News for the UK’s Science & Discovery Centres

Welcome to our January newsletter

Wishing you all a warm and wonderful New Year on these snowy days. Here at ASDC we look forward to 2010 with a great deal of optimism and a number of collaborative events in the pipeline to help you share ideas and best practice with colleagues across the UK.

Each year, 20 million people of all ages and all backgrounds visit the organisations within our membership. About half are adults and half are children. As we begin to tackle the major global issues of the coming decades, we increasingly need to build a shared ownership of the decision-making process with all areas of society. This means policy-makers working in true collaboration with scientists, experts and the public, with all parties listening to and learning from one another.

Science and discovery centres, science museums, science festivals and our other members are already leading lights in this area and we look forward to this role increasing over the coming years.

Wishing you, your staff and visitors a wonderful 2010
Dr Penny Fidler, The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres



Measuring your impact... next steps

Last summer BIS published a report into the impact of science centres in England. It concluded that neither the BIS-funded science and society organisations, nor the science centres in England collected sufficient consistent and comparative data to assess impact. Whilst there was general disappointment over the methodology of the research, ASDC have taken up the challenge proffered by BIS to create, before the end of March this year, the first steps in a mechanism that science & discovery centres could use to measure their impact. Because our membership also includes science festivals, DCMS museums, outreach-only organisations and a variety of others, our mechanism would need to be very flexible, easy to use and helpful to our members.

Clearly there are hundreds of ways of defining our impact. We are in agreement with BIS that the mechanism should not measure long-term impact, and should measure what we (ASDC and our members) feel is important in terms of our impact.

All our members measure the impact of their work, just in different ways. In January we will be surveying members to find out what systems you currently use and will then ask for your shaping of any system we propose. We fully appreciate that since this data collection would not be funded by BIS, it would need to be simple, easy to collect indicators of our successes, that measure both outputs (quantitative) and outcomes (qualitative). Any member who would like to offer advice is encouraged to contact us via

EU 2020 Strategy Public Consultation

In his political guidelines for the European Commission, President Barroso set out his vision for 2020.

To make this transformation happen, Europe needs a common agenda: the EU 2020 strategy.

The Commission would like to hear your views on some suggested broad policy considerations for the future EU2020 strategy. A public consultation process has begun which closes on 15 January 2010. eu2020/consultation_en.htm


BBC Science Want You!

Do your visitors have an experiment they want to conduct? A pet theory they want to test out? BBC Science wants to know.

During 2010, the BBC is providing a unique opportunity for ordinary people to do some extraordinary science.

Anyone aged 16+ can apply, as long as you aren't already a professional scientist. If you’re selected as one of our four finalists, you’ll be given the opportunity to turn your idea into a bona fide experiment to carry out yourself. You’ll be working from your kitchen table or garden shed, but aided by some of the country’s top researchers.

So you want to be a scientist launches on Material World on 7 Jan on BBC Radio 4. Visit for details of how to apply.

We will email your network reps with details of how to get flyers to engage your visitors.

Network of Science & Discovery Centre Representatives

Every member organisation now has a nominated representative who is responsible for sharing national and strategic information from ASDC with colleagues in their centres, as well as networking with colleagues nationwide.

This infrastructure has worked particularly well over the past months as we have shared various opportunities and we will be sending each Rep a more formal 'UK Science Centre Reps' pack for the new year.


Oasis Computers for Charity

Are you a charity needing new computers?

Oasis Computers for Charity exists to equip charities with high quality refurbished computers. They refurbish to the highest standards in partnership with Microsoft, and are themselves a charity.

This service is offered exclusively to charities who are registered in the UK with the Charities Commission. You will be asked to confirm your charitable status before computers are dispatched.

For further information please visit the Oasis Computers for Charity website:

Charity Commission Latest News

Charity Commission News is a twice-yearly newsletter to keep trustees and the public up-to-date with the important issues affecting charities. You might wish to share this with your trustees

This edition contains:


Funding opportunities are now regularly updated on our website.

Europe-wide nanotechnology dialogue opportunity

ASDC will be offering our member organisations the opportunity to take part in the UK delivery of our EU-funded nanotechnology dialogue project. The invitation to tender will be sent to all Network Reps in January and will involve running two ‘nano-days’ with your visitors and local schools. ‘Nano-kits’ will be supplied for you and your teachers. We will be looking for five members to host these events across 2010/2011.


2010: The BBC Year of Science

Delightfully, the BBC has nominated 2010 as their Year of Science. Along with the excellent ‘Bang goes the Theory’ and Roadshow there will be a variety of other events and activities across the year.

How to get involved...?

As with all these national partnerships, we’ll send invitations to participate to your organisation’s nominated Network Reps.

International Year of Biodiversity – 2010

2010 is the International year of Biodiversity. Help celebrate it by adding your biodiversity-related events to the central website. The events on this website are fed to interested media groups.

To register as an event organiser go to:
Please tick that your event is ‘Part of International Year of Biodiversity’, and highlight ‘International Year of Biodiversity’ as a keyword.

If you have other news and stories of success, send these to

Adult Learners Week 2010

Adult Learners’ Week is the UK’s largest and longest running learning campaign. Held each May, it encourages thousands of adults, whatever their age and background, to give learning a go. Adult Learners’ Week will take place from 15-21 May 2010.

Nominations are now open for Adult Learners’ Awards 2010. If you know an outstanding adult learner whose remarkable achievements have transformed lives, nominate them for an award!

