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  • 20 Jun 2024 12:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    THE COUNTDOWN TO CARDIFF IS ON!

    Book 1, 2 or all 3 days of the conference or join us online with our hybrid ticket option.



    1. This is not a conference where your days are pre-determined

    The first thing you might notice about BIG is that there are roughly a hundred different things happening at once (I’m pretty sure this is factually accurate…). With 4 or 5 different sessions happening in each slot, everything can seem a bit overwhelming when you walk in on day one. My advice would be to have a look at the programme before you get there, and see what you might be interested in for each slot. I don’t think there's a right or wrong way to choose, but it’s useful to remember that you won’t be able to attend everything! I also find that, if you do miss a session you were interested in, people that did attend it will always be happy to share what they learnt!

    2. This is not a conference where your mind switches off for 3 days

    I know a conference does feel like a nice way to get some days off work (or away from uni in my case), but I can tell you for a fact that you will not leave this conference well rested as if you’ve been on holiday! Everyone I spoke to on Friday was still incredibly smiley, but we all agreed that we were exhausted. Between all the sessions, plenty of coffee and biscuits, the conference meal and everything else happening across the three days, you’ll be kept very busy (so maybe make sure you have very little to do that weekend…)

    3. This is not a conference where you’ll be on your own if you don’t know people

    I know saying ‘Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone at the conference’ is far easier said than done, but I promise it is true. It was something I was really apprehensive about before I arrived on the Wednesday. The very first session of the conference was enough to quash these worries – the BIG mingle introduced me to a lot of people very quickly. (I am going to qualify this by saying this might not be for everyone, and if it isn’t there’s still plenty of time to meet people in a calmer way!) In the mingle, you have about a minute to introduce yourself, your work and why you’re at the conference, in a group of maybe 4 or 5, and do that 5 or 6 times to try and meet lots of people super quickly. This helped me to find some friends who I spent the rest of the conference with, but also find some people whose research was similar to mine, or whose careers I was really interested to learn more about! My advice, if meeting people is something you’re anxious about, is to work on your quick elevator pitch, so that you don’t panic when you introduce yourself throughout the weekend.

    4. This is not a conference where everyone’s coming from the same background, or even the same careers

    This is particularly advice for anyone like me, who’s going into the conference as an early career (or for me, yet to begin career) science communicator. You’ll find that there’s an incredible number of people who have come from around a million different backgrounds, doing all sorts of different careers, who all meet at BIG. I think that’s what makes the conference so incredible! But it also definitely can make things feel a bit overwhelming if you’re trying to work your way into the sector. It’s important to remember that while some people have been explainers, some people have done PhDs, some people did teacher training, there is no one path to making it into science communication. Learning what other people have done can give you inspiration for your next steps, but don’t let it make you feel like you haven’t done the right things!

    5. This is not a conference where people take things too seriously

    I think this is the best news for any new attendees of the conference – this is absolutely not a suit or heels kind of conference (unless that’s how you feel most confident, then I guess go for it!). For most of us though, jeans, shorts, sneakers –whatever floats your boat. But this relaxed atmosphere is also present in so many areas of the conference, from the card of shame for losing your name tag, to the incredibly supportive atmosphere at the Best Demo competition, this is perhaps the most friendly conference you’ll attend (I don’t think I went more than 15 minutes without bursting into laughter the whole conference long). That also means if you ever need a bit of a break, if you want to sit out a session or need to duck out for any reason, everyone is incredibly understanding and it’s not something you need to be worried about!

    I hope these 5 tips give you a taste of what the conference might be like, but the headlines are it's an incredible conference where you’ll learn so much, and you’ll meet so many amazing people! The whole BIG team are there to help make you comfortable, so you’ll have a great time. Enjoy it!

    Amelia Doran is the Communications and Public Engagement Coordinator for Planetary Health Informatics, a research lab at the University of Oxford. You can follow her on X, Bluesky and Instagram @scicommelia or connect with her on LinkedIn 

    Look out for Amelia in Cardiff and if it's your first conference this year, or you're also new to your Scicomm career, she will be more than happy to chat! 


