The British Science Association (BSA) is looking for researchers to take part in our Community Buddies scheme. If you are from one of the areas listed below and are interested in being involved, please get in touch via the expression of interest form.

EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FORM

We’ve been working with community organisers for the last seven years. They’ve told us that they rarely have access to researchers. The appetite to work collaboratively is there, and many communities are looking for local science role models who can help build their engagement activities and insight into research.

This is why we’ve created the Community Buddies Programme, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The programme connects Community Leaders with local researchers, sparking new ideas and driving innovative community-led science engagement.

The programme aims to:

  • Create greater empathy and understanding between researchers and communities; 
  • Support researchers and communities to create authentic, mutually beneficial relationships with equal sharing of power;
  • Increase the skills and capabilities of both researchers and communities to engage with each other.

What are the benefits?

Researchers that took part said they found the buddy programme gave them:

  • Understanding, insight, and connection with their local communities;
  • Increased skills and capabilities to develop long-term engagement and impact projects linked to their research;
  • Fresh perspectives and ideas for their work as a researcher;
  • Authentic, mutually beneficial relationships;
  • Innovative collaborations that benefit both the local community and their research.

For those that have built successful relationships, there will be the opportunity to apply for project funding, although this phase of the programme will be discussed later down the line. Read more about our current Community Buddy grant recipients in this recent blog.

Community Buddy grant recipients blog

Locations

We have successfully run this programme for two years, and we’re now looking for a new set of researchers to buddy with our latest cohort of Community Leaders in these areas: 

Town/City

Region

Community Leader's Organisation

Belfast

Northern Ireland

The Black Box

Bristol

South West

Bristol Multi Faith Forum

Burnley

North West England

Pennine Lancashire Community Farm

Buxton

East Midlands

Serpentine Community Garden

Coventry

West Midlands

West Indian Community Action

Milton Keynes

South East

VICTA

Oban

Argyll and Bute

The Rockfield Centre

Oldham

North West

Oldham Libraries

Orkney

Northern Isles of Scotland

Transition North Ronaldsay

Sunderland

North East

International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS)

What’s involved?

To be part of the programme, you must:

  • Live locally to one of our 2021-22 Community Leaders (see below for the list of areas);
  • Be a researcher actively linked to a university or research institution;
  • Attend one half-day online introductory session in September of 2022;
  • Commit to meeting with your buddy at least six times between September 2022 – March 2023;
  • Take part in a ‘community of practice’ to share your experience with other buddy pairs in three online sessions during the programme and one in-person meeting in London in March 2023;
  • Set aside any pre-determined agendas when you first meet and be open to developing any outcomes together using a relational mindset*.

In late summer 2022, we’ll pair researchers with Community Leaders and provide an online introductory session. We then ask buddy pairs to meet for a minimum of six sessions between September – March. How you use these and what you talk about is up to you; this is an opportunity to get to know each other’s work, interests and organisations and see what may develop.

* We will provide training on relational meetings in the introductory session, supported by Citizens UK. With this approach, we ask that you discover common interests and goals, to develop a relationship rather than starting with a specific project in mind: any projects or ideas that follow develop from this shared space.

The BSA will organise regular informal check-ins to see how your relationship is developing and to offer support.

Expressing interest

If you live in one of the following areas and would like to get involved, please complete the short expression of interest form by 5 pm on Monday, 4 July 2022.

Expression of interest form

On the form, you will be asked for the following:

  • Name and contact information
  • University/institution and role
  • Location (town/city)
  • A few lines about your research
  • Brief details on any previous community engagement experience
  • Information on your institutional support
  • Why you are interested in taking part.

No previous experience with community engagement is required. We’ll get in touch with the next steps.

Find out more about the Community Buddy programme in this Q&A blog, where we asked a Community Buddy pair about their experience. 

You can learn more about our programme of community engagement work here. If you have any questions, please get in touch at [email protected]