On 14 June 2021, the British Science Association released a showcase report offering a closer look at our community engagement programmes and what we have learnt from them so far. 

What began as a pilot to enable more people to run events during British Science Week in 2015, has since grown into a series of programmes supporting hundreds of community groups each year, working with people that are underserved and underrepresented in science.

The showcase report is intended to provide an overview of what these programmes have achieved using participant interviews and annual evaluations.

The programmes, detailed in the showcase report, include Community Leaders and Community Buddies, as well as a series of grant schemes such as the UKSFN Making Connections Grants, COVID-19 Community Innovation Grants and British Science Week Community Grants. An estimated 77,000 people have taken part in projects funded by the British Science Week Community Grants alone.  

These community engagement programmes were initially funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and since 2019 have been funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).


The showcase report highlights the learning process and the journey the BSA has undertaken over recent years. For instance, we have listened to community leaders, many of whom are volunteers without the time or resources to complete complex forms, and simplified the application process for microgrants, making it as straightforward as possible (pages 8 and 11).

If youre a small charity, you dont have someone that is able to go through pages and pages of application forms. It just becomes a barrier to engaging and taking that next step. - Marsha Fisher, Sutton African & Caribbean Cultural Organisation (British Science Week Grant recipient).

We have also acted on requests to build on the skills and experience of community leaders in delivering science engagement by establishing the Community Leaders Programme (pages 12-17).

It allows you to be able to tap into different skill sets and to build your confidence as a science engager. Becoming a BSA Community Leader also gives you a sense of validation that if youre able to deliver work thats been given the BSAs seal of approval, it must mean that it is a quality provision. - Carmel Britto, LPF Kiddies Club (Community Leader).

And, more recently, connected these leaders with scientists in their local area, creating opportunities to collaborate on science engagement activities that are relevant to the needs of their own communities through the Community Buddy Programme (pages 18-23).

The showcase report is not intended as a comprehensive analysis of the impact of these engagement programmes, rather to provide an overview of what these programmes have achieved using participant interviews and annual evaluations.

We hope that by sharing what we have learned, the showcase report will not only inform funders and other stakeholders in the science engagement sector, but the stories of those who have been involved in these programmes will inspire other community leaders in the future.

For more information about the work the British Science Association does to support and engage with community groups, please visit our Community Engagement page and follow BSA Communities on Twitter.

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

Back to Community Engagement