  • 28 May 2024 7:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Chenying Liu!

    We are very pleased to announce that the winner of the Josh Award 2024 is Chenying Liu.

    Chenying is a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford University, working in engineering science. 

    She has worked on modern structures inspired by origami and uses inspiration from their exceptional mechanical properties to design robots and personal protective equipment.

    Her Josh award activity -"Sustainable Origami: Art, Robotics, Construction, and Space Exploration” will get audiences creating origami crafts, robotic grippers, deployable shelters and solar panels, using recycled materials.

    The judges were impressed by the combination of an accessible activity with contemporary science and engineering.

    A huge well done to our deserving winner!

    Chenying makes origami in the Special Structures Group in Jenkin Building, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. This later forms part of her video with Oxford Sparks - a platform to enhance the University's digital science engagement.

    Watch the Oxford Sparks video - Origami inspiration, 3D printing and robots

    A note from Chenying

    My work and the Josh Award

    Having practiced origami since childhood, I never dreamed that the paper folding art could be transformed into practical applications and benefit society in different domains.

    After finishing my undergraduate studies in Beijing, China, I relocated to the UK to pursue a D.Phil (Doctor of Philosophy, known as Ph.D. elsewhere) in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. I was fortunate to have two supervisors with complementary expertise: one introduced me to the fascinating world of origami engineering and the other encouraged me to explore its potential in advanced robotics. I ended up with a few exciting projects using origami principles: a gripper that can precisely handle fragile objects, a millipede-like robot that can change its morphology to adapt to the environment, and numerous structures that can morph into given shapes. With origami, the design of those robots has been greatly simplified and it has been much easier and more cost-efficient to synchronise their movements.

    Origami also goes beyond robotics and has found its way into other domains such as deployable solar panels and energy absorption materials, the latter of which forms part of my postdoctoral project. I am very keen to impart my passion for origami engineering to the general public via science communication. Having been involved in a series of University's public engagement initiatives and external science festivals, I was awarded an Award Lectureship from the British Science Association and will soon give a talk on my research at the 2024 British Science Festival (BSF)!

    Then, how is this related to the Josh Award? It is indeed a tremendous opportunity (both funding and training-wise) for me to further develop my talk into a series of interactive workshops for a wider range of audiences at the BSF and other Science Discovery Centre's programmes. I really hope this project could make science more accessible to the harder-to-reach communities, thereby providing them with fun and informative hands-on experience in engineering.

    You can follow Chenying on X @MorningChenying or connect on LinkedIn 

    Chenying and her peers at the 2022 International Women in Engineering Day, where they contributed to a series of outreach talks to A-level students who are self-identified as female or non-binary and interested in pursuing an engineering degree.

    This photo was taken on 23rd June 2022 in Thom Building, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. Left to right: Nadja Yang, Maitha Al Shimmari, Chenying Liu, Misha Patel, Frances Gawne

    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

    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.

    The winner is expected to:

    • Develop and deliver their project or event for the sponsoring venue(s), and ensure that it meets the Award's selection criteria
    • Meet expected deadlines and make themselves available for major dates agreed in advance
    • Attend The BIG Event 2024, present an audience-engaging case study of their project, and write it up for inclusion in the BIG newsletter after the project has been delivered
    • Receive the Josh Award Trophy at the BIG Event from the previous winner.
    • Proactively participate in relevant personal and professional development opportunities
    • Receive the personal prize cheque from the Josh Award Fund and meet the Josh Award Chairman
    • Be part of the Selection Panel for Josh Award 2026
    • Hand over the Award to the next winner at the 2026 BIG Event

    Congratulations to all of our applicants

    This year saw a large number of very impressive candidates for the Josh Award. Activities ranged from apps, animations and art installations to workshops and shows from a passionate group of applicants with diverse backgrounds. We wish them all well in their science communication careers and will be sharing more about their ideas and proposals on the BIG website very soon.

    Guilia Ponti, William Marler, Chloe Trotter, Emma Latta, Max Hughes,

    Amelia Doran, Gareth Campbell, Lee Parkin, Abi Fafolu and Danbee Kim.

