Our new business plan is based on a bold and exciting new goal: to transform the relationship that 4 million people have with science by 2020Our mission is to regenerate the diversity and inclusivity of science; to reach under-served audiences; and to increase the percentage of the UK population who are actively engaged and involved in science.  

So, what does that actually mean, and how will we go about achieving it? We’ve broken it down below. You can also view our strategy at a glance here 

Society’s biggest challenges and opportunities aren’t the concern of science alone. Areas such as medicine, climate, transport, and technology are often seen as the domain of science  but each requires significant debate, action and application from the rest of society. They belong to and affect us all. 

If your local surroundings are going to be used for fracking, or you fall ill and need to make difficult decisions about care pathways, we want you to understand what this means and what the impact may be, good or bad. We want to give people the confidence and skills to source reputable, balanced information, which they can examine and question, and if necessary, act upon in an appropriate and effective way.  

Science belongs to and affects everybody, so we want to revolutionise people's relationship with it

In essence, science is not just for scientists. Our vision is to see a world where science is at the heart of culture; not just a subject studied at school, but a way of thinking and approaching the world. We want to take science out of its cultural ghetto. 

The breadth of science is much broader than people sometimes realise: from astronomy to zoology, economics to social sciences, as well as art, maths, technology, engineering – we define all of these as science. Many people are already engaged with science, without necessarily realising or identifying with it.  

But on top of this, we want science to be accessible to everyone. Not simply for the pure joy of finding things out, although of course, we believe science is inherently fascinating, but we also believe that by unlocking the potential of a more diverse group of people, we increase our ability to tackle some of the world’s most intractable challenges and shape our future for the better. 

So, our mission is to transform the diversity and inclusivity of science, to reach under-served audiences and increase the percentage of the UK population who are actively engaged in science, but how are we going to achieve thisWhat do success and failure look like, and how will we measure progress? 

To get a better understanding of the public’s relationship with science, we use an audience segmentation map. 

The British Science Association's audience segmentation map

This map helps us mould our work for different audiences and check new ideas against our aims. It’s split into four groups: 

  • Professionals - people who produce or curate scientific knowledge 
  • Engaged - people who are enthusiastic about science and seek out information and events 
  • Inactive - people who are interested in science but make no effort to engage 
  • Not interested - people who see science as not for them 

We appreciate this is a simple model, but it means we can make our mission tangible and measurable. Currently, the “Not interested” and “Inactive” groups make up three quarters of the UK population, or roughly, 49 million people. By 2020, we want to see 4 million of these people move to the “Engaged” or “Professional” groups. 

This is an ambitious target, but we don’t seek to achieve it alone. 

Our new strategy breaks down into three (non-exclusive) pillars of work: 

Diversify and reach “Inactive” and “Not interested” audiences, through activities such as: 

 Improve science education, through a programme of work including: 

  • Expanding our CREST Awards programme, including providing grants for under-represented audiences; 
  • Applying the CREST approach to other subjects, particularly early years and primary education; 
  • Developing our position on education policy and championing an approach to science education that benefits all young people, and not just future scientists. 

Influencing stakeholders, through our events and networks: 

We’re confident this approach will help us achieve our goal of moving 4 million people along the audience model by 2020, which will get us one step closer to making science a fundamental part of society and culture. However, we can’t do it in isolation – we also need you. 

Runners at last year's Run the Solar System race, showing that anyone can be a part of science

If you care about giving society the best shot at solving our most important and wide-reaching problems, then we invite you to partner with us. We need people from all walks of life to be involved, in every town, city and village, from all the UK’s science and non-science organisations 

There are many ways you can make a difference: 

  • Volunteer with one of our UK-wide branches to reach the communities and people that matter to you;  
  • Take part in science engagement activities by hosting an event during British Science Week or signing up to Science Live;  
  • You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook – and please share our posts far and wide to help spread the message; 
  • Volunteer for one of our advisory boards or other committees, or keep an eye opefor our staff vacancies;  
  • Make a regular or one-off donation to support our work. Most of our initiatives are free and we want to keep it this way, so that everyone can access them; 
  • Support our work by helping us identify new relationships with corporate partners or trusts and foundations. 

We care about making society a better place and we believe that science is a key part of this process. Help us champion the message that science is not just for scientists, to transform the diversity and inclusivity of science and open it up for more people to be able to access, identify with and enjoy. 

If you have any questions or would like to get involved with the British Science Association, please contact: [email protected] @Kath_Math