As part of our ongoing community engagement work, the British Science Association runs a Community Leaders programme. The aim of the programme is to harness the passion and ideas of individuals who work with underserved audiences and to enhance their skills to enable them to become leaders of science engagement in their communities.

Each year we recruit twelve individuals who had previously received a British Science Week Community Grant to become ambassadors in their regions of the UK. Each Leader is already doing fantastic work and has strongly established relationships with their communities, which is why we believe they are the ones best placed to deliver high-quality, impactful science engagement. Through the Community Leaders programme we upskill our group of participants, support them in developing long-term science engagement projects, and help facilitate collaboration between their community groups and the science communication sector.

"[The programme] changed my understanding, it made me think, it made me look into things a bit more." - Community Leader from cohort 1

Expressions of interest for 2020-1 cohort

The programme has been a success for the past two years, and the BSA is now pleased to open expressions of interest for the third cohort of Community Leaders. To prepare you for the role, we will deliver group training sessions at our head office in London (or virtually, depending on COVID-19 restrictions) and will cover the cost of your travel. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop the work that you have already started with your previous BSW community grants, as well as to develop your skills and build your networks.

Once you have completed your training, you will automatically be awarded £1000 to develop your long-term science engagement projects, which must include an event for British Science Week 2021. You will not be eligible for additional funding for BSW 2021 from the BSA (i.e., you cannot also receive a BSW 2021 Community Grant).

Each Community Leader will be required to:

  • Attend three training sessions held at the BSA offices in London (or virtually, depending on COVID-19 restrictions). These will take place on 19 October 2020, 7 December 2020 and 25 January 2021.
  • Plan and run a long-term science engagement project that includes an event during British Science Week 2021 (5-14 March)
  • Attend a follow-up session in London after British Science Week on 29 March 2021.

Please be aware that this is an unpaid voluntary opportunity. We hope that with our support and training you will be able to build this role into the work that you are already doing in your communities. All reasonable travel costs to training sessions will be covered by the BSA, and accommodation will be provided if need be. The BSA will also cover reasonable caring costs associated with attending the training sessions.

What are the criteria?

Even though this programme is to support individual Leaders, to be eligible you must work for or volunteer with a community-based group or organisation that works directly with audiences who are traditionally underrepresented and currently not engaged in science activity. Our definition of groups that are underrepresented in science includes:

  • people from ethnic minorities
  • people with low socio-economic status, including people disadvantaged in terms of education and income
  • people with a physical or mental condition or impairment
  • people living in a remote and rural location, defined as settlements of less than 10,000 people
  • girls and women.

You also will need to represent an organisation or group that has previously been awarded a BSW Community Grant. If you are part of an established organisation or charity, you must have an annual turnover of less than £1,000,000.

Please note that we are aiming to select one participant from each region of the UK. 

The BSA is a champion of equality, diversity and inclusion. We are committed to the fair and equal treatment of employees and partners irrespective of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, ex-offending background or any other potentially unlawfully discriminating factor. We recognise the importance of diversity of thought and are fully committed to embracing the talents of people with autism, dyslexia, ADHD and other forms of neurocognitive variation. We also seek to actively support participants’ wellbeing and mental health. Reasonable adjustments to the programme can be made to enable the participation of persons with mental or physical conditions or impairments.

Application process

For additional information, please read the expression of interest guidelines.

Expressions of interest can be submitted via this online form.

All applications can be made online via an expression of interest form. On the form we will ask for basic details about you and your work, and a short description (500 words max) about why you would like to take part in the programme.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Monday, 20 July 2020, at 5pm.

If you have any questions about the programme or the application process, please email [email protected].

Previous cohorts

Our 2019-2020 Community Leaders:

  • Amar Azam, Unleashing Potential 
  • Jackie Barnes, It’s Your Life 
  • Nicola Brown, Doncaster Alcohol Services 
  • Paul Hyde, Whippet Up 
  • Juliette Jackson, Seadream Education
  • Zaffer Khan, One Voice Blackburn
  • Erika Lye, Mountain Movers
  • Claudia McFarlane, African Caribbean Achievement Project
  • Neil McLaughlin, Barnet Libraries
  • Marsha Fisher, Sutton African and Caribbean Cultural Organisation
  • Lindsay White, Rother Voluntary Action 

Our 2018-2019 Community Leaders:

  • Fawaz Alghofari, Syrian Community of Leeds
  • Mohammed Attaur Rahman, Wardleworth Community Centre 
  • Carmel Britto, LPF Kiddies Club
  • Ann Fomukong-Boden, Kakou
  • Carl Gillam, Canolfan Ebeneser
  • Saoirse Higgins, Papay Development Trust
  • Gemma Martin, Wheal Martyn
  • Mathew Rogers, St Michael's Youth Project
  • Leah Vellam-Steptoe, Frank Wise School
  • Stephen Williams, OASIS Community Centre and Gardens
  • Yang Zhou, Mandarin Speakers Association Derry

For more information about the work the British Science Association does to support and engage with community groups, please visit our Community Engagement page and follow BSA Communities on Twitter.

If you have any questions about the programme, please email [email protected].

Image of first Community Leaders cohort