    We would love to see you all as speakers at a future BIG Event!

    Thank you to our panel 

    James Piercy, Former Chair of BIG and Judging Panel Chair

    Kirsty Hayward, Chair, BIG 

    Shaaron Leverment, CEO ADSC 

    James Brown, Chair, UKSFN

    Mat Allen, Programme Manager, Cheltenham Science Festival

    Eva Ernstzen, 2022 Josh Award Winner

    Thank you also to Timothy Phillips, Family Representative and Steering Committee Chairman.

    Read all about The Josh Award here

    This message was sent to you by BIG - Stem Communicators N


  • 21 May 2024 10:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Booking is now open for The BIG Event 2024!

    Join us for just a day or two, the full conference, or online for our hybrid sessions.

    Taking place at Cardiff University from 24th - 26th July, come along to one of the best UK Scicomm events in the calendar.

    You can view this year's fantastic programme here - it's shaping up to be one of the best thanks to so many of our members contributing such creative session ideas.

    As well as our wonderfully curated programme, there are the usual favourites - ISTATOY, Best Demo Competition and the informal Thursday night dinner, which this year takes place at Techniquest.

    All booking options and registration details can be found here

    We look forward to welcoming you to Cardiff!

    Team BIG

  • 10 May 2024 2:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From the BIG event to the RI: How informal conversations created collaboration.

    Dan Plane (Royal institution), Robin Hayward (University of Leeds), Martin Khechara (University of Wolverhampton)


    The Royal Institution (Ri) has been a place for scientists, science communicators, and the public to come together since 1799. Through our series’ of talks and events we aim to engage people of all ages. Famously our Christmas Lectures, which have been running since 1825, target a young audience, but we don’t restrict ourselves to that one time of year to work with children and families.

    Three times a year we run a Family Fun Day (FFD). While our building is normally open to the public, and the museum can be explored, FFD adds to the offer by filling the building with things to see and do. Like a mini festival, there are make & takes, demonstrations, games and challenges, but of course, the centre piece of the building, our world-famous Lecture Theatre is filled with smiling faces as we present shows and talks suitable for the families. Our hope is that we will start some of the youngest visitors on their lifelong journey with science with these informative, exciting, and inspiring talks. Sometimes we present our own shows at FFD, but we like to mix it up and get interesting and varied people to inform, excite and inspire our families! This means we’re always on the look out for potential speakers and performers. And at BIG in 2023 I had the great fortune to meet all sorts of potential collaborators.

    Dan Plane


    Thoughts from Robin:

    I am the communication and engagement officer for all things tree research at the University of Leeds. It’s an amazing role that I’ve enjoyed now for two years – since finishing my own PhD, back when all this was just enthusiastic procrastination. With only a couple of years chatting science professionally outside of academia, I’m a relative newbie in the world of scicomm and BIG has been an amazing opportunity, both to meet people and to learn things I would never have considered for myself.

    I attended my first BIG Event in 2022 and, pretty much as soon as I got back to work, I told my manager that we should be making annual attendance a priority in our conference calendar. Returning to the BIG Event in 2023, I had a much better idea of what to expect when I arrived and was even co-running a session, compiling tips from across the breadth of scicomm. Following a first attempt in 2022, I was also determined to take part in the BIG Demo Competition, and this became the foundation of the show I ended up creating with the Ri.

    My job didn’t really include science shows in 2023. I did a few tabletop interactive demos at science fairs and lots of PowerPoint presentations, but BIG was really the only time I got to stand on stage and do a demo for a crowd. It was a great excuse to try something out and play with ideas of bringing science to life. Something I hadn’t considered was that it might also be something that Dan would see from the audience and invite me to come and present at the Ri! I was thrilled to be invited and to receive expert advice and logistical support as we developed a show all about seed dispersal. One of the big barriers to presenting demos at work has always been the investment in getting it off the ground but the Ri was able to supply the kit and the expertise to make it run smoothly. Now that I’ve done it once though, I can do it again, and because we know it works, it’s worth the investment to buy our own kit and bring this science into schools for 2024. A massive thanks to the Ri and to BIG for making it all happen!


