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Preparing your application

This page features advice, hints and tips to help you create a high quality application for the Places of science grant scheme.

It includes examples of good practice from previously funded projects, as well as links to helpful advice from other organisations.

Visitors take part in an arts workshop at the Lawrence House Museum in Cornwall.

Applying for this scheme

This scheme is now closed for applications. 

Funding for Places of science will return in 2021.

To be notified when applications open, please register your interest

Please note that funding decisions will be made in late October and the earliest you are likely to receive a grant is 1 November 2018. 

Your audience

We want to fund projects that highlight the stories of science that are relevant to your local community. 

Think about who makes up your community and what interests them. Try to identify the specific people you want to reach and why. This will help you come up with relevant, compelling content.

If you already have an idea in mind, think about how you can highlight the aspects most relevant to your communities. Small pieces of research with your target audience can be incredibly useful for generating or improving upon ideas.  

Your project

Once you have an audience in mind, you can think about the exact form of the activity you would like to create. 

Above all else, we’d like you to come up with creative approaches to showcasing science and its links to your museum and collection.

For inspiration, here are a few examples of what you could centre your project on:

  • The science of significant local industries
    In 2016, Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham explored the impact of John Eliot Howard, who pioneered the use of quinine for malaria treatment. Howard’s father was also a chemist and businessman, setting up Howard and Sons Ltd, an influential pharmaceutical company in the area. 
  • Important local inventions
    Weaver Hall Museum unearthed the story of polythene, now the world’s most common plastic. The museum shared the local significance of its discovery and explored contemporary environmental issues surrounding its use.
  • People who’ve contributed to science in your area
    The Atkinson in Merseyside highlighted the artistic skill of Bessie Downes. Born in 1860, Bessie painted watercolours of botanical specimens, leaving an important record of the plant life present on the Sefton Coast.

Alternatively, you could re-interpret your collection in new ways, using scientific approaches or techniques, or find unusual stories with a scientific bent.

In the past we’ve funded exhibitions, talks, walks, arts workshops, outreach visits and open days. There is no restriction on the format your project can take, but it should be suitable for your target audience.  

Working in partnership 

Working with people from beyond your own walls can be a great way to enhance the scope and impact of your project. 

We’ve found that working in partnership not only helped museums to achieve their outcomes, but had long-lasting, positive impacts and enabled the development of valuable collaborations. 

Who could you partner with? 

Other museums 
Partnering with museums, galleries, archives or libraries can be a valuable way to share resources such as staff, volunteers, collections and contacts. 

Creative agencies
There may be aspects of your project that are best delivered by others. For example, a previous project hired an agency to create engaging arts workshops for a range of ages. 

Schools and teachers 
Forming relationships with schools can be a great way to reach large numbers of young people. Teachers can also provide guidance on the needs and interests of their students, which can be helpful when designing your content. 

Working with artists can help to highlight the creative side of science. In previous projects, artists were recruited for workshops, creating displays, and leading activities.

Scientists and universities
The UK has a rich network of researchers and many universities are keen to work with local organisations. 

The London Museum Group’s Share Academy and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s MUPI initiatives provide excellent guidance for creating partnerships with higher education institutions.  

Contact us if you would like help contacting universities or scientists in your area.

Using volunteers

Volunteering initiatives can be a great way to provide valuable opportunities whilst increasing your capacity and bringing in fresh perspectives.

Volunteering allows local people to become invested and engaged in your project and can help you create something that really effectively reaches your target audience.   

Previous projects have used volunteers to lead demonstrations, attend focus groups, produce exhibitions, conduct research and facilitate drop-in activities.

It is important to consider the benefit to both the volunteer and your project, as well as the resource you will need to manage volunteers. You can request funds for supporting volunteers in your application. 

GEM have collated a number of helpful resources for managing volunteers on their website. 

Outcomes and evaluation

When completing your application we will ask you to describe the outcomes of your proposed project. 

Outcomes are the immediate impacts that result from the project, not tangible outputs like exhibitions, publications, events or partnerships. 

Typical outcomes might be increased understanding, enjoyment, learning new skills, attitudinal change, inspiration or experiencing something new. 

You should try to think about as many potential outcomes as possible, including for visitors, your museum, its staff, volunteers and partners. When thinking about your evaluation, you should think about effective ways of measuring these outcomes. If you can’t measure them all, think about the most important and how you might capture the data you need to demonstrate them.

The East of England Museum Hub and the NCCPE have produced useful evaluation tool kits.

Maximising the legacy of funding

In order to ensure you get the most from any potential funding, it’s useful to anticipate and plan for the legacy of your proposed project. 

Examples of previous legacy aspects include touring exhibitions to new locations, founding annual events, establishing new partners, creating new volunteering models and securing additional funding. 

Long-lasting, positive impacts are more likely to occur if you think about and plan them from the start. 

Your budget

This scheme is designed to fund activity that goes above and beyond the normal remit of your museum, so we are happy to fund additional staff time, or to support the cost of volunteer schemes, that are needed to enable this. We will not fund existing staff costs.

You can also request funding for equipment and materials, hiring external expertise, travel expenses and contributor fees. We cannot fund acquisitions. 

View an example budget from a previous funding round

The allocation panel will make judgements on the suitability of all requested funds, so please annotate your budget in as much detail as possible.

Submission process

Applications must be made via the Flexi-Grant® system. Applications received my email or post will not be accepted. In order to apply you will need to register for an account

Please ensure you have read and understood the eligibility and judging criteria before submitting your application. We encourage you to contact us for advice or support at any stage of your application.

After submission

Following the close of entries, applications are sent to the Places of science Allocation Panel, who solely make grant decisions. You should hear the outcome of your application within two months of the close of applications.

If your application is successful, you will be sent a grant letter and will be required to accept your award via Flexi-Grant®. You will also need to complete a new supplier form in order that we can make your grant payment. 

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