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.

Your audience

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.

We also encourage you to think about how you might be able to engage members of the community that may be currently underrepresented, including (but not exclusive to) those without a higher education, those from geographically remote locations and those from culturally and demographically diverse backgrounds, including BAME and low-income backgrounds.

Your project

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

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 previously funded projects:

  • Exploring the local environment
    Funded in 2018, the Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum worked with local children to explore the plants and animals that inhabit the machair, the low lying, grass plains, that make up their island environment. 
  • Important local inventions
    Totnes Elizabethan House Museum told the story of Eric, Britain’s first robot, which was built by community member William Henry Richards in 1928 through an exhibition and interactive workshops.
  • Community-led projects
    Littlehampton Museum, in partnership with an entomologist, trained members of the local community, including volunteers and museum staff, in the identification and display of the museum’s extensive insect collection. 
  • 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.

Read more about the projects funded in 2022.

Working in partnership 

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

For example, you could partner with: 

  • Scientists and universities
  • Artists
  • Schools and teachers 
  • Festivals
  • Other museums

There is excellent guidance about partnership working on the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement's website

Using volunteers

Volunteering initiatives can be a great way to provide valuable opportunities for members of the local community whilst increasing your own 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. 

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 what might be most important and how you might capture the data you need to demonstrate this.

A useful evaluation toolkit can be found on the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s website.

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 strongly 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. Please note that funding decisions will be made in January 2024 and the earliest you are likely to receive a grant is April 2024.

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.