    Thoughts from Martin:

    I am an associate professor for engagement in STEM, manager and creative director of the STEM Response Team at the University of Wolverhampton, a scicommer for 12 years and a member of BIG since 2018. 

    When I saw that the BIG event was coming to Birmingham in 2023 we didn’t even have to think about it. Session proposals were in and accepted and the team was going on tour! Our first workshop session at the conference was about using theatre practice for STEM engagement. I was humbled and nervous when so many of the people I respect for using performance in their scicomm turned up to take part. This included the demo team from the Royal Institution (Ri). We obviously made an impression with our costumes, slime and explosions as Dan Plane (Head of Demonstrations for the Ri) came to chat to me later about working together on workshops for the BIG event 2024. Since then, a brilliant collaboration has grown. Only a week or so later we were invited as a team to feature at the October Surprising Science Family Fun Day at the Ri in London. Now to me, the Ri is like a cathedral of scicomm and to go there, stand in their Theatre and speak to an audience has been a lifelong ambition. The time I spent at and the people I met at the BIG event, made it all happen. Without being there and contributing I wouldn’t have been able to have one of the proudest moments in my career so far. I just can’t thank everyone enough who made it possible. 


    Thoughts from Dan:

    I am Head of Public and Family Programmes at the Ri, which includes heading up the Demonstration Team here. While relatively new in this role, I have worked in scicomm since 2007, in science centres, outreach programmes, and as a freelancer. Part of my new role is to be on the lookout for interesting people to invite to the Ri and engage with our audiences.

    I saw Robin’s demo in the Best Demo Competition and as well as loving the clear, simple, and accessible explanation of the demo itself, what I really enjoyed was Robin’s presentation of it, and their clear passion for the topic across the whole event. I still have my Tree Identification Pen! I invited Robin to talk about seed dispersal at FFD and we worked together to put some demonstrations together to make the most of our space, which included dropping 100 paper whirlybirds from our 10m ceiling, and the seemingly ever-present barrel of balls explosion. I hope they don’t mind me saying, but seeds is a pretty niche subject, but Robin’s aforementioned passion, paired with the surprising and visual demonstrations had the audience, young and old alike, buzzing about a topic many of them may not have given much thought to. Perfection!

    Martin and Heather’s BIG session about theatre showed off their skills as engaging presenters and I could easily picture them in front of our family audience. The session also included a section about accidents, which inspired me to suggest a joint workshop at the next conference, hopefully more coming on that. For FFD we provided the STEM Response Team with a few materials, the odd bit of liquid nitrogen or hydrogen, all the normal stuff. They brought their experience, skill, and A-game to present a dynamic show with explosions, silliness, and a lot of laughs that got our audience pumped up for a day of science!

    I was really flattered how excited both Robin and Martin were about presenting in our Theatre. I hope that they felt it was welcoming and open, as we strive to be just that for everyone.

    I think this type of collaboration is win/win. The Ri gets great content and new speakers in our theatre, while outreach programmes based in Leeds and Wolverhampton get to expand their reach to a London audience. And on top of that, said audience get a great experience, so actually win/win/win!


    Some final thoughts: 

    As scicommers we all work in our own world. We have our own thing going on, our own local group of scicomm friends we do things with and our own programmes of engagement to manage. We change people’s lives that’s what we do but sometimes to do something truly amazing we all need to work together. This gives us chance to cross boundaries between subject area and practice to work in a truly interdisciplinary way. To exist in what could be called a ‘third space’ where these kinds of collaborations happen is fundamentally empowering for all those involved. However, collaboration takes friendship and trust between those that take part. It is clear that the BIG Event and the relationships that have developed have created just that. From a few conversations over dinner, true and fruitful interventions are developing and more importantly three more scicommers know two more people they can trust and rely on. Thanks BIG Event team, we’ll see you in Cardiff!




  • 30 Apr 2024 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are now delighted to be welcoming bursary applications for this year's BIG Event, which takes place at Cardiff University from 24th-26th July.