There are also a range of opportunities available for sponsorship of National Awards and other Adult Learners’ Week activities. To find out how to become an Adult Learners' Week sponsor or to nominate someone for an award visit

National Science & Engineering Week 2010

Next year, National Science and Engineering Week's theme will be ‘Earth’ and thousands of events will take place across the country between 12-21 March 2010.

For more information please visit


Kids in Museums, the Guardian Award 2009: ASDC Members shortlisted

The Guardian Award 2009

The biggest museum award in Britain has managed to whittle down the huge piles of nominations for the 2009 Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award, and here at ASDC we are delighted to see many of our members in the final 20.

Our congratulations go to Thinktank in Birmingham, The Horniman Museum in London, Porthcurno Telegraph Museum in Cornwall, Snibsten Discovery Park in Leicestershire and The World Museum in Liverpool, who have all been short-listed in the biggest ever year for nominations.

We wish them luck in the next stage where a panel of judges chaired by Jenny Abramsky of the Heritage Lottery Fund will select some for ‘road-testing’ by families.

For updates and further details of this award please visit

IUCN releases climate change hit list

Just prior to Copenhagen, the IUCN released a report profiling the species-level impacts of global warming.

According to the report, Species and Climate Change, some of the Earth’s most iconic species, such as the emperor penguin, koala and leatherback turtle, are amongst those expected to be hardest hit. 20091214-iucn-releases-climate-change-hit-list.html


Dialogue Academies: Funded staff training

ASDC in collaboration with At-Bristol and five other UK Science and Discovery Centres are delighted to offer funded dialogue and facilitation training to professional science engagement staff.

The costs of travel, accommodation, food and training will all be covered for all participants securing a place at the academy.

The first academy took place with great success in Bristol in September, with the next in Thinktank (this is now full).

We are now inviting participants for:

Our partners in this project are At-Bristol, Thinktank, Glasgow Science Centre, Centre for Life, and The Living Rainforest. The project is supported by The Wellcome Trust.

The academies are targeted at all visitor-facing staff who organise or deliver dialogue events, or would like to start involving visitors in dialogue.

We urge staff to seize this excellent opportunity which will also enable your staff to network and see other centres. Travel will be paid from any part of the UK to any academy. Up to 5 members of staff can apply from each organisation.

Click here for information

Visitor Studies Group one day conference and AGM
Audience segmentation: Identifying and understanding your visitors

29th January 2010: Sackler Centre, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Visitors come along with a variety of backgrounds, motivations, goals and needs. It’s not practical to develop a unique offer for every individual, so how can we best categorise our visitors and meet their needs? And what about those who don’t visit?

Speakers include:

For more information contact Georgina Bishop 020 7942 6028 or

Sustainability - where are we going?

Conferences 2010: Sustainability in the Public Education Sector
Two specialist conferences for trustees, CEOs, senior officers and educationalists hosted by The Living Rainforest.

Sustainability - Where Are We Going?
Strategic pathways to sustainability in the public education sector
Wednesday 24th March 2010, 10am-4.30pm

Embedding Sustainability
Practical pathways for operational and educational practice in public education organisations
Wednesday 22nd September 2010, 10am-4.30pm

Science Communication Conference

24 and 25 May, 2010, London

ASDC encourages its science & discovery centres’ members to attend this conference.

The Conference addresses the key issues facing science communicators in the UK and each year brings together people who are involved in public engagement. It is also well attended by many policy and Government staff.

The theme for the Conference will be ‘Audiences for engagement’ and can involve experts from other disciplines who have engaged successfully with certain audiences, not necessarily about science.

The oldest science academy in the world celebrates its 350th anniversary

Our warmest wishes to the Royal Society who this year celebrate their 350th anniversary. The Royal Society will be holding a full programme of activities throughout the year and across the country. Highlights include a nine-day science festival at the Southbank Centre, incorporating the Royal Society’s annual Summer Science Exhibition. In addition, The Royal Society will also be working with museums, galleries and other institutions, both in London and throughout the UK, to celebrate science and scientists.

Visit their website for further information on all 2010 events

Wildscreen Wildlife Film Festival

10-15 October 2010

The next Wildscreen Wildlife and Environmental Film Festival is 10-15 October 2010 in Bristol, UK. For information, visit the Festival page on the Wildscreen website: or download the 2008 Summary:

The Call for Entries for Wildscreen's prestigious film competition - the Panda Awards - will be posted in early 2010.

Professional Development Workshops at the Exploratorium
Institute for Inquiry, San Francisco, U.S.A.

Assessing for Learning
3-5 February 2010

Through activities with materials and reflective discussions, this three-day workshop provides an in-depth overview of formative assessment as an integral part of science teaching.

Fundamentals of Inquiry
2-6 March 2010

In this five-day workshop you will explore ways to support classroom teachers in moving from structured, hands-on science with teacher-prescribed directions to a more inquiry-based approach allowing students to raise and investigate questions.

For information visit

or email Chris Koenig at


Northern science busker gets national award

The Northern representative of science made simple has won the 2009 Joshua Phillips Award for Innovation in Science Engagement (The Josh Award).

The award was presented to David Price during the Manchester Science Festival (24 October – 1 November 2009). David performs science shows in schools throughout the North and also busks about science on the streets of Greater Manchester.

The Look Out on the road – Education and Fun!

The Look Out Discovery Centre has a new exciting project called ‘The Look Out on the Road’ which will be launched early in 2010.

Thousands of school children enjoy visiting The Look Out each year, and now staff from The Look Out can take extra activities to schools.

The staff of The Look Out will be offering a variety of fantastic challenge workshops on themes such as Mars Mission Madness, Bridge Builder, Solar Power and Waste Not, Want Not!
For more information

The Association for Science and Discovery Centres

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