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The Community Leaders Programme is a key part of the British Science Association’s
(BSA) community engagement work, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The programme has been a success for the past four years, and we are pleased to open expressions of interest for the fifth group of Community Leaders.

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.

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

Submit your expression of interest here

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/project or a Community Grant funded event or project.

Training, development and networking sessions

To prepare you for the role, you will join four all-day group training sessions on 17 October 2022, 5 December 2022, 23 January 2023 and 3 April 2023.

External speakers and former Community Leaders will help to deliver the training sessions, with topics including, among other things:

  • Building confidence and skills with science and public engagement
  • Insight into the science communication and research sector
  • Principles and models of public engagement
  • Developing and communicating your strategy
  • Accessing fundraising opportunities
  • Event programming
  • Advice on communications and public relations.

At the training sessions, Leaders will also share their experiences with one another and form their own support network. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop the work that you have already started with your previous science engagement activities, as well as to develop your skills and build your networks.

Training location: Leaders must attend three in-person sessions in London, held at the British Science Association offices (in the Science Museum) and one online session over Zoom.

Travel and accommodation costs (where required) will be covered for the in-person sessions. The BSA will also cover reasonable caring costs associated with attending the training sessions. 

Grant funding for Community Leaders

As part of the programme, you will be awarded a £1,000 grant to develop your long-term science engagement projects, which must include an event/activity for British Science Week 2023. You will not be eligible for additional funding for BSW 2023 from the BSA (i.e., you cannot also receive a 2023 BSW Community Grant).

After the Community Leader Programme

After participating in our Community Leaders programme, you will be part of our national network of Community Leaders with the BSA.

We also invite Leaders to apply to take part in the Community Buddy Programme which matches Community Leaders with researchers from their local area/region.

Previous groups of Community Leaders identified the need to access and work collaboratively with local research institutions and science role models. The Buddy Programme was designed to enable these connections. In 2021, we took this successful pilot one step further. We introduced a new grant of up to £4,000 to support our Community Buddy pairs to further develop their co-created science engagement projects. You can read about what the first cohort of grant recipients did with their funding in this recently published blog post.

Time commitment

Each Community Leader will be required to:

  • Attend four day-long sessions on 17 October 2022, 5 December 2022, 23 January 2023 and 3 April 2023.
  • Three of the sessions will be held at the BSA offices in London and one will be held virtually over Zoom. (We envisage the first two and the last session will be held in London and the third will be virtual).
  • Plan and run a long-term science engagement project that includes an event during British Science Week 2023 (10-19 March).
  • Take part in an evaluation telephone/virtual interview with an external evaluator.

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 required. The BSA will also cover reasonable caring costs associated with attending the training sessions.

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.

Criteria and how to apply

This programme is to support individual Leaders, for your group 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.

Our definition of groups that are underrepresented in science includes:

  • people from ethnic minorities;
  • people with low socioeconomic status, including people disadvantaged in terms of education and income;
  • people with additional support needs, 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, BSF or CEN Community Grant or run a community science engagement event. 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 regions are England (divided into East of England/London/East Midlands/North East/North West/South East/ South West/West Midlands/Yorkshire and the Humber), Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Application process

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 (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 8 August 2022.

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