    For full details and to apply, head over to our Bursaries page

    BIG offers a handful of bursary places which will:

    • pay registration fees for the BIG Event
    • one year's BIG membership
    • give reasonable expenses to support your attendance at the BIG Event

    Eligibility

    Applicants must

    1. be BIG members at time of application;
    2. be within the first 5 years of their professional career in the STEM engagement sector in the UK;
    3. not have attended the BIG Event before.
    Applications will be scored 1-5 on the following attributes:
    • demonstrable commitment to professional development;
    • demonstrable commitment to the STEM engagement sector;
    • level of positive impact of attending conference on applicant's personal and professional development; and
    • relevance of work experience.

    Other assessment considerations

    Special consideration will be given to applicants from smaller organisations and to applicants who adopt a creative and thrifty approach to their travel and accommodation costs (for in-person events) as BIG is a not-for-profit organisation supported by its members.

    What will you have to do in return?

    Following attendance of the BIG Event, you will need to submit an article (approx. 400 words) for BIG’s e-newsletter about your conference attendance or a related topic which would be of use and interest to the BIG community. Expenses will be issued following receipt of this article. If writing an article isn't your thing, we are also happy to accept photos of the event; blog posts; vlogs of your experience; or other creative content you can produce. Let's discuss event@big.uk.com

    We also hope you will be willing to give a hand at the conference where required; this gives you a great opportunity to create links with other delegates.


  • 01 Apr 2024 8:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Book your place now for The BIG Event 2024, taking place at Cardiff University from 24th-26th July.

    For full details, visit www.big.uk.com/BIG2024

    Early bird booking is open from Monday 1st April until 20th May, so don't delay! This is the very best time to book if you are attending the full 3 day conference. Payment can be made by card or you can request an invoice.

    Full price conference booking, individual day booking and hybrid booking all open on May 21st.

    You can view the current draft programme here: http://bigevent.info/

    The final programme will be announced very soon.

    We look forward to welcoming you to Cardiff! 

    Team BIG

  • 08 Mar 2024 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    THE BEETLESTONE AWARD

    For leadership and legacy in Communicating Science


    Apply now for the 2024 Beetlestone Award

    Beetlestone Award

    Professor John Beetlestone was one of the pioneers of ‘informal learning in science’ of the 20th century. Are you, or someone you know, a leader in this field?

    Since first starting in 2018, this Award is to recognise a leader who has already made or is clearly creating a significant impact in communicating science

    The Prize

    UK-wide recognition amongst your peers in the ISL field.

    The ingenious Beetlestone Award trophy, to keep.

    A personal award of £500

    Access to a bursary of up to £500 to facilitate dissemination (see below)

    Your conference fee paid 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.

    If you decide to nominate someone, you only have to complete a very short online form here https://forms.office.com/e/FF5cy2mKhN. References are not required.

    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.

    Nominations are limited to leaders working in the UK who are still in post; the Award is not offered to retirees.

    Detailed guidance notes are available within the Application Process here Beetlestone Application & Guidance Notes

    How to Nominate

    If you decide to nominate someone, you only have to complete a very short online form here https://forms.office.com/e/FF5cy2mKhN References are not required.

    The closing date for completed applications for this year’s Award is Friday 10th May, 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, if a bursary is claimed

    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.

    Selection Panel

    The Selection Panel will include the Awardee(s) from the previous year, representatives from the Organising Committee and BIG, and Leonardo Alfonsi from PsiQuadro, Perugia, Italy. It will be chaired this year by Harry White.

    Organising Committee

    Colin Johnson OBE - (Chair) Director, Techniquest, 1997-2004

    Ian Hall -Treasurer

    Wendy Sadler MBE, Director, science made simple

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

    Harry White, Science Centre Consultant, HW Consult

    Previous winners of

    The Beetlestone Award

    Our previous Beetlestone Award winners, from L-R, Top to Bottom, Bridget Holligan, Fran Balkwill, Helen Featherstone, Ian Russell, Karen Davies, Lewis Hou, Stephen Pizzey.

    Find out more about previous winners of the prestigious Beetlestone Award here.

    Professor John Beetlestone

    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. 



