We’ve been awarded a Sustaining Excellence grant. The Wellcome Trust are providing us with £550,000 over the next five years to carry on growing I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer in the UK & Ireland and to help us make the project fully sustainable.
What does it mean?
It means that we have funding to run Biomedical themed Zones and some general zones through to 2021.
It means we expand the number of zones we’ve been running and let more students and scientists take part.
It means we can further develop the evidence and rationale for encouraging more organisations to financially support the project.
However the tapered nature of the grant – the number of zones it funds reduces sharply – means we need to succeed in getting more funders for the project.
This award is the culmination of 8 years of funding from the Wellcome Trust. In 2008 we asked them for £30,000 to pilot I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here. They said yes. Since then we have enjoyed continued and growing support. Two Society Awards have allowed us to expand and connect over 1,000 scientists with over 60,000 school students. We’ve been able to develop the technology, the format and to evaluate it to help us understand the impact and to help us evidence how it improves students attitudes and scientists activities.
The next five years are about improving the project. We’ll target the schools that don’t normally take part in STEM enrichment, we’ll involve scientists and engineers who don’t normally do outreach. We’ll improve the website to make it easier to roll out new projects and add new features to allow teachers to better understand how their students use the activity. We’ll improve our evaluation to better understand the engagement that we facilitate and to build a stronger evidence base to encourage more organisations of the value of supporting our projects. And we’ll be talking with those organisations to see how we can help them help us.
We’ll be taking on new staff both permanent and temporary. It’s going to be an exciting few years.