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Recognition for an Informal Science Learning professional

Professor John Beetlestone was one of the pioneers of ‘informal learning in science’ (ISL) of the 20th century. Are you, or someone you know, following in his footsteps?

This award is to recognise a senior person in the sector – someone still in post in the UK, not a retiree – who has already made or is clearly creating a significant legacy for the field.

Professor John Beetlestone (1932-2017) was the founding director of the UK’s first purpose-built science discovery centre, Techniquest in Cardiff. The centre was his idea, and he led it through three phases of development until his retirement in 1997.

In partnership with BIG, a small group of John Beetlestone’s former colleagues set up this Award scheme in his name in 2018. This Award has been made possible through the generosity of the Beetlestone family and other private donors. 

The Prize

  • UK-wide recognition amongst your peers in the ISL field.
  • The Beetlestone Award trophy, to keep.
  • A personal award of £500*
  • A bursary of up to £500* to facilitate dissemination (see below)
  • Your conference fee paid (should you wish to attend) to this year's BIG Event, a 3-day conference to network with and present to a diverse range of STEM engagement professionals from across the sector.
*Payments will be made in pounds sterling only.

Selection Panel

The Selection Panel will include the Awardee(s) from the previous year, representatives from the Organising Committee and BIG, and Ken Gleason, Museum Consultant, Hands-on Science, Goldsboro, Maine, USA.  It will be chaired in 2022 by Harry White.

Organising Committee

  • Colin Johnson OBE, ChairDirector of Techniquest 1997-2004

  • Ian Hall, Treasurer

  • Debbie Syrop, Public Engagement Officer, School of Engineering, Cardiff University

  • Harry White, Science Centre Consultant, HW Consult

  • Wendy Sadler MBE, Director, science made simple

How to Apply

Applications can be accepted in person, or through nomination by a third party.  In either case the nominee will be asked to complete a written application, which can be found here Beetlestone Application Process 2022 .pdf

Detailed guidance notes are available here Beetlestone Guidance Notes 2022 .pdf

How to Nominate

If you decide to nominate someone, you only have to supply their name and email address (not a supporting reference).  The name of the nominator will not be passed to the nominee unless you ask specifically for that to be done.  

Nominations should be sent to the chair of the organising committee at

The closing date for completed applications for this year’s Award is Tuesday 3rd May 2022, so don’t delay!

The Selection Panel will not enter into correspondence with applicants.  Submitting an application constitutes an acceptance that the Panel’s decision is final.

Awardee Responsibilities 

 - to present – through a creative contribution to a conference, workshop or online resource – a description of the work for which the Award has been made, explaining its relevance and application to the wider field of ISL.

- to share this information with the field, duly recognising the Beetlestone Award, in a relevant publication – whether in print or online.

The above presentation to take place within 12 months of the announcement of the Award, and the publication to appear no later than a further 12 months thereafter.

Previous Winners

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