  • 23 Feb 2024 9:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Applications for the 2024 Josh Award open on 24th February

    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

    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

    • 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 STEM, 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. 


    Some previous winners of The Josh Award. Top L-R Judith Beard, Frederike Gerstner, Ben Nicholson, Helen Featherstone Bottom L-R Jon Chase, Carole Keating

    Read all about the previous winners at the link below

    Josh Award winners

    How do I apply?

    You can apply at the link below or via www.big.uk.com/josh

    We welcome applications from 24th February to 8th April 2024.

    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!

    Apply here

    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).


  • 09 Feb 2024 7:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Josh Award returns for 2024 and applications are welcomed from February 24th.

    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. 

    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!

    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.

    • Opportunities for personal and professional development via the BIG network

    • A place at the annual BIG Event in Cardiff

    • 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

    Visit www.big.uk.com/josh for full details and for how to apply

    Jon Chase, winner of the Josh Award in 2017, being presented with the award by Carole Keating

    Ben and Fred (Juggling Science), winners of the Josh Award in 2019, being presented with the award by Helen Featherstone

    Josh Phillips, who the Award is named after

  • 19 Jan 2024 9:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The BIG Event Cardiff 2024

    24th - 26th July

    To the Welsh capital we go! Yes, for real this time. We did attempt to visit Cardiff back in 2020. And then again in 2021... But this time we are determined to make it happen. 

    Cardiff is a city with a very long tradition of songs, rugby and a vibrant Sci-Comm community. Cardiff University (one of our venues) is right in the heart of the civic centre and has a beautiful parkland, an historic castle, a world-class museum and Victorian arcades all within a 5 min walk. Cardiff is compact (much like the BIG Event), culture-packed and ready for the most hotly anticipated conference on any STEM communicator’s calendar.

    The University has modern lecture theatres, labs and various meeting spaces available to host the melting pot of creative ideas that make up the BIG Event. And if all the outstanding interaction becomes too much, you can always take a little walk down the corridor in Sherlock’s mind palace and play spot the Dr Who location. Plus, we guarantee the sun will be shining.*

    *There just might be clouds in the way... Joking aside, Cardiff actually has more hours of sunshine a year than the UK national average.

    P.S. We’ve even reserved ensuite rooms in the student halls for those wanting cost-effective and extremely convenient B&B accommodation. Details to follow soon.

    What is the BIG Event? 

    The BIG Event is a three-day get-together every summer to share skills and experiences, develop professional links and keep up-to-date with the STEM engagement field. This is the place to hone your skills and recharge your professional batteries, pick up great ideas and show off your talents to peers.

    It provides an unmissable opportunity to squeeze the skills and ideas out of all the STEM engagement people you can in a short space of time. It’s like power juice for STEM communicators.

    The content for the BIG Event is created by the members. And the people who say they get the most out of it are the people who contribute the content.

    This will be a hybrid BIG Event. As many sessions as possible will be delivered as hybrid events, so if you can't get to Cardiff in-person, you can still join us online.

    General event registration (non-speakers)

    Full conference (all 3 days including conference dinner) - £330 early bird rate* (£380 after 20th May, 2024)

    2-days only - £290 (conference dinner not included, but can be added to your basket for £80)

    1-day only - £150 (conference dinner not included but can be added to your basket for £80)

    Hybrid - £70 (a link to all hybrid sessions will be sent to you nearer the time)

      

    Speakers registration  (Want to be a speaker? Why not propose a session then?)

    Full conference (all 3 days and including the conference dinner) - £240 early bird rate* (£310 after 20th May, 2024)

    2-days event only - £170 (conference dinner not included, but can be added to your basket for £80)

    1-day event only - £40 (on the day of your session only; conference dinner not included, but can be added to your basket for £80) 

    Travel and accommodation is not included in any of the conference rates, however, we are in the process of securing University en-suite accommodation very close to the BIG Event location. More information to come in the new year. 

    *Early Bird requires full payment on or before 20th May, 2024. If full payment isn't received by 20th May, your registration will be honoured at the Full Price until 3rd June, 2024. After this point, if we still haven't received full payment, your registration will be cancelled. 

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