As part of its commitment to growing and diversifying the community of people interested and involved in science, the British Science Association runs the British Science Week Community Grant Scheme.

British Science Week is an annual grassroots celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths that happens every March. The mission of the Community Grant Scheme is to expand the audiences that engage with science and self-identify as having an interest in science by empowering and supporting community groups to run their own science activities during British Science Week. The scheme offers grants for community groups that work directly with audiences who are traditionally under-represented and currently not engaged in science activity, specifically:

  • people who are Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME)
  • people with low socio economic status (SES)
  • young people with anti-social behaviour, including those not in education, employment or training (NEET)
  • people with a disability, defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term effect on someone’s ability to do normal daily activities (Equalities Act 2010)
  • people living in a remote and rural location

British Science Week 2016 evaluation

For British Science Week 2016, 50 grants of £500 supported a range of events, including sports science sessions with football and boxing clubs, community-created science exhibitions in mosques, community gardens and pubs, community-led research projects, and scientifically-informed art activities. The scheme is estimated to have engaged over 16,000 people.

Our evaluation of the 2016 scheme found that overall grant-supported activities attracted more marginalised groups and audiences with lower SES. 76% of event attenders were first-time participants in British Science Week, and 81% of attenders who didn’t work in a science-related job recorded an increase in their level of interest in science as a result of attending a grant-funded event. The impact on levels of interest in science for BAME attenders was particularly positive, with 53% of those who didn’t work in a science-related job saying they were much more interested in science after attending an event, compared to 32% of White attenders.

Case studies interviews of some of the 2016 grant recipients got to the root of why supporting community-run science activities is crucial for reaching under-represented audiences:

“Science is one of those things that I think people without money, without the ability to go to some big science museum or science project, which kids love, can’t do. So to bring science right into the heart of their community and make it accessible to them has done something really good because it’s made people sit up and think ‘yeah, this is something that I can engage with, something about me and my world’, which they would never have seen and done before.” - Steve Williams, Centre and Project Manager, OASIS Community Centre

British Science Week 2017

Based on the success of the scheme in 2015 and 2016, the British Science Association expanded the scheme for British Science Week 2017. In December 2016 we awarded 128 grants, including traditional £500 grants and introducing larger grants of up to £1000:

  • £500 grants for community groups to run one or more events during British Science Week
  • Up to £1000 grants for community groups to run one or more events during British Science Week, as well as follow-up activities that will lead to continued engagement after British Science Week.

The British Science Association will again be evaluating the impact the scheme this year. 

How do I apply?

Additional information about the grant scheme, including the grant guidelines and information on how to apply, can be found on the British Science Week website. Please note that applications are usually open October to November for events for the subsequent year's British Science Week.