“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.”  - 2016 & 2017 grant recipient Steve Williams, Centre and Project Manager, OASIS Community Centre

As part of its commitment to growing and diversifying the community of people interested and involved in science, the British Science Association runs the British Science Week Community Grant Scheme.

British Science Week is an annual grassroots celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths that happens every March. The mission of the 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 British Science Week. 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 socioeconomic status (SES), including people disadvantaged in terms of education and income
  • young people facing adversity, 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, defined as settlements of less than 10,000 people
  • girls and women

Groups can apply for one of two grant levels:

  • £500 grants for community groups to run one or more events during British Science Week
  • Up to £1000 grants for community groups to run one or more events during British Science Week, as well as follow-up activities that will lead to continued engagement after British Science Week.

British Science Week 2017 evaluation

For British Science Week 2017, our third year of running the scheme, 124 grants 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.

We've created an infographic summarising the evaluation data from 2016 and 2017, and featuring quotes from grant recipients. Below are some 2017 highlights:

  • The scheme is estimated to have engaged over 16,000 people.
  • 99% of grant recipients rated their experience of organising a British Science Week event as “excellent” or “good”, and none rated their experience negatively.
  • The scheme achieved its 2017 target of reaching more rural populations; compared to the 2016 programme there was an increase in activity taking place in more rurally remote areas of South West England, the Midlands, North Wales, and the West coast and Northern Isles of Scotland.
  • Grant-funded activities attracted an ethnically diverse audience: compared to 87% of the UK population that identifies as White, 77% of attenders in 2017 identified as White.
  • There was a higher proportion of female than male participants in grant-funded activities, with a split of 62% female and 38% male.
  • Three quarters (76%) of attendees were first-time participants in a British Science Week event.
  • 83% of participants who do not 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; almost half (48%) said that they are now ‘much more interested’.

You can read our full 2017 evaluation report, as well as case studies from 2016 grant recipients.

British Science Week 2018: how do I apply?

British Science Week 2018 will be 9-18 March. Additional information about the grant scheme, including the grant guidelines and information on how to apply, can be found on the British Science Week website.