Royal Society launches project to uncover local science heroes in all corners of the UK

22 August 2016

The Local Heroes scheme will fund small museums and galleries to reveal scientists and their discoveries from up and down the UK. The scheme aims to inspire communities to celebrate their scientific heroes, whether they are pioneers of the industrial age, geniuses that changed the way we see the world today or contemporary scientists finding solutions to modern challenges.

Professor Jonathan Ashmore FMedSci FRS, a neuroscientist at UCL and chair of the Local Heroes judging panel said: 
“The Royal Society Local Heroes scheme is a fantastic nation-wide celebration of past and present scientists and their influential achievements right across the UK. The UK has a rich and diverse history of science which provides important routes for modern day society to deepen its understanding of the modern world. Science drives local and international economies and is an important ingredient in our history, identity and cultural heritage, which is why it’s so important for it to be recognised through schemes such as Local Heroes. The scheme will unite and encourage local communities to run creative workshops demonstrating local scientific triumphs, and will attract audiences to engage with the life and work of scientists in their area.”

Sharon Heal, Director of Museums Association and member of the Local Heroes judging panel said: 
“I am delighted that the Royal Society has chosen to support local museums through this funding, and thrilled to be part of the judging panel. Museums and galleries across the UK are under increasing financial pressure. Funding streams like the Local Heroes scheme, which allow them to explore new creative projects and engage with their local communities through inspiring science events are crucial to their survival. I’m looking forward to seeing the applications from the UK’s diverse museum and galleries sector, and excited to watch the chosen projects flourish within their local communities and beyond.”

The Royal Society Local Heroes scheme was first run during the Royal Society’s 350th Anniversary celebrations in 2010 and ran for a single year. It funded 50 galleries, museums, archives and libraries to run scientific and cultural events which ran across the country covering all areas of science. 

During the 2010 celebrations, a community from Manchester let off steam at their Local Heroes workshop where a working model of the first known steam engine demonstrated just how much puff an engine had in the 1st century AD; and a community in Cambridge got into the groove with live music performances celebrating the acoustic experiments of Lord Rayleigh. 

The 2016 scheme opens for applications today with grant funding of up to £3,000 available.