The projects will help to increase understanding of how informal science learning activities affect children and young people’s enjoyment and understanding of science. Each project will receive total funding of up to £1.5 million.
All five are collaborative partnerships between organisations in the UK and the USA, and between teams with expertise in research and expertise in leading informal science learning activities.
We believe that this collaborative approach will enhance both research and practice, producing insights that help researchers and practitioners to better understand the impact of informal science activities, how they work and why.
The five projects will consider:
- How natural history museums can design citizen science research projects to maximise the learning outcomes for young people – led by Lucy Robinson, Natural History Museum, London, and Heidi Ballard, University of California, Davis.
- How using arts-led approaches might engage more diverse audiences with science – led by Lynn Scarff, Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, and Bronwyn Bevan, University of Washington.
- How to make informal science experiences equitable for young people from under-represented communities – led by Louise Archer, UCL Institute of Education, and Angela Calabrese-Barton, Michigan State University.
- What difference it makes having adolescents meet visitors at scientific attractions and discuss exhibits/phenomena with them – led by Adam Rutland, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Adam Hartstone-Rose, University of South Carolina and Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia.
- How interactive exhibits designed to encourage meaningful actions can enhance young children's scientific learning – led by Andrew Manches, University of Edinburgh, and Judy Brown, Museum of Science.
The projects will last from three to five years.
Background to Science Learning+
Informal learning opportunities – in designed venues like museums, online material such as TED Talks or pop-up spaces in a park or shopping centre – may be a more accessible way for many young people to engage with science, and can help to put classroom learning into context.
Wellcome’s Review of Informal Science Learning in 2012 identified the importance of creating a ‘learning culture’. Science Learning+ is bridging research into informal science learning and people who conduct informal learning activities.
The five new projects follow 11 projects funded by Wellcome, NSF and ESRC in 2014. Their longer duration and larger budgets will enable them to answer bigger questions.
Find out why science education is a priority area for us.