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What is the Josh Award?

The Josh Award is a national prize for early-career science communicators who are passionate about continuing to work in this field in the future, including students, volunteers, researchers or creatives. 

The Award is inspired by and named in memory of Josh Phillips, who was the first Science Communication Officer at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum.  He proposed and ran the first Manchester Science Festival.

Josh was a much loved, much respected and highly talented science communicator, whose outstanding career is commemorated with this Award.  Josh was the Chair of BIG at the time of his death.

The Award is for Science and Showmanship, targeted to help stimulate and lead to a better future: fun with a purpose!

The Josh Award trophy

If you have an idea for a show-stopping science communication activity, the Josh Award can provide the platform, experience and support to help you bring it to reality.

Josh Phillips

What is the prize?

The Josh Award Winner will receive:

  • £500 to £2,500 depending on funds availability and need, to develop their project or event to be part of a Science Discovery Centre's programme, or at a UK Science Festival.  This budget includes all the costs and expenses (i.e. resources, travel, accommodation) for the project, and will be controlled by the sponsoring location and by the Josh Award Committee

  • The possibility of presenting your project or event at this year's British Science Festival, in East London, and the possibility of presenting it at the 2025 Cheltenham Science Festival.

  • Non-financial support from the sponsoring venue to further develop your winning proposal, as necessary, to fit logistics and practicalities of working in their setting

  • Opportunities for personal and professional development via the BiG network

  • Attending the annual BIG Event (conference fee and annual membership provided by BIG, worth around £300) to network with and present to a diverse range of science communicators from across the sector

  • The 2024 BIG Event will take place on 24-26 July in Cardiff

  • Attending professional training sessions with the Science Museum Group's Academy

  • A personal prize cheque of £2,000 from the Josh Award Fund

  • The Josh Award trophy, to hold and to hand on to the next winner, at the 2026 BiG Event

Thus, the total prize fund can be up to £4,800 + invaluable support from sci-comm professionals

Who is it for?

Practitioners in the early stages of their career, to enhance how they engage people with STEAM. 

We welcome applicants who will bring a valuable difference to our sector, either through the audiences they work with or via their own leading edge creative practice, or both!  So, you may be a:-

  • full-time, part-time or volunteer science communicator, with a passion to grow your practice

  • science communication practitioner through various aspects of your job, e.g. as an artistic, creative practitioner working with STEAM, a Freelance Science Communication Professional, a Science Centre Presenter,or a researcher at a University who loves doing community focused science communication as well as academic research and teaching
  • representative, leader or participant in a local community group interested in using a STEAM topic to a greater extent, to engage their local neighbourhood more with science

We welcome applications from both individuals and groups, and accept initial nominations.

The Award is open to anyone involved in STEAM communication in the UK and is a UK resident.

What is the purpose of the Award?

To recognise and nurture emerging talent within contemporary STEAM communication and engagement, prioritising innovation and creative practice, so as to foster involvement in and a deeper understanding of science**, across many community sectors, including the harder to reach ones.

What are the objectives of the Award?

  • To strengthen and evolve the innovative and creative practice of STEAM communication

  • To support the development of an innovative project or event for Science Discovery Centres or at Science Festivals, or both.

  • To develop the winner’s professional network, via partnership opportunities and skills training

  • To enhance the winner’s experience and strengthen their sci-comm leadership vision through involvement in a large-scale Science Festival or with a Science Discovery Centre. 

Read all about the previous winners of the Josh Award, here

How do I apply?

To apply, complete the online form when it opens. BIG will announce this, so make sure to keep an eye on BIG's social media and Latest News.  

The winner is chosen by the Judging Panel, made up of: The Association for Science Discovery Centres, the UK Science Festivals Network, the BIG STEM Communicators Network, the Josh Award Foundation, and the previous Winner, by judging the applicant's potential and the potential of their proposed activity. 

Good luck!

The Josh Award is sponsored by the Association for Science Discovery Centres (ASDC), the UK Science Festivals Network, (UKSFN), and by the BIG STEM Communicators Network (BIG). 

Jon Chase accepting the Josh Award in 2017

© BIG STEM Communicators Network

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