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 five years, and we are pleased to open expressions of interest for the sixth 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 group organisers working with traditionally underrepresented audiences in science. The outcomes include:

  • Community Leaders gaining confidence and expertise in delivering long-term science engagement activities.
  • Community Leaders feel part of the science communication sector.
  • Community Leaders develop relationships with each other and form 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 benefit and see their respective Community Leader as an advocate for science.

Submit your expression of interest here

A PDF of this webpage is available to download 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 / British Science Festival community event or project / another BSA-supported community activity.

Training and networking sessions

To prepare for the role, you will join four day-long group training sessions on 16 October 2023, 4 December 2023, 22 January 2024 and 1 April 2024.

External speakers and former Community Leaders will help 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.

Please note, three of the training sessions will be held in-person in London, at the British Science Association offices, and one session will be held online 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

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 2024. You will not be eligible for additional funding for British Science Week 2024 from the BSA (i.e., you cannot also receive a 2024 British Science Week Community Grant).

After completing the programme

After participating in our Community Leaders programme, you will be part of our national network of BSA Community Leaders. The BSA shares unique opportunities with our former Leaders and seeks their input into our programmes and initiatives. 

Programme commitments

Each Community Leader will be required to:

  • Attend four day-long sessions on 16 October 2023, 4 December 2023, 22 January 2024 and 1 April 2024.
    - Three of the sessions will be held at the BSA offices in London and one (22 January 2024) will be held virtually over Zoom.
  • Develop and deliver a long-term science engagement project that includes activities during British Science Week 2024 (8-17 March).
  • Take part in the programme’s evaluation by having their project participants complete feedback forms and by participating themselves in a short 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.


This programme aims to support individual community organisers. 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 minority backgrounds;
  • people living in communities which face deprivation, including people disadvantaged in terms of education and income;
  • people with a disability or long-term health condition;
  • people living in a remote and rural location, defined as settlements of less than 10,000 people;
  • girls and women.

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. However, we may select more than one Community Leader from the same region depending on the portfolio of applicants we receive.

Application process

All applications must be made online via an expression of interest form. On the form, we will ask for basic details about you and your work, as well as a set of three short questions about why you would like to take part in the programme:

  • What has inspired you to apply? (200 words max.)
  • What do you hope to get from the Community Leader programme? (For you as an individual, that you can then bring to benefit your group/organisation) (200 words max.)
  • What would you like the programme to cover? (Topics covered before include: building confidence and skills with science and public engagement; developing and communicating your strategy; accessing fundraising opportunities, and event programming, etc.) (150 words max.)

Submit your expression of interest here

The deadline for expressions of interest is 17:00 on Monday 7 August 2023.

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

Back to the Community Leaders webpage 

Back to the Community Engagement webpage