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  • 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

    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 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. 

  • 02 Mar 2023 9:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Applications and nominations are now open for this year's Beetlestone Award.

    For full details of the award, and how to apply or nominate, visit

  • 09 Nov 2022 11:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We have been very busy behind the scenes and can now announce that booking is open for both The Little Event and our next Skills Day, both taking place in January 2023.

    Visit our Event Calendar page, found under 'BOOK AN EVENT' to learn more about the fantastic programmes and wonderful speakers that we have in store for you.

    Additionally, applications are now open for our bursary places at The Little Event. 

    As always, we need our Members to help spread the word about our Events, so please share amongst your networks.

  • 22 Sep 2022 2:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sign up here ➡️

    The Public Engagement Trainers (PET) Network are having our second event on the 13th October 2022. It will be an online swap shop where a panel of professionals share some training tips and insights gained from their experiences of working in Public Engagement and Science Communication.

    * What are the experiences of a University PE training manager?
    * What are some of the current theories and best practices in training?
    * How can we incorporate experiential learning opportunities?
    * How can we involve different ‘publics’?
    * What can be done to help public speakers be more engaging?

    In swapping/sharing our diverse experiences, lessons and top tips, we aim to help grow and fortify the collective knowledge and skill base of the PE training community.

    #training #share #network Come along to listen, learn and share amongst colleagues with varied but overlapping interests in PE training. This session is for science communication and PE trainers, whether in Universities or external, such as freelancers or training companies. It will also be valuable to University PEPs (PE practitioners), and anyone interested in finding new areas in which to target improvement of their Science Communication and PE practices.

    Your Speakers are:

    * Dee Davison, Public Engagement Manager, Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh
    * Sarah Sisson, Sphere Science Public Engagement training
    * Jon Chase, Project Scientist, GlobalSCAPE project, Leiden University, Netherlands
    * Dr Lorraine Coghill, Science Outreach & Engagement Specialist, Durham University & The Ogden Trust
    * Martin Khechara, Associate Professor for Engagement in STEM, University of Wolverhampton

    Date: 13th October 2022
    Time: 13:00-15:30 UK Time
    Location: Online via Zoom
    Cost: Free

    Details and registration can be found here -

    The PET network is a member-led network, currently being supported by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagment (NCCPE) in collaboration with the BIG STEM Communicators Network.

  • 06 Jul 2022 2:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Now is the time to throw your hat in the ring - enter this year’s Best Demo Competition while you're at the BIG Event.

    The Best Demo Competition is put on by the members, for the members, and presents a lighthearted look at some of the demos you think are worth sharing. It invites you to demonstrate the maths, science, engineering and so on that really lights your fire and you just can’t help but show off to your peers. You have up to three minutes, a warm and welcoming audience and more eager volunteers than you could ever wish for.

    Maybe you’ll be going home with the prestigious Best Demo Award to display on your desk, in your shed or sliding across the dashboard of your van.

    There's no money to win; it's not an Oscar; and it's not a Nobel Prize. But within BIG we think it's worth having because it’s worth joining in.

    The Competition takes place 5pm Thursday 14 July in the Lecture Theatre as part of the BIG Event at W5 in Belfast. Anyone attending* the BIG Event can join the running order. The competition is not scary, intimidating or harsh in any way – the main purpose is to enjoy what we do.

    It’s very simple: demos presenting STEM subject matter must be no longer than 3 minutes**; you must bring all of the equipment you need; you must provide a risk assessment and you must sign up in advance.


    Please email Ashley Kent with

    your name

    short demo title

    50-80 word description of the demo

    a brief list of the equipment you intend to use

    a completed risk assessment

    This information is for the venue and event organisers only and will not be published. Your entry is not considered final until all of the above has been received and acknowledged via email.


    More detail about the BIG Event can be found on BIG’s website at BIG Event 2022

    If you have any questions about the format, structure, or need a bit of support in putting your entry together, please contact:

    Ashley Kent, BIG Event Organiser,

    * Have you not signed up to come to the BIG Event yet? Don't worry, there is still time! See details here: BIG Event 2022

    **Don’t drag it out - if it's a 30 second demo, take 30 seconds

  • 21 Jun 2022 12:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BIG is a membership organisation run by and for its members. We have a committee in place to steer the future of BIG and to keep it relevant to the needs and requirements of you - our members. 

    The Executive Committee comprises of the following positions: ChairVice-ChairTreasurerSecretary and two General Officers (without portfolio). All positions are open to nomination each year and we are now looking to appoint for 2022/23.

    All nominees must be current BIG members. You can see our current committee members here.

    We would like to invite nominations by FRIDAY 1st JULY 2022

    To apply for a position, members are required to complete a nomination form.

    You can nominate yourself for more than one role. In the event that a candidate  is elected to more than one position, the candidate will be encouraged to accept the more senior position and withdraw from the other so that the person with the next highest vote can fill the then-vacant position.

    You need a member of BIG to second you for your nomination. We can help you with this if required.

    In July, voting opens up to the BIG membership with the results and appointment to each position being announced at the AGM, which will take place at The BIG Event on Thursday 14th July. You do not have to be present at the AGM to take up a position on the Executive Committee. 

    More details of the roles can be found here

    If you want to know more about any of the roles please email Helen Nightingale via and she will put you in touch with the relevant person.

    To nominate yourself please complete this form and email it to

    "I originally ran for the Exec Committee because I thought it would be a really great networking opportunity, and it was. But it was more than that. Not only did I get to see how a small, yet professional organisation ran from the inside, but I also got a lot of experience I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I was pretty new to science communication but was working at an experienced science centre. Being on BIG’s Executive Committee allowed me to spread my wings and stand on my own two feet – faster than I would have been able to otherwise.

    Secretary was a great position, too. Taking the minutes means you are responsible for keeping the actions of meetings clear and concise. Meetings only happen a few times a year, so it’s never too much work at any time. It was a great experience for me and I really can’t recommend it enough." 

    - Ashley Kent, former BIG Secretary and current Event Manager

    "Having been a BIG member for a long time and gained a lot from the networking opportunities I was keen to stand on the exec committee to give something back to the organisation. I acted as a General Officer, Vice-Chair and Chair and always enjoyed the experience. 

    Working with colleagues to produce a programme of events and hearing the insights of others was personally and professionally rewarding. Clients are impressed that I know and have worked with so many people and have a good understanding of the challenges and delights of working in science communication. 

    Commitment to the exec was never too onerous and I’d encourage others to get involved. Make BIG work even harder to do what you want it to do by being part of the team running it!"

    James Piercy, BIG Chair

  • 27 May 2022 11:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As we prepare to return for our first in-person BIG Event since 2019, we are more than just a little excited to now reveal the full programme.

    From Wednesday 13th to Friday 15th July, we will be presenting and hosting more than 30 sessions across a variety of topics and themes.

    As ever, we are very proud to have contributions from many BIG Members, making this an invaluable, not-to-be-missed event!

    You can view the full programme here:
  • 08 Apr 2022 11:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We're hosting this month's Sci Comm Social on 21st April. Sign up to receive the Zoom details here
    Besides our general socialising, we'll also be chatting about the Josh Award.
    Anyone is welcome to join, so why not introduce someone new to join in this month. The more the merrier!

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