The British Science Association's (BSA) vision is of a future where science is seen as a fundamental part of culture and society at large, instead of set apart from it. Currently, science is seen as the domain of professionals and experts.

But other parts of our society – look at business, politics, media, art, or sport, for instance – are seen as being there for anyone to own and engage in if they want to.

Like science, each of these areas have an expert, professional class. But unlike science they also have a broader community that feels a sense of identity and ownership within that field.

We’re talking about the people who buy the t-shirt, go to the gig, castigate the team or party leader, pick up their paintbrush or instrument or camera of a weekend, or simply enjoy a kickabout.

By and large, we don’t have these people in science. There are a growing number of exceptions – activists, biohackers, pop-science fans – but science is still seen as “that thing that scientists do”.

Taking science out of the cultural ghetto

The result is that science is under-valued in education, government, journalism, culture, finance, and elsewhere. Should we be surprised that politicians and business leaders undervalue science, when it’s not something they can feel a part of?

But it also risks a crisis in our capacity for decision-making. Society’s biggest challenges and opportunities – pandemics, climate change, cyber-security, the future of cities, food security – are all-too-often seen as scientific issues, there to be debated and decided upon by scientists.

The truth is that none of them will be solved by an experiment or ‘Eureka’ moment. Each of them requires a partnership between science and the rest of society – whether that’s entrepreneurs, artists, civic leaders, medical professionals, farmers, policymakers, or the general public.

So we need to take science out of its cultural ghetto and make it something that belongs to a wider community; to rebrand science from being an exclusive 'profession' or a ‘subject’, to something that is seen as a fundamental and inclusive part of our society.

Our mission

Our mission is to support, grow and diversify the community of people who are interested and involved in science; and to strengthen their influence over science’s direction and place in society.

For instance, we want:
  • Science education’s purpose to be for creating a society which is comfortable with science and excited by discovery, not just training a scientific workforce

  • Politicians to be trusted and accountable for making decisions informed by science, whether or not they have a background in science themselves

  • The media to be confident in both its critique and its support of science 

  • Influencers at all levels and in all sectors in society to see science as part of their domain, and their responsibility.

Our approach

We will do more to encourage people to engage with science, become ambassadors for science, and ultimately be empowered to challenge, enjoy, and influence British science - whether they are scientists or not.

We will create more partnerships to ensure that more communities, cultural institutions and public spaces are celebrating and giving people opportunities to participate in science. And we plan to promote more Citizen Science, as well as lead public debate on hot topics.

Find out about how we work to achieve these goals through a range of projects and programmes: for young people; educators; professional scientists and science communicators; our volunteers and members; and science enthusiasts.