Putting people at the heart of science

The British Science Association (BSA) is a charity that works with partners across the UK to bring people and science together.

We improve young peoples’ experiences of science in their education. We work with community groups and grassroots organisations to give them opportunities to be involved in science. We showcase the amazing work of researchers and academics through our events and activities. We advocate for a more inclusive science community.

Our mission

The BSA believes that all of society should be included in science.

We bring people and science together in ways that will have a lasting, positive impact on communities, research, and society.

Our three-year goals for 2024-27 put our audiences at the heart of the work we do – we will be led by their needs first.


Goal 1: Transform science education for all young people

For most of us, our relationship with science starts at school – the experiences we have in the classroom shape the connection we have with science in later life.

Therefore, it is vital that every young person learns about the diverse range of role models who have forged a career in science and engineering. They must also be given the opportunity to actually do science – the experience of running their own investigative project can be transformational for a young person still working out what they want to do in their future.

By 2027, the BSA wants the science curriculum to be more relevant to young people and to offer more opportunities for them to take the lead on science projects and practical investigations as part of their education.

We will also champion and showcase a wider range of diverse role models in science.

Related work:

Goal 2: Put communities at the heart of research and innovation

The BSA believes that everyone in the UK should feel included in science, yet we know that isn’t the case. Many people, from a wide range of backgrounds, feel excluded from science. They don’t trust science and research to represent their values and views. They aren’t offered a seat at the table.

For science and research, it isn’t enough to just offer that seat. We need to build trust and equal relationships between seldom heard communities and the research sector, a process that demands time, perseverance and mutual respect.

We know from experience that re-balancing the power dynamics between communities and the research sector is beneficial for everyone. It leads to better research, fairer institutions, and a society that is more actively engaged.

By 2027, the BSA will have led a sector-wide shift that places communities and researchers on equal ground in their interactions together.  

We will develop an evidence-based model for change, rooted in lived experience, for funders, partners and other leaders in the sector to use.

Related work:

Goal 3: Give the public a voice on science decisions

It is important that decisions about UK science reflect the views of not only those that work in the research and innovation sector, but also wider society, especially those from communities who are often overlooked.

Over the last decade, the BSA has established connections with a wide range of groups and communities. Over time we have nurtured these connections to ensure that we can offer seldom heard communities a platform to speak from.

By 2027, the BSA will have influenced a change in how decisions about science are made. Seldom heard communities, including young people, will be given greater opportunity to have a say on topics that affect their lives and livelihoods.

Related work:

Goal 4: Drive towards a more representative science community

Currently, the workforce in the science, technology and engineering sectors does not fully represent the diversity of the wider UK population.

This lack of representation poses a significant challenge to the UK’s aspirations for a lower-carbon, innovation-led economy. 

We believe that using science investments to tackle the exclusion of UK regions and of groups including Black people, women, disabled people and the LGBTQ+ community, will help in addressing current skills shortages, bring more innovation, and create more equitable economic opportunity.

By 2027, the BSA will have worked alongside Government to establish a greater commitment to improving the equity, diversity and inclusion of science, technology and engineering.

Related work:

Goal 5: Champion the role of science festivals

The UK has an incredibly rich and varied range of science festivals – from local grassroots celebrations all the way up to large-scale national events that attract thousands of visitors.

The BSA believes that science festivals are an important part of the cultural make-up of a place. They offer ways for people and communities to connect, explore and shape the world around them, through partnership, collaboration, and access to opportunities. However, their impact is often overlooked.

By 2027, the BSA wants festivals to be recognised as an essential contributor to their communities, through the relationships they build between science, local partners and audiences.

Related work:

We have ambitious goals to put people at the heart of science. If you share our vision and ambition, we would love to hear from you.