Association’s work, straight into your inbox each month, subscribe here.



British Science Week highlights

March marks one of the biggest milestones in our annual calendar – British Science Week!

Thousands across the country took part in events and activities as part of the ten-day celebration. Fitting with the theme of 'Growth', this year's British Science Week was a biggie: 116,376 activity packs were downloaded, breaking a new record; and a whopping 103,970 students took part in our annual poster competition.

We awarded over 200 Kick Start grants to schools in challenging circumstances and just under 100 Community grants to local groups to help run their own events to celebrate STEM.

Our Smashing Stereotypes campaign returned, this time with brand new films showcasing the stories of inspiring scientists, dispelling preconceived ideas about what a scientist is and what they do. 

Next year's theme is ‘Connections’ and we've already got started, with the launch of our taster activity packs and our grants back in September.

Keep your eyes peeled for the full 2022 activity packs in January, and for brand new Smashing Stereotypes profiles in the run-up to the big week…

Download the 2023 taster activity packs

Our work addressing regional science inequality 

At the start of the year, we developed a set of indicators for science engagement and mapped it across the UK. Our report identified the opportunities available for someone to interact with science in their local are. It was the first time this kind of data has been compiled and analysed. You can watch the highlights of the report launch below.

These results led us to continue looking at our work through the lens of regional inequalities across the UK. For example, we commissioned research on the regional differences in young people’s enthusiasm for science as part of British Science Week.

Finally, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM, which the BSA holds the secretariat for, commissioned data mapping of STEM skills inequity in the UK. This work aims to identify the place-based barriers to pursuing science skills, and study the links between minoritised communities and STEM access.

Sign up to the APPG’s mailing list to make sure you don’t miss the report in early 2023.

Join the mailing list 


The best bits from the British Science Festival 

This year’s British Science Festival took over the city of Leicester in September to celebrate the people, stories and ideas at the heart of science, in partnership with De Montfort University. 

One of the standout experiences was the world premiere of The Compass. The fully immersive experience featured spellbinding projections on how we navigate knowledge, epic stories of British researchers, and the science that shapes the world around us.

The events, talks, and discussions at the Festival were also nothing short of spectacular. Don’t take our word for it - you can check out some of our Festival speakers in action through this series of short films.

Looking ahead to next year, we’re delighted that the British Science Festival will be hosted by the University of Exeter between 7-10 September 2023. If you're an academic, local venue or regional business and want to get involved, we want to hear from you!

Stay tuned for information on how you can book your free tickets in the coming months by following the British Science Festival on socials #BSF23.

Get involved in the British Science Festival 2023

Our top picks from The Ideas Fund

The Ideas Fund brings together people who have an idea about how to improve the mental wellbeing of their local community with researchers who can help turn this into a reality.

We were delighted to announce that 28 organisations were selected to receive funding through the second round of The Ideas Fund grants this summer.

In addition to new funding, we shared reflections from the 42 community organisations that received funding through the first round of grants at the end of 2021. These include key themes and emerging learnings as the partnerships developed.

We produced a video on the unique dynamics of the community-researcher relationship and the value of working in this way, as told by the project participants themselves.

You can stay updated on the progress of these projects by following The Ideas Fund on Twitter and Facebook!

Explore The Ideas Fund website


Our work with communities 

Our Community Engagement work started seven years ago as a pilot to enable more people to run events during British Science Week. It has since grown into a unique, grassroots network supporting hundreds of community groups each year.

In 2022, we added three new programmes to the mix:

We’ve been sharing the impact and learnings of all our programmes – both new and existing – through blogs across the year, giving a platform to the voices of the communities we work with.

Are you a community group looking to get involved with our work for the first time? Make sure to join our Community Engagement Network for upcoming opportunities…

Find out more about our work with communities

Welcoming new faces

In 2022, we were thrilled to welcome a new President, cohort of Honorary Fellows, Chief Executive and Chair to the British Science Association.

At the British Science Festival, our new President, computer scientist, mathematician and author, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, kicked off her one-year term with an interview-style Presidential Address. You can read Part One and Part Two here.

Our Honorary Fellows were awarded across three themes that embody ‘The challenges of our time’, as identified by young people: collaboration, energy and the environment. This year, accepting the accolades were Professor Carole Mundell for collaboration, Professor Saiful Islam for energy, and Gillian Burke for contribution to the environment.

Last but not least, Hannah Russell started her role as Chief Executive of the BSA in October - check out our Q&A to get to know her a little better - and you can learn more about our new Chair, Hilary Newiss too!


For Thought highlights 

The 2022 theme for our thought leadership event For Thought was ‘Collaboration in an uncertain world: how science and innovation is shaping society’s response to complex challenges, from net zero to public health and the metaverse’.

For Thought, formerly the Huxley Summit, took place in-person for the first time since 2019 in December. The event was attended by senior leaders from business, science, policy and civil society, providing a forum for cross-sector discussion on the role of science in solving the greatest challenges of the day, and how science can better work alongside other areas of industry.

Content and highlights from the event will be out across BSA channels and For Thought website very soon…

Keep me updated on For Thought

CREST Awards round up

It has also been a great year for our CREST Awards programme! We were excited to work on a range of new and exciting resources this year which are - as always - free to access and download through our CREST resource library. 

We continued to support schools and community organisations in challenging circumstances through our CREST Grants and URA Teacher Network, providing funding and support for running CREST Awards.

Additional support for teachers and education specialists was offered through new resources and tools, from our Star/SuperStar On a Shoestring CREST resource packs (developed with Mewburn Ellis) to our ‘Machines of the future’ CREST Discovery Day resource (in partnership with DeepMind).

Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter for teachers and educators for all the latest on CREST Awards and our education work!

Follow CREST Awards on Twitter 

Our Impact

Take a look back at a year like no other, in our latest Impact Report.

Here, you can learn more about our record breaking British Science Week, how science was brought to life at the British Science Festival, the ways we worked to elevate missing voices plus, and much more...

Thank you for taking the time to go through the British Science Association’s wrap-up of 2022. We cannot wait to share what we have in store for 2023…