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Where can I find a scientist or engineer to partner with me?
To find a suitable scientist or engineer, start by exploring all of your contacts, including your pupils’ parents and your school’s governors. Even if they are not scientists or engineers themselves they may work with or know someone who is.
Another option is to approach a local research institute or industrial concern. Their public relations department is probably the best place to begin.
If you are near a university, you could contact the Department specialising in the subject area you are interested in. Contact the departmental secretary, the outreach officer, or see whether the university has a centre for public engagement. You might also look up specific research groups, and contact a representative directly.
There are also organisations set up to help teachers make contact with scientists and engineers – such as your local Education-Business Partnership, or STEMPOINT. STEMNET also have a networking service that can help to match you with a local STEM Ambassador.
Do I have to know who my partner is before I apply for a grant?
Yes. Both the teacher and the scientist or engineer partner must register with the portal before an application can be made. We strongly recommend that the two partners work together on the application.
What is a practicing scientist or engineer?
All Partnership Grants projects must involve a teacher and a practising scientist or engineer who is external to the school or college. Both the teacher and scientist or engineer must be resident in the UK.
The scientist or engineer must be actively engaged in science or engineering research, development, production or service. They also must be above graduate level in a university or with appropriate industrial experience, which may include PhD students and research level technicians. For very young pupils the range of appropriate partners may be wider.
In the application form section ‘relevant qualifications and/or experience’, please show how the partner’s qualifications and expertise are appropriate for the project, for example if the person describes themselves as a manager then you should clearly show the scientific work that they do. In Step 5 (Plan of work), you will need to describe exactly how the scientist or engineer will be involved in the project.
Examples of appropriate partners could include (but are not limited to): an astrophysicist, a mining engineer, an environmental scientist, an engineer working in aeronautics, a chemist, someone working in the pharmaceutical industry, etc.
Please note that some scientist or engineering partners are not appropriate for the scheme. This includes fellow teachers, teacher trainers or others from education institutions, and those whose main role is in the provision of scientific outreach or education.
You are welcome to work with an education liaison officer or coordinator to help set up the partnership and coordinate the application, however, you must also include the details of the practising scientist or engineer who will be the main partner for the project on the application form.
Please note that STEM Contract Holders are not eligible partners, and we require the name and details of the individual scientist or engineer you will be working with.
Can I reapply for a Partnership Grant if I had already received one in the past?
Previous recipients of partnership grants may apply for further funding, as long as the new application is made one year or more after the previous application. However, you must make sure that your new project is not a simple extension of your previous one. You can use the same partner and even the same basic idea, but your project must involve a new investigation in which the pupils are able to develop new skills and ideas. Please note that we are not able to fund further projects until we have received the final report and all completed evaluations from the initial project.
Can the Partnership Grant be used to participate in an existing scheme?
If your application is for funds to participate in another scheme, you should emphasise the unique, investigative aspects of your project, and there needs to be significant scientist/engineer involvement. This also means that the amount you apply for should relate specifically to the time, equipment or materials necessary for that investigation only. The grant can’t be used to pay for the fees for entry into other schemes.
Can the Partnership Grant be used in conjunction with other schemes?
We realise that projects may cost more than £3000 and that a Partnership Grant may only cover part of the total cost. We are happy to part-fund projects but need to know who you might be approaching for the remaining funding. Any potential Partnership Grant should contribute significantly to the success of your project and will only be awarded if your project meets our scheme's criteria
Can the Grant be used to do a project with other schools? How should we proceed to apply?
The application is made jointly between one lead teacher, and one lead science/engineering partner. Other schools/partners can be part of the application, and there are places within the application form for them to be mentioned.
If a consortium or a group of schools would like to apply together to work on a project with a scientist(s), they will need to nominate a lead school. The lead school will fill in the application with the scientist(s) on behalf of the group and will be the point of contact for receiving the grant if selected. The application and the plan of work of the project should clearly indicate how the schools will work together with the lead school on the project. The application should also include evidence of the way the lead school intends to manage the fund money.
What is an investigative project?
An investigative project is a project which makes use of scientific method(s) to test a hypothesis or research a topic. The research should be original for the pupil, i.e. the research or topic should be new to the children involved.
What is practical work?
Practical work is defined as learning activities in which students observe, investigate and develop an understanding of the world around them, through direct, often hands-on experience of phenomena or manipulating real objects and materials. (Resourcing Practical Science in Primary Schools, http://www.score-education.org/media/11808/score%20resourcing%20primary.pdf)
What is the minimum or maximum duration for a Partnership Grant?
There is no set minimum or maximum duration. Shorter projects tend to last at least a week to see proper development of ideas, and anything longer than a year needs to be clearly phased to show how each set of pupils involved will benefit.
What is the minimum I can apply for?
The minimum amount for a Partnership Grant is £500.
Can the funds pay for the scientist’s time or travel expenses?
Partnership Grants can’t be used to fund consultancy or advisor fees for scientists, engineers, or freelance science communicators. Travel or hospitality costs may be considered for partners, although many institutes and industrial concerns will pay employees' expenses, so please check first as we will require claims for such costs to be justified.
Can the Partnership Grant be used to pay for supply cover for the teacher?
We will consider requests for teacher supply cover up to £150 per day as long as you justify why it is needed, but grants should be used to fund equipment, materials and activities in preference to supply cover. Therefore, requests for supply cover should comprise the minority of the project funds.
Are STEM clubs eligible for a Partnership Grant?
Science and STEM clubs are eligible for a Partnership Grant, but the Panel will look for evidence of extending activities to other groups in the school based on the project outcomes, or there being a long term benefit to the school. You should indicate on the application form the steps you will take to disseminate the project’s outcomes as widely as possible, and how you will not exclude students who are unable to attend an after-school club.
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The Partnership Grants scheme is now closed. The next round will be be in early 2014.
There are two application rounds per year, one in Spring and one in Autumn.
You can apply through the online portal (this link will be live when the scheme is open for applications).
You can send us your draft application for comments up to one week before the closing date. See the Application guidelines for more details.
When the project is finished, you are expected to evaluate its impact. You might also consider ways to build on the project in the future.
Get inspiration for your project from case studies of work we have previously funded.
If you are a professional scientist or engineer and would like to take part in a Partnership Grant project you can read our advice on getting involved.
If you are a teacher looking for a scientist or engineer partner then please read the guidance on finding a suitable partner.
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Funding for schools to work in partnership with scientists and engineers.
UK network of teachers who share their experience and work.
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