Glasgow Science Centre (c) Florian Fuchs

Wellcome unveils capital fund for science centres

Simon Stephens, 13.07.2016
£30m initiative to help engage the public
The Wellcome Trust is to open a £30m fund to support UK science centres next month.

The Inspiring Science Fund, which is co-funded by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Wellcome, is designed to support UK science centres and attractions to engage more people with the subject.

Greer Roberts, who has been coordinating the initiative at Wellcome, said the fund is a response to a 2014 BIS consultation into science investment that identified public engagement as a priority.

“It is hard to predict, but the impression we have is that there is a real need that the fund is designed to meet so we expect a good take-up,” Roberts said.

The fund is based on a proposal made by the Association for Science and Discovery Centres, which brings together more than 60 major science engagement organisations in the UK.

Organisations will be able to request from £150,000 to £3m. The first preliminary application deadline is in October.

The Inspiring Science Fund support projects that:

  • create opportunities for young people and the public to learn and engage with science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem).
  • sustain and extend the centre's audience base, with an increased focus on underrepresented and underserved audiences.
  • could improve the organisation's financial sustainability and resilience.

Who can apply

The Inspiring Science Fund will be open to existing not-for-profit or charitable science centres in the UK.

Who can't apply

  • UK national museums and museums or attractions sponsored by central government.
  • projects eligible for capital funding from national lottery distributors such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council (UK) or Big Lottery fund.
  • capital projects dedicated to engaging the public with historic collections.

The Glasgow Science Centre (pictured above) is one of the many venues that delegates at the Museums Association annual conference will be able to visit. The conference takes place on 7-9 November - early-bird booking is now open.