As part of our ongoing community engagement work, the British Science Association runs a Community Leaders programme supported by funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). 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, British Science Festival or other Community Engagement Network Community Grant, or previously held community science events during British Science Week, to become ambassadors in their regions of the UK. Each Leader is already doing fantastic work and has strong 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. - Community Leader

Science is everywhere. It’s all around us, happening right under our noses. Being able to show, first-hand, how science is being practised a short walk from their home is powerful.

- Community Leader


Applications to join our 2022-3 Community Leader Programme are now open!

The programme has been a success for the past four years, and the BSA is now pleased to open expressions of interest for the fifth group of Community Leaders.

To find the full guidelines which detail the outcomes of the scheme, who can apply, and the structure and timeline of the scheme and the application process, visit here:

Community Leader Guidelines

You can also download the Community Leader Guidelines as a PDF here.

The programme aims to harness the passion and ideas of community groups working with traditionally underserved audiences in science. The outcomes include:

  • Community Leaders gaining confidence and expertise in delivering long-term science engagement activities
  • Community Leaders feeling part of the science communication sector
  • Community Leaders developing relationships with each other and forming a network with fellow Leaders
  • Community Leaders being offered ways to stay actively involved with the BSA
  • The BSA building a network of Community Leaders that can be drawn upon for ideas and support
  • Community Leaders’ communities benefiting, and seeing their respective Community Leader as an advocate for science

Who can apply

The BSA will recruit and train 12 individuals who are members of the BSA Community Engagement Network:

  • You may have experience in science engagement and have been running activities, events and projects for several years or more.
  • You may be new to this work and want to develop more science engagement with your community.
  • Applicants should have previously run a British Science Week (BSW) or British Science Festival (BSF) community event/ or project or a Community Grant funded event or project.

Application process

Once you have read the full guidelines, all applications can be made via an expression of interest form. On the form, we will ask for basic details about you and your work and a short description (400 words max) about why you would like to take part in the programme.

Submit your expression of interest here

The deadline for expressions of interest is 5 pm on Monday 15 August 2022.

To find out more about the Community Leader programme and the impact it’s had on some of our previous Leaders, please see our Community Showcase Report.

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

Image of first Community Leaders cohort

“Being a 'BSA Community Leader' adds value and legitimacy to holding science events, and sparks interest from teachers, community leaders, councillors and budget holders.”

- Community Leader

Previous cohorts

Our 2021-2022 Community Leaders:

Elisabeth Von Hagel Stevenson, The Rockfield Centre

The Rockfield Centre is a community centre in Oban which focuses on heritage, the arts, wellbeing and education. As the Heritage Officer at the Rockfield Centre, Elisabeth coordinates a programme that tells the story of Oban, its community and natural heritage through the Centre and activities that enable younger and older people to interact, learn and develop new skills.

Helen Clark, Pennine Lancashire Community Farm

Helen is the Project Manager at Pennine Lancashire Community Farm, responsible for the delivery of seven core programmes over five community gardens, woodland and farm sites in areas of high deprivation across Burnley, Pendle and Hyndburn. Pennine Lancashire Community Farm uses outdoor space to bring people together, providing education and social care opportunities and improving physical, emotional and economic wellbeing of the people and communities of East Lancashire.

James Anthony George Wilson, Transition North Ronaldsay

Transition North Ronaldsay is a community and eco-oriented CiC based in the Orkney Islands. As Director of the organisation, James is working on many local community projects, including regular litter picks and wildlife identification sessions. Currently, this team is building a community garden food system and a beach plastic recycling centre that serves both the local community and environment.

Julia Wysocka, International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS)

As the Community Development Officer at ICOS, Julia is a key support for local community members, including Black and Asian community members and an Eastern European women’s group. Julia’s work includes housing, employment, skills and confidence building, as well as supporting victims of domestic abuse and hate crime. ICOS provides advice, advocacy and welfare support for recent migrants with limited networks and access to information.

Kate Smyth, Oldham Libraries

Kate is a Library Development Officer for Oldham Libraries, where she works on the Information and Digital Team running family STEM sessions and Science Week projects. Kate is currently launching a new book and activity loan programme, ‘Reading Sparks’ to encourage science engagement in families from lower socio-economic groups, girls and ethnic minority communities.

Lisa Lanfear, Communities For Horses

Lisa is the Welfare Officer at Communities For Horses, organising all events, workshops and training sessions for the organisation. Communities for Horses provides vital support and education to urban communities in South Wales – many of whom do not engage with traditional schooling – through a shared passion for and heritage of working with horses.

Luke Wakefield, VICTA

Luke is the Head of Activities and Strategic Programmes at VICTA, a charity which supports and empowers visually impaired young people across the UK. Luke leads their activity delivery, encouraging these young people to become more independent and confident and build their skills.

Melissa Koontz-Garboden, Serpentine Community Garden

Melissa is Coordinator of the Growing Well programme, a creative wellness scheme which supports people with physical disabilities and mental health issues, at the Serpentine Community Garden. The Garden is a growing space run by volunteers for the people of Buxton and the surrounding area with the aim to grow people and to grow plants.

Mohammed Saiful Islam, Dagenham Bangladeshi Women & Children's Association

Mohammed is the Office Manager at Dagenham Bangladeshi Women & Children’s Association in East London. In this role, Mohammed delivers projects to improve education, increase community cohesion, reduce employment, improve mental and physical health and support other activities that meet the needs of his local community.  

Seonaid Murray, The Black Box, Belfast

Seonaid is the Outreach Officer at The Black Box Belfast, a multi-purpose arts venue in the heart of Belfast. Black Box projects are for and by people with learning disabilities, including monthly discos, weekly arts-based activities and music, global discussion and book club groups.

Tripti Megeri, Bristol Multi Faith Forum

Bristol Multi Faith Forum is an agency for inter-faith and inter-cultural community cohesion and social harmony that promotes the health and wellbeing of all communities in Bristol. Tripti manages and delivers projects for the Forum, working with people in and outside of the Forum in support of the local community.

These new Community Leaders will become ambassadors in their respective regions of the UK. The role will involve establishing long-term science engagement and supporting the BSA in driving collaboration between community groups and the science communication sector. 

To prepare the Leaders for the role, the BSA will deliver group training sessions in London, covering such topics as building confidence with science, event programming, and public relations and marketing. At the training sessions, Leaders will also share their experiences with one another and form their own support network. Once their training is complete, each Leader will be awarded £1,000 to develop projects for British Science Week 2021 and beyond.  

Our 2020-2021 Community Leaders:

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

These  Community Leaders have become ambassadors in their respective regions of the UK. The role involves establishing long-term science engagement and supporting the BSA in driving collaboration between community groups and the science communication sector.   

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].